Saturday, 20 June 2009
Sarah Palin has evolved...
Sarah Palin's stance on ethics and transparency seems to go round in circles. When she was a commissioner and ethics supervisor at the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and blew the whistle on Randy Ruedrich, she demanded an openness that she wishes to suppress now that she is the subject of scrutiny.
Some reports and quotes on the Ruedrich affair:
"I have not received any further instructions except to be told to keep things 'confidential,' to deny media requests for information, and I have been threatened that I would face penalties if I were to divulge even whether or not there may be an ongoing investigation into the Ruedrich matter."
On Feb. 27, the investigation came to a head when Lyle produced a 16-page ethics complaint against Ruedrich. But as provided by the ethics law, the complaint remained confidential.
The Daily News and KTUU-Channel 2 sued in February to force open the evidence. On April 6, while those lawsuits were pending, Palin's lawyer, Wayne Anthony Ross, gave Ritchie an ultimatum: move to a public resolution of the ethics case in 10 days or Palin would call a press conference "for the purpose of setting forth, publicly, what she knows about this entire matter and why she chose to resign from the Commission." (ADN)
Palin and her supporters say she was trying to grope through the state's secretive ethics- complaint process and did not fear political repercussions. But the potential consequences to her up-and-coming career were obvious. (ADN)
Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairwoman Sarah Palin said Friday she is resigning amid frustration that she is being forced to keep silent about ethics allegations against Republican Party of Alaska chairman Randy Ruedrich.
"I'm forced to withhold information from Alaskans, and that goes against what I believe in as a public servant," Palin said in a Friday interview.
Palin said that one of her frustrations is that she cannot even tell the public if there is an investigation.
"I'd like to find a hero in the Legislature who can take on and change that law and make it more sensible," she said. (ADN)
Sarah Palin was sworn into office on December 4, 2006. She kept her word and pursued changes to the ethics and disclosure laws:
Governor Palin Applauds Legislature on Passage of Ethics Reform Bill
May 12, 2007, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today thanks members of the Legislature for passage of House Bill 109, the Governor’s ethics bill. In January, Governor Palin proposed legislation to improve Alaska’s ethics and disclosure laws. Legislators combined those proposals with many of their own, crafting a bill that makes many substantial improvements to Alaska’s laws.
“I applaud all of the work by the legislators on this important legislation,” said Governor Sarah Palin. “It is truly unfortunate that recent events further demonstrated the need for these statutory changes. However, it is gratifying that the legislative and executive branches were able to work together to take these steps to reassure Alaskans that their public servants still put Alaskans’ interests first.”
• House Bill 109 improves laws affecting lobbyists by:
* Requiring ethics training for lobbyists and their employers * Increasing restrictions on lobbyists’ gifts * Barring persons with certain felony convictions from lobbying * Barring spouses and domestic partners of legislators from lobbying for pay * Prohibiting certain high-level executive branch officials from lobbying for one year after leaving those positions
• Improves disclosure laws by:
* Requiring electronic filing of campaign and financial disclosures * Requiring legislators and legislative employees to disclose all boards on which they serve * Requiring final financial disclosures from legislators, public officials, and others within 90 days of leaving office * Requiring more details in financial disclosures * Requiring members of more executive branch boards to file financial disclosures
• Improves executive branch ethics laws by:
* Increasing requirements for public officials’ blind trusts * Specifying when a financial interest in a business is insignificant * Increasing restrictions on employment after leaving service in the executive branch * Barring political use of state aircraft except when that use is incidental * Requiring the governor, before granting executive clemency, to disclose any interest in the matter and obtain an ethics determination from the attorney general
• Improves legislative ethics laws by:
* Requiring ethics training * Increasing restrictions on gifts legislators and legislative employees may accept * Prohibiting legislators from receiving outside compensation for legislative, administrative, or political work
• Makes it a crime for public servants not to report bribery they know about
• Prohibits agreements to exchange campaign contributions to elected officials or candidates for changing their votes or positions on a matter
• Provides for forfeiture of certain pension contributions when an official is convicted of a felony such as bribery in connection with official duties
Governor Palin is expected to sign House Bill 109 in Juneau next week. (AK governor's website)
Fast forward to June 2009 and the picture is very different. I suppose transparency and accountability apply to everybody apart from Sarah Palin herself.
* Gov. Sarah Palin is telling the Alaska Public Offices Commission she doesn’t want to disclose the discount her husband, Todd, receives on purchases of Arctic Cat snowmachines. (ADN)
* Anchorage Republican Rep. Bob Lynn, a supporter of Gov. Sarah Palin’s, said he’s going to introduce a bill to stop ethics complaints against the governor or members of her staff from being publicly discussed unless the state finds they have merit.
“An ethics complaint filed against a legislator is confidential until it’s determined to have merit,” Lynn said in a written statement. “If the complainant breaches confidentiality, then the case is dismissed.”
Lynn said his bill would provide the same rule for complaints against the governor and all others who work in the state’s executive branch – talk about the complaint, and it’s dismissed. (ADN)
Sarah Palin seems to forget that the internet is a wonderful source of information. It's very easy to search and compare all her statements on any given topic. Her opinions change all the time, she moves between extremes depending on what favours her at any particular time.
The other day she used the word "evolve" in reference to comedians. Perhaps she herself is "evolving". Sarah Palin's position on ethics and transparency today is diametrically opposed to what it used to be before she lost the vice presidential bid and started eyeing the White House for herself...
From a speech at 2008 Republican National Convention Sep 3, 2008:
"No one expects us to agree on everything. But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant’s heart.
This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau ... when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol’ boys network.
I came to office promising major ethics reform, to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is the law." (Sarah Palin on the issues)
Sarah Palin has evolved into a fully fledged member of the good-ol’ boys network.
The only difference: she's an ol' gal.