Friday, 25 June 2010

Sarah Palin's executive style did not serve the interests of Alaskans - New ethics complaint

As we're having an "ethics feast", I must say that we have more to reveal about Andrée McLeod's adventures in Alaska. Until not that long ago, she and Sarah Palin were political allies.

Sarah Palin has no qualms about throwing former political allies under the bus. Compare these quotes (just a few examples from a number of e-mails sent by Sarah Palin to Andrée McLeod between 2002 and 2005) to Thomas Van Flein's description of the same person in a recent note on Palin's Facebook page.

Sarah Palin:

"Did you hear us talking about you on the Mike Pocaro show Monday evening?! It was a hoot! He was impressed with your efforts on the VanEten issue & I called in to say "Kudos to Andree... she's obviously got tireless energy and desire to keep government and government officials accountable to Alaskans... we need more "Andrees" in this state... etc..." And then that gal, "Michelle" (who calls in a lot) called right after I did to say, "Sarah Palin just needs to stay out of Anchorage politics... blah blah blah..." and the show went on with you as the highlight for callers! It was awesome. Ya' done good again!!!"

"You will be thanked for summing up for others what many believe: that there's nothing wrong with healthy debate and challenges to the status quo when something is wrong & it can easily be fixed!"

"Holy Moly you are powerful regarding getting the word out to the press about questionable activity!"

Thomas Van Flein, referring to the mounting number of ethics complaints against his client, the excuse given for quitting as governor of Alaska (reference to Andrée in bold) :

"The past year has confirmed that Governor Palin was right. The number of false claims, records requests, mendacious accusations and ridiculous posturing by the left and street corner ethicists dropped dramatically – at least as applied to the mechanics of state government."

Andrée McLeod is still interested in the mechanics of state government. We have received more communications that highlight Sarah Palin's "executive" experience and how the present administration continues to employ the same tactics as the former governor.

Sarah Palin with Bill McAllister

As the CEO of Alaska, as Sarah likes to put it, she didn't reward her minions with golden parachutes (no room for parachutes under the bus...). Bill McAllister was rewarded at the start of his stint as Sarah Palin's spokesperson in clear violation of Alaska's ethics rules and personnel rules. Andrée has filed a complaint which has received no attention at all from the Alaska media. Surprise, surprise!

June 7, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska: An ethics complaint has been filed with the attorney general’s office by Alaska resident Andrée McLeod charging Department of Law spokesman and former Palin Communications Director Bill McAllister with misuse of official position and receipt of improper gifts. Also named in the complaint for violations of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act are the Palin/Parnell governor’s chief of staff Mike Nizich and governor’s office administrative director Linda Perez.

The attached complaint relates to McAllister’s abrupt absence from his job upon being hired by Sarah Palin on July 21, 2008. “Unless there was some official state of Alaska business in Sweden that simply couldn’t wait, it would seem McAllister was handsomely rewarded by Palin with a paid vacation when he was first hired in July of 2008,” McLeod said.

McAllister went on a family vacation overseas although state laws and regulations forbid it. “State employees know, especially long-time employees Nizich and Perez, that leave can’t be taken within the first 30 days of employment,” McLeod said. “Yet, McAllister was authorized to fly out of the country without having any leave slips or travel authorizations on file. How long was he gone? I don’t know as Palin/Parnell’s chief of staff and his staff refuse to admit he was even gone…even though email records clearly show they knew he was staying at a cabin in Sweden.”

McLeod said, “This is akin to stealing from the state. This blatant breach of the public’s trust was avoidable had Palin and staffers put McAllister on the payroll three weeks later as she implied in an August 12, 2008 press release. What was the rush and why lie about it afterwards? These people knew what they were doing, and knew it was wrong.”

Since McAllister only started handing in leave slips in March of 2010, after McLeod started asking questions, McLeod also asked the attorney general to investigate McAllister’s other nonattendance, including the period while he was gravely ill during 2008 and 2009. Records show that although McAllister had not submitted leave slips before March 2010, he did cash out over 125 hours of leave worth more that $6,600 in 2009 alone.

On the same note: the state’s personnel board adopted an amendment to 2 AAC 08.065 on Friday, June 4, 2010 and voted to eliminate the restriction on the number of leave cash-ins an employee may be granted in a leave year.

Download the full ethics complaint HERE.

Mike Nizich makes another appearance in Sarah Palin's irregular practices, as detailed below. This is the same Mike Nizich who made this statement regarding the piling ethics complaints against Sarah Palin: "I hope that the publicity-seekers will face a backlash from Alaskans who have a sense of fair play and proportion."

Sarah Palin with Mike Nizich

But Andrée McLeod doesn't give up, even when faced with a backlash. She told us:

This is a very important issue that speaks to the integrity of a state board…the Aerospace Development Corporation.

Per AS 14.40.826, there is only one public member on that board. But governor chief of staff Mike Nizich has occupied that since December 2006. The governor basically had a seat at the table and took the place of a public member. Nizich was appointed to the seat on December 4, 2006, two days before Sarah Palin started her half term as governor. He was then deputy chief of staff, appointed by Frank Murkowski. Palin should have removed Nizich from the board when she decided to keep him on as deputy chief of staff. But she didn’t.

Michael A. Nizich
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001

Mike Nizich became acting chief of staff on the resignation of Mike Tibbles in May 2008 and officially appointed to the post in August 2008. And Palin still didn’t remove him.

Andrée continues:

That is not right…and it definitely doesn’t square nor look favorably on her pronouncements of being on the people’s side looking out for their interests…SHE LET HER OFFICE TAKE UP THE ONLY PUBLIC MEMBER SEAT.

This board oversees MILLIONS of dollars… and no public oversight….

As CEO of the State of Alaska…Palin violated AS 4.40.826 by keeping her deputy chief of staff on the board.

Just imagine the possibilities… of what Palin would do as commander in chief of the American military… when she won’t even follow the rule of law when it comes to this public entity under her watch and would not allow public oversight nor allow a member of the public to be on this board… but rather, kept her chief of staff on it, rendering public oversight inoperative.

The issue is still not resolved and, in true Alaska fashion, anybody who asks questions is stonewalled until the questions are rendered irrelevant. Mike Nizich's stint on the board expires on July 1, 2010.

Here's a letter Andrée wrote to Gov Parnell on June 18, 2010:

Dear Governor Parnell Sean,

Still no response to the question I asked you on back in March. Why have you not removed your chief of staff from the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation? Why have you kept Mike Nizich on the Alaska Aerospace Corporation as he occupies the ONLY one allotted public member slot on that board…which violates AS 14.40.826. The gov’s office doesn’t have a seat on the board. When are you going to give a real, bona fide and genuine member of the public a chance to serve on the AADC as is set forth in Alaska statute?

Documents received from your office show that citizen Nizich did not take leave for his Aerospace Development Corp. activities…and that chief of staff Nizich attended those meetings. Minutes also reflect that he represents the gov’s office as he clearly states that he would report back to the governor…and not the people of Alaska.

This is a HUGE conflict of interest as there is ONLY one allotted public member slot on that board, per AS 14.40.826. This board oversees a huge amount of public dollars funneled to the private sector. The presence of high-priced lobbyists at these meetings clearly demonstrates the significance of $$ that relates to this board. Where is the public oversight???? The chief of staff's continued presence on that board in the ONLY public member slot violates Sec. 14.40.826 and renders public oversight inoperative.

The board's integrity is disabled and its mandate is compromised by the chief of staff taking up the ONLY public member position on the board. So, when will you enable the AADC board to be above-board, remove your chief of staff, and appoint a real, genuine and bona fide member of the public to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, per AS 14.40.826?

Andrée McLeod

Andrée made this observation:

The thing about the AADC (Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation) is that, through a quick review of their minutes for the last four years, there are high-powered lawyers and lobbyists in attendance as guests… which means they are chasing the large amounts of FED $$$. And Palin just continued the politics as usual…

We all know that Sarah Palin has a very strange relationship with ethics: as mayor of Wasilla, as governor of Alaska and as a private citizen.

Sarah Palin's readiness to depart from the ethics rules upon stepping into her governorship, a practice which continued throughout her aborted term in that office and beyond, involving multitude* of irregularities, gives us a glimpse into what kind of "CEO" she would make if given the chance to run the whole country.

(* Dairygate, Troopergate, children's travel, per diems, Alaska Fund Trust, property taxes, Big Oil, Pebble Mine... the list is very long. Please refer to "The Palingates" on the sidebar.)

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