The media tells us that Sarah Palin is a woman of character. Her story is the true American story. We hear about the mother of 5, the sad but inspiring story of her baby who was born with Down Syndrome. They tell us that she is pro-gun, pro-death penalty, anti-gay, anti-abortion. Ralph Reed – Mr. Christian Coalition, former partner-in-crime with Jack Abramoff and John McCain fundraiser is orgasmic over the selection. (Orgasmic is probably a poor choice of word considering Reed is such an upstanding religious man.)
But what really makes up her character? Trooper-Gate was the first scandal that broke into the media. Quite probably because it was an easy story for them and the media are lazy. The investigation is in progress and the papers are covering it.
I wanted to see what kind of campaign she is likely to run. I found 2 main ethics issues with the RGA behind them both – and since Palin is being touted as the ethical candidate, this was highly enlightening.
In 2006, when Sarah Palin was running for governor of Alaska, the Washington-based Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) sent a mailer to voters, which is a clear violation of Alaska state law.
This article appeared in the Juneau Empire in 2006. [Click here to go to original story.]
Pro-Palin mailer breaks state law
Knowles says Palin is responsible despite card coming from Outside
A glossy postcard promoting Republican Sarah Palin’s candidacy for governor violates Alaska law, state officials say.
And even though it came from an Outside group, Palin’s Democratic rival, Tony Knowles, says she’s responsible for the violation.
The postcard, featuring a picture of a smiling Palin, was sent out by the Washington, D. C.,-based Republican Governors’ Association and has been arriving in mailboxes this week.
“Sarah Palin likes to cast herself as the most ethical candidate, yet she has repeatedly refused to tell RGA to butt out of her campaign, despite assurances from the Alaska Public Offices Commission that it’s OK for her to call them,” Knowles said in a statement released Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Palin campaign dismissed Knowles’ claim as simply politics.
“What would Tony Knowles have us do? Have everyone give it back?” said Curtis Smith, spokesman for the Palin campaign.
Smith said the Palin campaign had nothing to do with the Republican Governors’ Association or the postcard.
“As far as I know, they sent this mailer out on their own volition,” Smith said.
Knowles said he’s asked a similar Democratic group to stay out of Alaska politics, and it has done so.
The Democratic Governor’s Association has much less money available than its Republican counterpart, however.
The Republican Governors Association did not return calls to its East Coast office after business hours and has no known Alaska office.
Alaska state elections law bars Outside groups interfering in Alaska elections, and makes campaign efforts such as the RGA’s mailer illegal, said Brooke Miles, executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
“It’s a completely prohibited ad,” Miles said.
The ban on Outside money doesn’t apply to advocacy of issues and doesn’t apply to ballot measures, but Miles said the RGA mailer was obviously intended to help Palin beat Knowles.
“There’s no way they could even pretend it’s issues advocacy,” Miles said.
Miles said the Democratic Party has been in contact with the commission staff seeking an investigation into the postcard, but Miles said she would probably group the mailing in with an existing Democratic Party complaint about TV commercials aired earlier.
The commission could levy a small fine against RGA if it finds a violation, or it could issue a cease-and-desist order to prevent further violations. Miles said that in preliminary discussions she’s had with the RGA’s lawyer she was told there are no more mailings planned.
“What are we supposed to do?” That is what her campaign asked.
If George Soros or MoveOn sent out a flier to every single American household attacking McCain or pushing Obama, the Republicans would demand action and punishment.
But Palin pulls ‘what are we supposed to do’ and McCain (on the Tennessee smear attacks) cries ‘oh please, stop’ – this tells you exactly what type of leaders they are.
Obama demanded that the DNC take the high road in their ads and MoveOn shut down their 527 in honor of Obama’s demand. That’s a leader.
Palin and McCain showed weak leadership, never accepting responsibility for their actions (we have tons of examples on McCain and they’re starting to come in on Palin too). I love the plausible deniability from Palin’s office – what do they want us to do? She’s running for governor and she doesn’t know how to handle this? Now she’s running for VP?
Give me a break.
* * * *
January 9, 2007
Alaska Public Offices Commission staff is recommending the commission fine the Republican Governors Association $2,350 for the ads it ran featuring Gov. Sarah Palin during the campaign.
That’s $50 a day for each of the 47 days of ads. The staff also suggests dismissing the accusation that the Palin campaign cooperated with the RGA, according to a Jan. 5 report from APOC director Brooke Miles.
Democrats filed the complaint against the RGA, saying that the group’s ads violated campaign finance rules. It’s one of several topics the commission will tackle in Anchorage this week – along with the complaints against outgoing Sen. Ben Stevens, filed by the Republican Moderate Party.
Here is more on this story.
September 26, 2006
The Alaska Democratic Party says it plans to file an APOC complaint against the Republican Governors Association and against Palin. The Democrats say the RGA ads about Palin are not “issues” ads at all but can only be seen as a call for people to vote for her. They also say it appears the Palin campaign and the RGA coordinated on the ad, which isn’t allowed. The RGA says the complaint is a political stunt, that the Democrats know the ad is legal, and that there was no coordination involved.
In today’s story on third parties and campaign funding, Palin argues that it’s inconsistent for Knowles to blast her for tolerating soft-money ads on her behalf because he benefited from such ads in his 2004 U.S. Senate race. The Knowles campaign said that the national Senate race resonates outside the state – unlike the governor’s race – so you can’t compare the two elections. (They also say Knowles spoke out against soft-money ads in the 2004 race too.)
Palin argued that it is inconsistent for Knowles to blast her because he did it too? Really? Is that the argument?
Someone breaks the rule but because someone else did it 2 years before, it is okay for you to break the rule? Sounds just like the type of person I want to be one 72-year old heartbeat away from the presidency.
* * * *
PBS posted this story from September 26, 2006 – Alaska Gubernatorial Candidates Spar over Big Ad Money
Television ads have sparked a war of words between the campaigns of Democratic candidate Tony Knowles and Republican Sarah Palin this week, with each side accusing the other of hypocrisy and dishonesty.
The Washington-based Republican Governors Association spent more than $100,000 on advertising time for Sarah Palin over the next week, according to records from local TV stations, as reported in the Anchorage Daily News.
One 30-second ad begins with vistas of Alaskan landscape and then a montage of Palin talking with people. A male voice then says: “It couldn’t have happened at a better time for Alaska. Sarah Palin, a bright fresh face with new ideas to hold down taxes and improve education, while moving Alaska forward.”
In a campaign press release, Knowles spokeswoman Patty Ginsburg criticized the group’s involvement, saying the ads belie Palin’s claims that she is running a grassroots, politics-free campaign.
“Her TV is being paid for by big drug companies, the insurance industry, big oil and tobacco,” Ginsburg said. “Check out campaignmoney.com and see where the RGA gets its money from. They include companies such as Pfizer, Anheuser-Busch and MassMutual Life Insurance, to name a few. One of the leading contributors to RGA has been Capitol Campaign Strategies, Jack Abramoff’s group.”
Former GOP lobbyist Abramoff is tied to a federal investigation into alleged illegal exchanges of gifts and favors involving lawmakers, their staff and other Washington officials.
Palin’s campaign fired back. “That’s rich coming from the Knowles camp,” countered Palin spokesman Curtis Smith. He predicted that the Democratic Governors Association is about to jump in the race, too, and said Knowles has questionable affiliations of his own.
“If Tony is so worried about affiliations, why did he appoint Bill Allen of VECO to head up his transition team in 1994? Not only is his company under investigation by the FBI, But isn’t he the leader of the ‘good old boy’ network Tony’s camp is chirping about?” read the press release from Palin’s Web site.
The bickering comes as polls have registered a shift in Palin’s favor. She came out of the August primary with name recognition and momentum from her upset of incumbent Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski.
Recent independent polls show Palin with leads of as much as 15 percent, according to Congressional Quarterly.
However, former two-term governor Knowles has proven campaign skills, and is hoping the strongest independent candidate, former Republican state Rep. Andrew Halcro will draw some votes away from Palin, according to CQ.
Tied to Abramoff’s interests and ads paid for by big corporations and 527 groups. Is that new politics? Does that make her a Washington outsider?
Her campaign’s response to these charges? “That’s rich coming from the Knowles camp.”
That’s leadership coming from the Palin camp. See the pattern in the response when Palin’s ethics are questioned? She’ll fit right in with the Bush – Cheney – McCain team.
To quote Joe Biden: “That’s not change. That’s more of the same.”
* * * *
Here is the text from this ad that was paid for by the RGA for $107,000. [Click here to see ad]
Script of “Alaska TV Ad Sept. 22” (TV)
ANNOUNCER [v/o]: It couldn’t have happened at a better time for Alaska.
Sarah Palin, a bright fresh face with new ideas to hold down taxes and improve education, while moving Alaska forward.
Sarah’s an experienced mayor, and she served as chairman of the Alaska oil and gas conservation commission.
Call Sarah Palin, for fresh ideas to hold down taxes and improve education.
(Text on screen: Paid For By The Republican Governors Association; 1747 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006)
She is already under investigation for Trooper-Gate. Add campaign ethics problems and we’re just getting revved up.
Not to mention that she was endorsed for governor by disgraced – corrupt – indicted – Senator Ted Stevens in a television ad. See ad here.
To best explain the Jack Abramoff / Ralph Reed / RGA connection, I have attached this chart.