Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sarah Palin's Lies...UPDATED!!!!!!!!!

There is a recurring lie going around that Sarah Palin and the state of Alaska is paying out over $2,000,000 for the ethics investigations she was involved in. Oh, and the other lie is that there were 15 of them, actually there were 18.

Greg Sargent @ the Plum Line Blog has a great piece up about it and debunks a huge portion of it with some great reporting. This is something that has never really been done with Palin.

No one bothers to challenge anything she says. They take what she says at face value and go on, just repeating it and no one ever bothers to fact check it. Remember the "bridge to nowhere" that she kept saying she said no to...then we all discovered..well she didn't really do that. So why would anyone now be surprised that she is less than truthful about anything else?

Here is part of what Greg found out:

But David Murrow, a spokesperson for the Governor, said in an interview that much of this money was budgeted to the lawyers in advance and would have gone to them anyway, even if state lawyers hadn’t been defending against these ethics complaints.

In response to our questions, the Governor’s office provided us with a detailed breakdown of the millions Palin has claimed has gone to defending against ethics complaints. It does list roughly $1.9 million in expenditures.

But Murrow, the spokesperson, acknowledged to our reporter, Amanda Erickson, that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints — based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor’s office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing. The complaints are “just distracting them from other duties,” Murrow said.

In other words, while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state, the ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn’t drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.

Similarly, TPM reports that there are only three ethics complaints outstanding against the Palin administration in any case — which, combined with the above, casts serious doubts on one of her chief stated reasons for quitting.

Murrow has not responded to folllow-up questions asking him to explain how this squares with Palin’s claims. We’ll update you if he does.

He also adds an update that shows this has now been picked up by ADN and they then contacted the Governor's Office to question them further. Sharon Leighow, Palin's personal spokes person answered with this bizarre explanation:

Asked about that, Leighow said staffers from multiple state agencies had to set aside their normal duties. State lawyers were also pulled off cases, she said.

“Important legal issues involving the state’s interests were delayed in order to respond to these complaints. That means lost value to the state, which is measurable in dollars,” she said.

Now, I am not sure about you, but that really raises more questions than it answers, if staffers were stopped from doing their regular jobs, just to help with these ethics violations... how was anything getting done in Alaska?

But lets look further into this $2 million meme, and the best place I found for that was in Alaska. There is a lady there who broke it down, turned it inside out and studied it better than anyone else could ever do it.

She has more information than anyone could ever want, with charts, graphs and backup galore.

She starts off by saying the first thing we need to do is examine Palin's speech, and the factual errors in it:

There’s actually a number of errors of fact in this brief passage of Palin’s speech, but this post will be long enough if I focus on the one I’ve emphasized: Palin’s claim that $2,000,000 taxpayer (or rather, oil revenue dollars — this is Alaska, after all) have been spent on responding to ethical complaints against Palin.

Problem? Just two days before, on July 1, the Anchorage Daily News, the Juneau Empire, and the Associated Press all reported on figures released by the Alaska Personnel Board about the actual costs of its investigations into ethical complaints against Palin & members of her administration. The costs were considerably less than what Palin claims: $296,042.58. [Ref #4, 5, 6, 7] Big difference. Here’s what that difference looks like:

She then includes the chart diagramming what the difference between almost 300,000 and 2 million is... lol As I said she turns the entire thing inside out and backwards. This is one thorough lady.

She goes on to remind us of this:

What’s more, nearly two-thirds of that amount was attributable in no small part to an ethics case Palin filed against herself. As explained by Patrick Forey in his Juneau Empire story,

[T]he timing, scope and other factors of the single largest expense appear to fit the case Palin filed against herself that cost $187,797 to investigate. That’s almost two-thirds of the total $296,042 of all Personnel Board investigations in the last two years.

The self-reported complaint was a means to have a legislative investigator’s findings in the “Troopergate” case reexamined by a Personnel Board investigator. She said publicly that her self-reported complaint was without merit. [Ref #6]

As I said this lady is good... you just have to read her post on this to see the entire thing. She also has the spread sheet that Palin later gave to AP trying to back up the $2 Million which is falling apart all over the place and Mel takes it apart too.

The 2 Million Dollar Meme can be found here, and after you read it and discover how dishonest Palin was in her story, then you can go check out the other story about the spread sheet she gave the AP to try to back up her story about the costs incurred in the ethics investigation. However I don't know how she can claim every item and every FOIR was for the ethics complaints against her. It just doesn't always work that way.

She has another spreadsheet addendum story here.

Here is probably the money quote from her post and from the article in ADN by Sean Cockerham who is a pretty good writer and has been doing a good job of holding Palin's feet to the fire lately.

Now, finally, we come to my very most favoritest of all the claims made by Palin’s staff in Cockerham’s article:

Another significant chunk of the $1.9 million that Palin talks about is what her administration says is over $415,000 worth of staff time in the governor’s office.

Perez said that represents an estimated 5,773 hours of staff time doing tasks related to public records requests and ethics complaints, whether it be Palin’s spokeswoman answering questions about complaints, staffers making copies, or time the head of the governor’s Anchorage office, Kris Perry, spends reviewing documents.

“Kris Perry, at least half of her time is spent dealing with ethics complaints and public records requests,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Leighow. [Ref #3]

Let’s do a little math:

5,773 hours of staff time divided by 40 hours per typical work week = 144.325 weeks
144.325 weeks divided by 52 weeks in a year = 2.775 years of staff time

2.775 years of staff time — without even any holiday or annual leave! — to address these public records requests?

Do you believe that? I sure don’t.

Did you see that... 2.775 years of staff time... That's almost more time than she has been in and all of this took place since Aug. 29th she says. Not possible.

As I said this is a great break down of the entire Palin story, Mel is good, very good. She has picked it apart, put it back together and really told the story of exactly where it is.

Check it out and see the truth.


After Countdown tonight when Keith had Margaret Carlson on and she debunked the rest of Palin's story about the legal fund I have to add this video which tells about John Coale who started the SarahPAC said all the legal fees had been paid from there. So she has no outstanding bills, and the $500,000 she keeps throwing around is just bogus.

Watch this and see.


trishSWFL said...

Mel is excellent, and quite thorough. She's done the research, including the math, lol!

ZIRGAR said...

Well, you're expecting neocons to be good with numbers and these are the people who saw a recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision as a 9-0 victory for their cause. Numbers never add up for these people. Nor do the facts.

nonnie9999 said...

i wonder how much less it would have cost the state had princess sarah not stonewalled the investigations. part of the duty of government is to investigate possible wrong-doing by government officials. that's not wasting money, even if the charges don't hold up. princess sarah doesn't understand that. shit, princess sarah doesn't understand much of anything!