The 15th ethics complaint filed against the governor or one of her staff has been dismissed. The complaint, filed by Andree McLeod against Anchorage Office Director Kris Perry, alleged Perry used her official position for personal gain by traveling with the governor on three occasions.
The complaint was filed even after Perry obtained an opinion from her ethics supervisor, Linda Perez. In the opinion, dated September 28, 2008, Perez concluded, "By officially staffing the governor, you will be providing a more efficient means for direct communication between the state and the governor. It is in the best interest of the state at this time to have a state employee provide that staff function to ensure that information is provided timely to the governor and any decisions, questions or directions relayed back to the state."
"It is outrageous to file an ethics complaint against a state employee who sought and obtained ethics guidance in advance," Mike Nizich, the governor's chief of staff, said. "This is not about ethics. This is not about holding the governor or state employees accountable. This is pure harassment."
In dismissing the complaint on June 5, 2009, Acting Attorney General Richard Svobodny concurred with the conclusions of the investigator that "[t]he evidence reviewed does not support the alleged violations of the Ethics Act or suggest the need for further investigation. Under these circumstances, Ms. Perry was not using her official position for her own personal gain or to provide an unwarranted benefit to Governor Palin in violation of AS 39.52.120 (a) because Ms. Perry was traveling on authorized state business."
The investigator continued: "We would also be remiss in not stating for the record that for the highly unusual situation of the vice presidential campaign, and even the two other trips, the record clearly shows that Ms. Perry gave far more of her personal time to the state of Alaska than she may have used state time, if any, for non-state-related or unavoidable personal activities."
"While asserting false accusations of ethics law violations, the complainant simultaneously violates the same ethics law by publicizing her malicious accusations," Perry said. "These improper actions benefit no one, waste state money and resources, and only seek to damage reputations."
In the past two years, the state of Alaska has spent millions of dollars processing ethics complaints, public records requests, and related lawsuits.