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19th Palin Ethics Complaint Filed

RACHEL D'ORO   07/20/09 10:57 PM ET   AP

Sarah Palin

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Another ethics complaint was filed against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday – less than a week before her resignation – alleging she failed to submit complete gift disclosure forms in a timely manner.

The complaint filed with the attorney general is the 19th ethics grievance against Palin, who responded via Twitter postings that the filings came from a "serial complainer" intent on abusing the political process.

"In violation of Ethics Act more allegations were filed today by serial complainer; gave to press be4 we could respond; ridiculous, wasteful..." Palin wrote in the first of a string of postings on the social networking site Twitter.

"it costs political critics NOTHING to file/play their wasteful game; They should debate policy in political arena,not hide w/process abuse..." she said in another tweet.

In announcing her July 26 resignation, Palin has cited the cost and strain of the multiple complaints on her personally and on her administration. Palin, who leaves with 17 months left on her first term, says she is more than $500,000 in legal debt from fighting them.

Most of the complaints, including a case filed by the governor herself, were filed after Palin was named the GOP vice presidential candidate last year. Most have been dismissed.

The latest is the sixth filed by fellow Republican Andree McLeod, an outspoken critic of the governor. She is asking Attorney General Daniel Sullivan to forward her claim to the state Personnel Board for investigation.

Items are listed in the complaint as unclaimed gifts, including "boxes of unopened mail" to Palin and her family from supporters dating back to the governor's national campaign.

"We deserve to know who plied their governor with gifts," McLeod wrote in her complaint.

Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said the multiple filings by one person raise the prospect that the ethics process "is being abused and is simply being used to harass and annoy." Three of McLeod's cases have been dismissed and two others, including one filed last week, remain active.

The 19 complaints include a "self disclosure" Palin filed with the Alaska Personnel Board just days after she was named John McCain's running mate. It was in response to an investigation by state lawmakers over Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner, a scandal that became known as Troopergate.

The commissioner, Walt Monegan, believed he was terminated over his refusal to dismiss a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce with Palin's sister. Palin cited budgetary disagreements.

The legislative probe ultimately concluded the governor broke an ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain, although the firing itself was considered lawful since Monegan was an employee who could be dismissed at will.

Palin said the legislative probe had become too political and filed a "self disclosure" with the personnel board, whose three members are appointed by the governor. The day before the presidential election, that investigation concluded that Palin violated no ethics laws.

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Filed by Nicholas Sabloff  |