Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose reformer image took a hit in a report concluding she abused her powers to settle a family score, has skirted state ethics rules before for personal benefit and used her office to help friends and supporters, according to an Associated Press review of records.
Palin’s first try at statewide office, after six years as mayor of Wasilla, was an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 2002. To raise money, she improperly used her City Hall office and equipment, city records show. A year later she would make headlines by blasting a fellow Republican for, among other things, improperly using his government position to boost his campaign.
Then, in 2006, Palin won the governor’s race with a vow to reform state ethics. But in less than two years, she has repeatedly taken actions that violated her own stated standards for ethical behavior _ if not state law. In the process, the Republican vice presidential nominee has become much like the old-school politicians she attacked during her rise to power.
_She pummeled opponents for giving oil companies and other businesses too much control of state government. Yet she appointed the founder of an engineering firm that received $6.8 million in state business as head of the transportation department.
_She has accepted dozens of gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars since taking office, including two free trips last year that she failed to report on disclosure forms, despite criticizing state legislators for the gifts they take.
_She is under another investigation, accused of misusing her office to campaign against a voter referendum calling for tighter mining regulations. Her husband, Todd, has accepted free trips from a mining company to look at their proposed new site.
_Another ethics complaint, unresolved, accuses her staff of finding a state job for a friend and campaign contributor.