- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2010

ALASKA

Palin legal defense fund ruled illegal

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | A legal defense fund set up for Sarah Palin when she was Alaska governor was illegal, an investigator for the state Personnel Board said Thursday.

Investigator Timothy Petumenos said the Alaska Fund Trust inappropriately used the word “official” on its website to describe it, wrongly implying Mrs. Palin’s endorsement as governor.

Mrs. Palin’s attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said she will return the money from the fund, which brought in almost $390,000.

Mr. Petumenos, however, found that Mrs. Palin, the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee, acted in good faith and relied on a team of lawyers to make sure the fund was lawful.

Thursday’s findings are an outgrowth from a preliminary, confidential report by another board investigator that also implicated Mrs. Palin. The earlier report was issued less than two weeks after she announced she was resigning from office last July.

In announcing her resignation, Mrs. Palin cited the toll of the ethics probes as one of the reasons she was stepping down. She has said she racked up at least $500,000 in legal fees.

Mrs. Palin’s friends and supporters created the Alaska Fund Trust in April 2009, limiting donations to $150 per person. The ethics complaint was filed soon after by Eagle River resident Kim Chatman, who said Mrs. Palin was misusing her official position and accepting improper gifts.

SENATE

Petraeus to testify on Hill next week

A Senate panel is moving quickly to hold a confirmation hearing for Gen. David H. Petraeus as the new commander for the war in Afghanistan. The Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing for the Army four-star general next Tuesday.

Both Republicans and Democrats have said they back Gen. Petraeus for the job. He would replace Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who resigned after he and his aides were quoted in a magazine article making scornful remarks about the administration.

Gen. Petraeus currently heads the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. His replacement has not been named.

WHITE HOUSE

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