Retiring Gov. Palin Pummeled With More Complaints

The hits keep coming for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Just days after Palin made her bombshell resignation announcement July 3, another two ethics complaints were filed against her, bringing the total number of such complaints to 19.

A complaint filed earlier this week alleges that the governor misused state funds by accepting a housing stipend even when she stayed at her own home in Wasilla instead of at the governor's residence in Juneau. And another complaint filed yesterday reportedly contends that the governor was paid for giving certain media interviews.

Palin's office issued a statement late Friday refuting the charges.

In it, Palin's chief of staff Mike Nizich fired back: "Although the governor would not have thought it possible, the latest complaint rises to a new level of absurdity in alleging that she has been paid for interviews that she has given to the news media. It is amazing to me that anyone could think that, let alone put their name behind it and once again seek to distract state officials and needlessly increase their work load."

Gov. Palin said one of the primary reasons she is stepping down July 26 from office is to put an end to the seemingly endless string of ethics complaints levied against her.

In an interview with ABC last week, she said she has been unfairly scrutinized ever since being picked to run with John McCain for the Republican presidential ticket.

"You know, conditions have really changed in Alaska in the political arena since Aug. 29, since I was tapped to run for VP. When that opposition research -- those researchers really bombarded Alaska -- started digging for dirt and have not let up. They're not gonna find any dirt," she said. "We keep proving that every time we win an ethics violation lawsuit, and we've won every one of them. But it has been costing our state millions of dollars. It's cost Todd and me. You know the adversaries would love to see us put on the path of personal bankruptcy so that we can't afford to run."

Palin's office confirms that the mounting legal bills associated with the myriad ethics charges have cost the governor and her husband more than half a million dollars. The governor's critics say she is leaving the state high and dry in order to plot a presidential run in 2012.

And while Palin maintains that she's keeping all doors open at this point, she insists that her departure had nothing to do with personal ambition and everything to do with what's best for Alaska.

In response to this latest ethics complaint Palin issued a statement saying, "I hope this will be a wake-up call -- to legislators, to commentators and to citizens generally -- that we need a much more civil and respectful dialogue that focuses on the best interests of the state, rather than the petty resentments of the few."

The highest profile complaint focused on whether or not the governor tried to unfairly oust the state's director of public safety for refusing to fire a state trooper who had been married to Palin's sister.

In a report released last October, Alaska's Legislative Council found that Palin had "abused her power as governor." But the governor's office is quick to point out that of the 19 total ethics complaints filed against Palin or her staff, 15 have been resolved. But there are still four pending.

Earlier this week, Levi Johnston, the former fiance of Palin's daughter Bristol, lambasted the governor for stepping down from office.

In a press conference Thursday, Johnston claimed that he heard the governor say several times how much she'd like to take advantage of the lucrative media offers that came in after the 2008 campaign.

"She had talked about how nice it would be to take some of this money people had been offering us and, you know, just run with it, say, 'Forget everything else,'" he said.

A spokeswoman for the Palin family responded to Johnston's claims in an e-mail to The Associated Press, saying, "It is interesting to learn Levi is working on a piece of fiction while honing his acting skills."

Nineteen-year-old Johnston is reportedly pursuing his own book and a possible movie deal.