WASHINGTON, July 12, 2009 -- While Sarah Palin has publicly deflected questions on whether she plans to run for president in 2012, it's becoming clearer she's not stepping out of the national political arena anytime soon, even though she is resigning as Alaska governor.
The Washington Times reports that Palin plans to stump for conservative issues and even for Democrats who share her values on limited government, strong defense and energy independence.
"I will go around the country on behalf of candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label or affiliation," she said in an interview, "People are so tired of the partisan stuff -- even my own son is not a Republican."
Palin's son, Track, 20, is registered as "non-partisan," according to the Times.
So far, according to the newspaper, responses from Democratic candidates have been lukewarm.
Just recently, another two ethics complaints were filed against her, bringing the total number of such complaints to 19.
A complaint filed early last 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.
Another complaint filed Saturday reportedly contends that Palin 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."
Palin said one of the primary reasons she is resigning July 26 is to put an end to the seemingly endless string of ethics complaints levied against her.
"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," she said. "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 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."
Johnston, 19, is reportedly pursuing his own book and a possible movie deal.