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Supporter vows help for Palin's legal bills, whether she likes it or not

ANCHORAGE — A new legal fund has been created to help Gov. Sarah Palin pay her mounting legal bills. But a spokeswoman says the effort's not sanctioned by Palin.

"It’s not official. Neither the governor nor her attorney can accept monies from a group like this. There is one that is in the process of being established," said Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton.

Clayton Paslay, who splits his time between Texas and California, said in a telephone interview that he's a big supporter of Palin and last year started a political action committee to support her and other conservatives, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Then he heard Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly say Palin needed help with her legal bills. So, about a week ago, he added a legal fund for Palin to his Web site.

"I did this at the suggestion of Fox News," Paslay said.

He said he has never talked to Palin because he can't get through to her. But a few days ago he spoke briefly with Palin's Anchorage attorney, Thomas Van Flein. Paslay said the attorney "was in a rush" but didn't object to the fund. He said they agreed donations could be sent directly to the attorney.

"No different than going down and paying someone else’s parking ticket," Paslay said.

Van Flein didn't immediately return calls.

Palin said last month she owes about $500,000 in legal bills to Van Flein's firm for defending her in the troopergate controversy as well as in various ethics complaints.

Word about the rogue legal fund erupted late Tuesday in the blogosphere. Paslay said he talked again Wednesday to Van Flein, who told him an official "trust fund" was being created for Palin's legal bills.

Paslay said even if Palin has a separate, official legal fund, he plans to keep his going because he's a supporter.

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