Palin owes over a half million in legal bills; may start legal defense fund

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills to a law firm that defended her from ethics complains, and may create a defense fund to pay for them.

Palin owes more than half a million dollars to the law firm Clapp, Peterson, Van Flein, Tiemessen & Thorsness, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

"I must defend against these baseless ethics accusations out of my own pocket as the use of public monies to do so could itself violate state law," Palin said in a written statement to the paper.

"Obviously we cannot afford to personally pay these bills -- and really no future governor should feel the sense of financial vulnerability at the hands of those with a political vendetta bent on personal destruction," she added. "Some have suggested a legal fund to pay these bills. We'll have to pursue that."

The debt piled up in defending the so-called "Troopergate" scandal, in which Palin was accused of inappropriately acting to fire the Alaska public safety commissioner.