Troopergate report: Palin abused power

cicerone imposter
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 03:59 pm
There is hope when there seems to be none.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 07:47 am
Troopergate: Not Over Yet
By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK
Published Oct 11, 2008

A new Alaska legislative report finding that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power and violated state ethics laws spells new trouble for the McCain campaign. Special counsel Steve Branchflower's report could lead to fines or legislative action to censure Palin. It also directly challenges the vice presidential candidate's credibility on key points related to the "Troopergate" controversy. Palin has said she fired Walt Monegan, Alaska's public-safety commissioner, last summer solely because of budget disputes and "insubordination" by Monegan. But Branchflower found that a likely "contributing" factor was Palin's desire to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, her ex-brother-in-law. While Palin had the right to fire Monegan, Branchflower found that she allowed her husband and top aides to put "impermissible pressure" on subordinates to "advance a personal agenda." The report also questioned Palin's public contention that her family "feared" Wooten, noting that shortly after she took office she ordered a sizable reduction in her personal protection detail.

McCain campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton dismissed the report as the product of "a partisan-led inquiry run by Obama supporters." But there could be more land mines ahead. Some weeks ago, the McCain team devised a plan to have Palin file an ethics complaint against herself with the State Personnel Board, arguing that it alone was capable of conducting a fair, nonpartisan inquiry into whether she fired Monegan because he refused to fire Wooten, who had been involved in a messy custody battle with her sister. Some Democrats ridiculed the move, noting that the personnel board answered to Palin. But the board ended up hiring an aggressive Anchorage trial lawyer, Timothy Petumenos, as an independent counsel. McCain aides were chagrined to discover that Petumenos was a Democrat who had contributed to Palin's 2006 opponent for governor, Tony Knowles. Palin is now scheduled to be questioned next week, and the counsel's report could be released soon after. "We took a gamble when we went to the personnel board," said a McCain aide who asked not to be identified discussing strategy. While the McCain camp still insists Palin "has nothing to hide," it acknowledges a critical finding by Petumenos would be even harder to dismiss.
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 08:26 am
Yet another manufactured scandal (as opposed to real scandals like Freddy/Fannie, Chinagate, Utahgate, Kosovo, Jim McDougal, Vince Foster, Juanita Broaddrick, Oinkbama/Oinkdinga, $4/gallon gasoline.....)
Bi-Polar Bear
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 08:38 am
can't let that vince foster thing go can you?
0 Replies
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 08:47 am
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008
What the Troopergate Report Really Says
By Nathan Thornburgh/Anchorage

Friday's report from special investigator Stephen Branchflower to Alaska's Legislative Council answered some basic questions about the political and personal bog known as Troopergate.

Did Governor Sarah Palin abuse the power of her office in trying to get her former brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten, fired? Yes.

Was the refusal to fire Mike Wooten the reason Palin fired Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan? Not exclusively, and it was within her rights as the states' chief executive to fire him for just about any reason, even without cause.

Those answers were expected, given that most of the best pieces of evidence have been part of the public record for months. The result is not a mortal wound to Palin, nor does it put her at much risk of being forced to leave the ticket her presence succeeded in energizing.

But the Branchflower report still makes for good reading, if only because it convincingly answers a question nobody had even thought to ask: Is the Palin administration shockingly amateurish? Yes, it is. Disturbingly so.

The 263 pages of the report show a co-ordinated application of pressure on Monegan so transparent and ham-handed that it was almost certain to end in public embarrassment for the governor. The only surprise is that Troopergate is national news, not just a sorry piece of political gristle to be chewed on by Alaska politicos over steaks at Anchorage's Club Paris.

A harsh verdict? Consider the report's findings. Not only did people at almost every level of the Palin administration engage in repeated inappropriate contact with Walt Monegan and other high-ranking officials at the Department of Public Safety, but Monegan and his peers constantly warned these Palin disciples that the contact was inappropriate and probably unlawful. Still, the emails and calls continued " in at least one instance on recorded state trooper phone lines.

The state's head of personnel, Annette Kreitzer, called Monegan and had to be warned that personnel issues were confidential. The state's attorney general, Talis Colberg, called Monegan and had to be reminded that the call was putting both men in legal jeopardy, should Wooten decide to sue. The governor's chief of staff met with Monegan and had to be reminded by Monegan that, "This conversation is discoverable ... You don't want Wooten to own your house, do you?"

Monegan consistently emerges as the adult in these conversations, while the Palin camp displays a childish impetuousness and sense of entitlement.

One telling exchange: Deputy Commissioner John Glass, who worked under Monegan, told Branchflower he was "livid" after a Palin staffer, Frank Bailey, went outside the chain of command and called a state trooper in far-off Ketchikan to complain about Wooten. Why had Bailey called the trooper? Because, Bailey said, this trooper had gone to church with Sarah Palin back in Wasilla, so he felt "comfortable" talking to him about Wooten. Glass, too, tried to sound the warning that continuing to pressure anyone and everyone in the matter would end in "an unbelievable amount of embarrassment for the Governor and everybody else".

(See photos of Sarah Palin on the campaign trail)

Another amateurish sign: Todd Palin's outsize role in the mess. Branchflower said it was out of his jurisdiction to pass judgment on the First Gentleman, but his report paints an extralegal role for Todd Palin that would have made the Hillary Clinton of 1992 blush. In the report, the head of Gov. Palin's security detail says that Todd spent about half of his time in the governor's office " not at a desk (he didn't have one), but at a long conference table on one side of the office, with his own phone to make and receive calls. It became a shadow office, the informal Department of Getting Mike Wooten Fired.

It was at that long table that Todd Palin first scheduled a meeting with Walt Monegan, days after his wife's administration began. He showed Monegan three huge binders of evidence against Wooten, including a picture of a dead moose that had been shot illegally. After Monegan came back saying that there was no new actionable information, Todd began a very visible campaign of stewing and fuming, trying to get access to personnel files, calling up and down the Public Safety org chart.

The report also raises the suggestion that the final incident that led to Monegan's firing was perhaps the most (unintentionally) hilarious part of the whole saga. In the run-up to Alaska's 2008 Police Memorial Day event, Monegan visited Palin in Anchorage and brought along an official portrait of a state trooper in uniform, saluting in front of the police memorial in Anchorage, for Palin to sign and present at the event. The trooper? Mike Wooten.

Palin signed the photo and didn't say anything, according to Monegan's testimony, but later cancelled her attendance at the event, sending Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell in her place. The head of her Anchorage office followed up with a call to Monegan berating him for his insensitivity. (Monegan swears he didn't know it was Wooten in the picture, and that he didn't even know what Wooten looked like.)

Shortly after that incident, Monegan's fate was cast. But even then, Palin's staffers were blithely adding more evidence to Troopergate. When Monegan's potential successor, Chuck Kopp, asked Bailey, the Palin staffer, why Monegan was being fired, he was told simply: "Todd is really upset with Monegan."

So what does this say about the possible Vice-President of the United States? Certainly not as much as her enemies would have hoped. She was only directly involved in a small bit of the pressure campaign " a meeting or two and a couple of emails. She can thank Monegan for not having her hands dirtier; it was he who told her to keep herself at "arm's length" from any Wooten conversations.

But even though she won't likely face any legal repercussions, the amateurism and cronyism of her brief administration hardly leaves Palin sitting pretty. Troopergate's final verdict may be even more damaging than a rebuke: her administration was, at least this regard, just as self-motivated as the Washington fat cats and lobbyists she hopes to unseat.

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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:14 am
When people's judgment can't discern how shallow Palin is, it's speaks more to us than Palin. How much more evidence do we need before we understand that Palin is way over her head? She would fail a high school debate contest.
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Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 10:55 am
GungasnOinKKKe thinks this is a manufactured scandal, and can't compare with real scandals. Palin is a small-timer, so she gets involved in small-time scandals. Give her a national stage and based on her record she'll be able to create nation-sized scandals. Only the loopy right could think that's a good thing.
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Debra Law
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 12:37 pm
War is Peace;
Freedom is Slavery;
Ignorance is Strength; and
Palin Abused Power & Violated Ethics Code is Palin Cleared of all Charges:

Palin: "Very much appreciating being cleared of any legal wrongdoing or unethical activity at all."


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Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 06:50 pm
"There is the one most serious abuse a man or a woman, or a government, can engage in...is to abuse power," Biden noted in a segue to the economy. http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Biden_Abuse_of_power_most_serious_1012.html
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 06:54 pm
Palin already told us how she will perform the "powers" of the vice president that exceeds what it says in the Constitution.
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Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 08:03 am
Board's Troopergate probe casts wider net
ETHICS: Investigator hasn't said who else may be under scrutiny.

[email protected]

The state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case.

The investigator, Tim Petumenos, did not say who else is under scrutiny. But in two recent letters describing his inquiry, he cited the consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as a reason for not going along with Palin's request to make the examination of her activities more public.

Two other ethics complaints involving Palin are known. One, by activist Andree McLeod, alleges that state hiring practices were circumvented for a Palin supporter. The case is not related to Monegan's firing. The other, by the Public Safety Employees Association, alleges that trooper Mike Wooten's personnel file was illegally breached by state officials.

John Cyr, the PSEA executive director, said Monday the union plans to amend its complaint to be sure the board investigates "harassment" of Wooten as well.

Petumenos has not spoken to the press, in keeping with the secrecy of the state process. But he gave a rough description of the investigation's course in two letters to an Anchorage attorney threatening a lawsuit over Palin's effort to waive confidentiality.
cicerone imposter
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 10:25 am
Not surprising. Palin is probably guilty of much more than troopergate while a mayor and governor in Alaska. She now has the reputation of running her administration like a tyrant and queen rather than the elected official of a democratic republic, and lies on top of all that.
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 11:30 am
@cicerone imposter,
Well there's an ongoing investigation that will play out and nobody including Palin can do anything about it. Long after she's sent back to Alaska with her tail between her legs this will be news. Not huge news except to her and her legacy.
cicerone imposter
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 11:55 am
We'll probably hear the same BS as the investigation on troopergate; it was motivated by Obama. What people fail to understand is that the majority in their legislature is republican, and people forget that even Alaskans want honest government to represent them.

Trying to blame on democrats is not only shallow, but lacks logic and rational thinking.
0 Replies
Debra Law
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 03:45 pm
The publicity has taken the wind out of the Governor's and First Dude's "abuse of power" sails. When they return to Alaska, they can no longer place pressure on subordinates to effectively carry out their personal agendas. Everyone may legitimately them where to stick it without too much fear of reprisal.
cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 03:54 pm
@Debra Law,
You think so? I see Alaskans as out of the mainstream of America, and their values are not well known to us in the lower 48.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 04:38 pm
AP INVESTIGATION: Palin children traveled on state By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers Brett J. Blackledge, Adam Goldman And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers " ANCHORAGE, Alaska " Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081021/ap_on_el_pr/palin_family_travel After Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his running mate and reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters' travel.

In the amended reports, Palin added phrases such as "First Family attending" and "First Family invited" to explain the girls' attendance.
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 06:49 pm
More from the same link

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.


When Palin released her family's tax records as part of her vice presidential campaign, some tax experts questioned why she did not report the children's state travel reimbursements as income.

The Palins released a review by a Washington attorney who said state law allows the children's travel expenses to be reimbursed and not taxed when they conduct official state business.


Tony Knowles, a Democratic former governor of Alaska who lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children's commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.

Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.

"There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business," said Knowles, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. "I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business."

Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn't charge the state for their trip.
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