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Thread: Sarah Palin ethics investigation

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Default Sarah Palin ethics investigation

    Palin Ethics Investigation

    August 29, 2008, 1:14 pm
    By Michael Luo

    DENVER— A state ethics probe that was launched just a few weeks ago is already drawing attention in the opening moments of her debut as the Republican vice presidential pick is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
    An independent investigator appointed by a panel of state legislators earlier this month is looking into whether Ms. Palin dismissed a top law enforcement official in her administration because he failed to fire a state trooper, Mike Wooten, who went through a messy divorce with Ms. Palin’s sister.

    The investigation follows on the heels of Ms. Palin’s abrupt decision in mid-July to dismiss Walt Monegan, her Public Safety Commissioner. Ms. Palin said she wanted to take the department in a different direction, but questions emerged after Mr. Monegan said he felt pressured to fire Mr. Wooten.

    Mr. Monegan said members of Ms. Palin’s administration, as well Ms. Palin’s husband, Todd, and the governor herself talked to him about Mr. Wooten.
    Mr. Monegan told the Anchorage Daily News that Mr. Palin showed him some of the findings of a private investigator the family had hired and accused him of variety of misdeeds, including drunk driving and child abuse.
    Mr. Palin told the newspaper he feared for his wife’s safety and said that Mr. Wooten had made threats against her and her family.

    As part of efforts to demonstrate she welcomed the inquiry, Ms. Palin asked the state’s attorney general to look into the allegations as well.

    Earlier this month, she released an audio recording of a top aide pressing a police lieutenant about why no action had been taken against Mr. Wooten, given the allegations against him. She also disclosed there had been more two dozen inquiries from members of her staff to the public safety department about him, but she said she only knew about some of the inquiries and had played no role in them.

    Excerpts of the audio recording Ms. Palin released showed Frank Bailey, the state’s director of boards and commissions, pushing Lt. Rodney Dial in February about Mr. Wooten.

    “Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, ‘Why on earth hasn’t this, why is this guy still representing the department?’ He’s a horrible recruiting tool, you know,” Mr. Bailey told the lieutenant.

    Palin Ethics Investigation - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Another view of the Troopergate ethics investigation:

    Governor “Squeakyclean”….or not.

    Another focus of Palin’s introduction today was her reform image. Listen to John McCain and you’ll hear about a maverick reformer who took on big oil, took on corrupt Alaska politicians, and whose ethics are unquestioned.
    Alaskans really want to like Sarah Palin. In a state where corruption is the rule, and the same faces keep recycling over and over and over again like a bad dream, a new face, with a promise of reform seemed like a breath of fresh air. Palin defeated incumbent governor Frank Murkowski (father of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski who he appointed to his own Senate seat when he was elected governor) because he was such an obnoxious, bloviating, downright BAD politician. This staunchly republican state voted with relief, not having to cross over and vote Democratic, but still able to get Murkowski the hell out of office. In the general election Palin swept into office running against a former Democratic governor, Tony Knowles, who was capable but came with baggage. And he represented to Alaskans more of the same, tired old-style politics, and special interests that we have come to loathe.

    So, if McCain had made his selection six months ago, the squeaky-clean governor meme would have made a little more sense. But, Sarah Palin is currently under an ethics investigation by the Alaska state legislature. The details of this investigation read like a trashy novel, and I suspect that the players will soon have new found celebrity on the national stage. I’ll try to explain for all you non-Alaskans who suddenly have good reason to want to know more about Sarah Palin. For those of you not interested in trashy novels, feel free to skip ahead. Here it is…what we in Alaska call “TrooperGate”.

    Sarah Palin’s sister Molly married a guy named Mike Wooten who is an Alaska State Trooper. Mike and Molly had a rocky marriage. When the marriage broke up, there was a bitter custody fight that is still ongoing. During the custody investigation, all sorts of things were brought up about Wooten including the fact that he had illegally shot a moose (yes folks this is Alaska), driven drunk, and used a taser (on the test setting, he reminds us) on his 11-year old stepson, who supposedly had asked to see what it felt like. While Wooten has turned out to be a less than stellar figure, the fact that Palin’s father accompanied him on the infamous moose hunt, and that many of the dozens of charges brought up by the Palin family happened long before they were ever reported smacked of desperate custody fight. Wooten’s story is that he was basically stalked by the family.


    After all this, Wooten was investigated and disciplined on two counts and allowed to kept his position with the troopers. Enter Walt Monegan, Palin’s appointed new chief of the Department of Public Safety and head of the troopers. Monegan was beloved by the troopers, did a bang-up job with minimal funding and suddenly got axed. Palin was out of town and Monegan got “offered another job” (aka fired) with no explanation to Alaskans. Pressure was put on the governor to give details, because rumors started to swirl around the fact that the highly respected Monegan was fired because he refused to fire the aforementioned Mike Wooten. Palin vehemently denied ever talking to Monegan or pressuring Monegan in any way to fire Wooten, or that anyone on her staff did. Over the weeks it has come out that not only was pressure applied, there were literally dozens of conversations in which pressure was applied to fire him. Monegan has testified to this fact, spurring an ongoing investigation by the Alaska state legislature. But, beforethis investigation got underway, Palin sent the Alaska State Attorney General out to do some investigative work of his own so she could find out in advance what the real investigation was going to find. (No, I’m not making this up). The AG interviewed several people, unbeknownst to the actual appointed investigator or the Legislature! Palin’s investigation of herself uncovered a recorded phone call retained by the Alaska State Troopers from Frank Bailey, a Palin underling, putting pressure on a trooper about the Wooten non-firing. Todd Palin (governor’s husband) even talked to Monegan himself in Palin’s office while she was away. Bailey is now on paid administrative leave.


    As if this weren’t enough, Monegan’s appointed replacement Chuck Kopp, turns out to have been the center of his own little scandal. He received a letter of reprimand and was reassigned after sexual harassment allegations by a former coworker who didn’t like all the unwanted kissing and hugging in the office. Was he vetted? Obviously not. When he was questioned about all this, his comment was that no one had asked him and he thought they all knew. Kopp, defiant, still claimed to have done nothing wrong and said to the press that there was no way he was stepping down from his new position. Twenty four hours later, he stepped down. Later it was uncovered that he received a $10,000 severance package for his two weeks on the job from Palin. Monegan got nothing.


    After extensive news coverage about all this nasty behind-the-scenes scandal, which is definitely NOT squeaky clean, Palin’s approval ratings fell to 67%, still high, but a far cry from the 90% number that’s being thrown around so glibly by the Republicans today. Alaskans are quickly becoming disillusioned once again.

    What is McCain Thinking? One Alaskan’s Perspective. « Mudflats

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Hmm, seems like Baby-Gate doesn't have anything on Trooper-Gate.

    And I love this:

    Kopp, defiant, still claimed to have done nothing wrong and said to the press that there was no way he was stepping down from his new position. Twenty four hours later, he stepped down. Later it was uncovered that he received a $10,000 severance package for his two weeks on the job from Palin. Monegan got nothing.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    ^Can we say corrupt? I guess she really does have 'executive experience' then since she knows how to bribe people, right?

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    ^^When the dust finally settles McCain should lose the election and Palin should be impeached and yanked out of office.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Default Palin circles the wagons: Transparency a casualty

    Sounds like her primary focus back in Alaska is covering her ass.
    Palin circles the wagons: Transparency a casualty

    Seems like just yesterday, Sarah Palin was on a passionate crusade for open and transparent government. Fighting the Randy Ruedrichs and the Greg Renkes of the world, demanding a government that allowed a clear view for all to see from the outside.
    Today it appears time for Palin to write an obituary for that noble crusade.
    In a shocking interview with Anchorage Daily News Reporter Lisa Demer on Thursday, Palin's Communication Director Bill McAllister defended the administration's abandonement of their "open and transparent government" promise by saying it didn't really apply to everything.
    "Open and transparent government was something that came up during the campaign and was largely in reference to the stranded gas act versus the AGIA concept under Governor Palin."
    One thing comes to mind after listening to McAllister rewrite history regarding the promises Palin made about open and transparent government; what the hell is Bill McAllister talking about?
    But don't take my word for it; look at the facts.
    First, go the State of Alaska website and search the terms "Open and transparent." No fewer than 5 pages appear with soundbites from Governor Palin about her commitment to open and transparent government while speaking about different initiatives.
    Second, simply look at history. Time and time again, when Palin has invoked the words open and transparent, there is no mention of the stranded gas act or AGIA as McAllister claims.
    In November of 2006 on her campaign website she promised voters, "Sarah will open the door wide to transparent and accountable government."
    On November 1, 2007 after the indictment of Vic Kohring, Palin's press release stated, " Public trust and integrity are the foundation of good government. This reaffirms my commitment to conduct the people’s business in an open and transparent fashion.”
    On March 28, 2006 in a press release regarding putting the state's checkbook online she said it was part of implementing her mandate for more open, transparent government.
    In the interview with McAllister, the ADN's Demer ask him if the Palin administration was backing away from it's "guiding principle" of open and transparent government.
    McAllister offered Demer another shocking response, "Open and transparent does not mean you lose all common sense and conduct everything out in the open."
    The truth is this entire administration has begun to batten down the hatches due to the Branchflower investigation.
    The recent opinion by Attorney General Talis Colberg that state employees have a right to privacy while using state issued communication equipment has set off a heated debate and one that will undoubtedly end up in court.
    In addition, the governor's Department of Administration appears on the verge of enacting more stringent requirements for the public to ask for public records.
    Oh my dear openness and transparency, what has happened to thee?
    I'll tell what happened; Palin and her staff have been using their state issued Blackberrys and computers to conduct acts of personal retribution, and the attorney general is covering for them.
    So why come out with this opinion now, especially in the middle of a scandal fueled by the revalations of secret communications?
    According to one of my sources who tipped me off about the Bailey phone call days before it was publicly released as well as the Kopp payout days before it was publicly released; the governor is in deep snow.
    Apparently there is credible evidence of Blackberry communications that Palin herself communicated with her staff and Monegan about firing Wooten.
    This explains Colberg's over reaching opinion which has many government watchers shaking their collective heads.
    Palin circles the wagons: Transparency a casualty | AndrewHalcro.com

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Exclamation More background into TROOPERGATE

    Why Walt Monegan got fired: Palin's abuse of power

    Last Friday, Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan went into a meeting with Governor Sarah Palin's acting chief of staff thinking he was going to be discussing security for the governor's picnic. He left the meeting without a job.
    The abrupt firing of Walt Monegan was a shock not only to him but all of the men and women of the Department of Public Safety. The way Monegan was fired raises serious questions about the governor's true motives.
    So why was Walt Monegan fired out of the blue? Why would Governor Palin send a surrogate to fire her Public Safety Commissioner and then not have a decent explanation for the public? And why would Monegan's replacement be telling people three days before Monegan got fired, that he was going to become the new Commissioner of Public Safety?
    Walt Monegan got fired for all of the wrong reasons. Walt Monegan got fired because he had the audacity to tell Governor Palin no, when apparently nobody is allowed to say no to Governor Palin.
    Monegan said no, he couldn't cut his budget because his State Troopers were already being stretched to the limit and public safety suffering. He said no, he couldn't cut his budget because fuel costs for planes, boats and patrol vehicles soaring, while crime in rural Alaska was putting more demands on the Troopers transportation system.
    But more alarming than any budget battle, Monegan said no to firing a State Trooper who had divorced Governor Palin's sister because the guy was being maliciously hounded by Palin's family.
    And not just that; Monegan's firing came after his Colonel had to reprimand the governor's office for meddling in department personnel affairs.
    Monegan's budget battles
    When Walt Monegan was appointed, he realized the deep problems at DPS including low morale, understaffed detachments and the lack of a funding commitment to a long term vision.
    He also recognized, that along with the strategic plan his department developed and introduced just months ago, there needed to be a commitment of resources to follow through on the public safety needs for Alaskans.
    "We want out employees to know that help is on the way; that we are planning to grow our staff to provide both the needed services for this vast state, and the appropriate training necessary to do it", Monegan wrote in his 2008-17 Strategic Plan.
    But the Palin administration wanted Monegan to go in another direction. They wanted him to cut corners on a budget that had already fallen behind over the last decade. Under Former Governor Murkwoski there was significant investment made to try and catch up with growing costs but Palin's budgets have again started to starve the agency.
    To make matters worse, the change to the state's retirement benefit program adopted by the legislature in 2004 has had a negative effect on the departments ability to recruit new Troopers.
    Meanwhile, since Governor Palin appointed Walt Monegan in 2007, she has spent less than one hour in face to face discussions with him about the critical public safety issues in Alaska.
    And her fy09 budget for public safety clearly shows the results of her lack of understanding about the challenges that DPS faces.
    According to the Legislative Finance Agency, the public safety budget in fy09 was cut by .06% from what the governor originally proposed while the governor's own budget increased 22.6% over what she originally proposed.
    The problem for Palin was that Monegan was vocal about his concerns about the growing problems in rural Alaska due to alcohol and drug abuse and recognized that the state needed to invest more in protecting the public.
    A few months ago, Monegan warned that Troopers were stretched so thin with no funding support coming from the administration that they might not be able to respond to all calls and even suggested the department prepare a statement for when those situations occurred
    Monegan and his department were getting too far out in front of Palin, acting in ways that were independent and contrary to the governor's wishes. Palin needed to replace Monegan with someone who would be seen but not heard while doing the governor's bidding.
    That's why Palin replaced Monegan with Chuck Kopp from Kenai, an old Palin family acquaintance who is more likely to follow the governor's line and never say no.
    Monegan, ever the good cop, even advocated for a safer Alaska after he was relieved of his duties. In an interview with KTUU on Sunday, two days after he was unceremoniously fired by one of Palin's surrogates, he stated that he informed the administration of a few things that should not be ignored, including the current economic situation in Alaska's rural communities, where he believes poor fishing returns could potentially cause social unrest.
    "Thefts increase. Domestic violence increases. When you apply a lot of stress on a situation, money and fuel oil are an absolute hope at some point. And unless we band together as a government to address it head on it could be very bad," Monegan said.
    Walt Monegan was fired because he fought too hard. Governor Palin fired Monegan because she understood too little and wanted a puppet as commissioner.
    But there was another reason that contributed to Monegan's ouster; a more alarming reason.
    Trooper Mike Wooten: Being hunted by the governor
    In the fall of 2004, Trooper Mike Wooten had decided the differences between he and his wife Molly of four years had grown to the point of being irreconcilable. His wife just happened to be the younger sister of Sarah Palin.
    The beginning of the divorce proceedings set off a chain of bizarre and chilling events that has continued through today. During that time it has resulted in the governor and her family trying to ruin the career of an eight year Alaska State Trooper that has served his state on the SERT Team, Motor Unit and DUI Team.
    Beginning in spring of 2005 and for the next ten months, over 25 formal complaints were filed by Palin and Heath family members against Trooper Mike Wooten. From drinking while driving his patrol car to making threats to shooting a moose without a permit.
    According to Trooper records, Sarah Palin said that in January and February of 2005, Wooten was drinking while driving. After investigating the complaint, the investigator found that Palin never actually saw what she reported.
    In another complaint, Sarah's father said that Wooten made threatening remarks. Again, the investigator found there was no probable way that it could have happened.
    In all cases except one, the charges were ruled unfounded after an internal investigation. And the one charge that was valid, Wooten immediately admitted to.
    In 2003, Wooten, his wife and a friend were moose hunting. Upon spotting a moose, Wooten instructed his wife to shoot the moose since she had the permit, she refused so Wooten did.
    After carting the moose back to town, Sarah's father actually butchered it in his garage, and Wooten shared the meat with both Sarah and Todd Palin as well as her parents. Two years later, during the divorce battle, the family filed a complaint alleging that Wooten had taken that moose illegally. At least they waited until they finished the meat to file the complaint against Wooten.
    But it didn't stop there. Threatening phone calls, private detectives that were hired to follow Wooten, notes left on windshields, Todd Palin taking pictures then submitting them to Wooten's supervisor, all designed to intimidate Wooten into backing off from demanding equal child custody rights.
    But every time they filed a spurious complaint, the Troopers would bring in an Administrative Investigator who after seeing more than two dozen of these ridiculous and time consuming complaints stated that in all his years he had never seen such a shotgun pattern against one officer.
    Meanwhile in court, Wooten prevailed at every turn as Judge Suddock quickly realized there was a concerted effort to damage Wooten. Finally the judge warned that if any of their actions caused Wooten to lose his job or pay in anyway, Molly and her family would be held liable.
    After the divorce was final in late 2005 things settled down, until last fall.
    At the request of the court, Wooten and his ex-wife were instructed to return to re-visit the custody schedule. Once the paper work started in April of 2008, the complaints and the intimidation started all over again.
    But now Wooten wasn't dealing with just Sarah Palin, he was dealing with Governor Sarah Palin.
    On April 23, 2008 in written testimony to the court, Palin denied ever making claims against Wooten, when in fact she had emailed a State Trooper Colonel in April of 2005 accusing Wooten of driving drunk.
    Twice in the last few months complaints were filed by the governor's office accusing Wooten of improperly using his patrol car. Both times he was visiting his kids at school and both times he had permission from his sargent. The last complaint came in May after Todd Palin saw Wooten pulling out of the school parking lot and six days later the complaint landed on Wooten's supervisor's desk.
    During the legislative session this past spring, Palin reportedly told Commissioner Monegan to fire Wooten because he was giving Troopers a bad name. However Monegan said he would do no such thing.
    A short time afterwards, it was discovered that confidential material in Wooten's Administrative Investigation file had been released to his ex-wife and her attorney. This drew outrage from the Public Safety Union as well as the Commissioner. AI files are strictly confidential and can only be released with the written signature of the Trooper, but yet no one could explain how the detailed confidential information was released.
    Reportedly, both Commissioner Monegan and Colonel Audie Halloway warned that if they found out the file was leaked by the governor's office, they would pursue charges.
    Unfortunately, Commissioner Walt Monegan has been fired and word on the street is Colonel Audie Halloway's days are numbered as the new commissioner brings in those who won't object when the governor uses the Troopers as her own private security force.
    The most tragic part of this whole story is Trooper Mike Wooten. For the last four years his children have endured inexcusable stress at the hands of the governor and her family. The same governor who has been on television telling Alaskans how important it is to love your kids and spend time with them. Truth be told, Governor Palin should watch her own television commercial.
    For eight years, Trooper Mike Wooten has served the people of the State of Alaska by putting his life on the line to protect them from harm. Today the question is; who will protect Wooten from the blatant abuse of power now that the governor has free hands.
    Commissioner Walt Monegan was fired because he fought for his employees, he fought for a safer Alaska and he didn't care if he had to fight Governor Palin to do it.
    In the mean time, God help Trooper Mike Wooten.
    Why Walt Monegan got fired: Palin's abuse of power | AndrewHalcro.com

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    The reporter on CNN, who is in Alaska, said she talked with the lead investigator and he said they uncovered MORE potential evidence against Palin, including some e-mails.

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    Silver Member mintjelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    The reporter on CNN, who is in Alaska, said she talked with the lead investigator and he said they uncovered MORE potential evidence against Palin, including some e-mails.
    I just saw that....this thing is getting very, very interesting.
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."-Einstein

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    GOOD. Wipe her out.

    The fundies are circling the wagons around her, they need to punch through that shit.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Exclamation Alaskan blogger: Palin is Lawyered Up and Ready to Joust.

    Take a few hours off, and see what happens? Apparently it’s not possible to blink these days without missing the latest bit of Palin drama. While I was out snapping photos of the governor’s home town of Wasilla and its environs, the state of Alaska was busy running an errand for Sarah - finding her a lawyer. Yes, she’s lawyered up. And the sparks are flying already.

    It all goes back to Troopergate. If you need to consult the Troopergate Primer, go HERE. We’ll wait….

    Now, we’d like to welcome our newest player to the growing cast of characters in our little drama - Thomas Van Flein. Mr. Van Flein (don’t you just have to say that with an accent?!) has been hired to represent Palin in the upcoming legislative investigation into the firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan.

    “But wait!” you may be asking, “What about the state Attorney General? Why can’t he handle this?” Why not AG Talis Colberg? Well, he’s the one that Palin sent out to do a pre-emptive sleuthing campaign to see what the Legislature was going to find out when they investigated her. Just so she’d have a heads up. So now Colberg, who has already been talking to everybody and his uncle about the Trooper, including Walt Monegan, has now opened himself up to being called as a witness! So he’s out. (And incidentally, he’s also going to take over the role of Governor of Alaska should Palin end up as the VP, and her Lt. Governor Sean Parnell win his bid for Alaska’s sole House seat. My head hurts).

    Now that John McCain has gotten his mits into this mess, the McCain/Palin campaign has put together a four-page statement saying that her husband Todd Palin and members of her administration had simply inquired “about the appropriate Department of Public Safety procedures for dealing with someone they considered a dangerous person and rogue trooper.” No pressure, just simple friendly inquiries. BUT, they say, keep in mind that Sarah Palin herself only became aware of her husband’s and all those other people’s ‘inquiries’ very recently, long after they were made. Because married people don’t talk about things like exacting vengeance on dastardly ex-brothers-in-law (on whom they’ve filed dozens of complaints) with each other. Todd did it all on his own. That rogue!

    Here’s where the gloves come off. Van Flein, Palin’s new lawyer, says that the state legislature shouldn’t be handling the investigation at all. It would be much better, he says, if the state Personnel Board (a three person board appointed by Sarah Palin herself) did the investigation. And Van Flein also asked for all witness statements, documents and other materials collected in the course of the legislature’s investigation.

    Hollis French, the state senator, and former state prosecutor who is heading up the investigation said, “No.” and “No.” French reminded Van Flein that Palin has been saying she has nothing to hide all along, and is Palin aware that Van Flein seems to be questioning the legislature’s legitimacy? (That was the first No.) Then he said that Palin had sent the Attorney General out to do the dirty work of talking to all the witnesses first anyway, so go get the information from him. And he told Stephen Branchflower, the real investigator, not to give any info to Van Flein. (Second No.)

    Palin and Van Flein vs. French and Branchflower. Doesn’t that sound like some kind of epic medieval jousting match? Good analogy.

    Van Flein saddles up. He says, “Our concern is that Hollis French turns into Ken Starr and uses public money to pursue a political vendetta rather than truly pursue an honest inquiry into an alleged ethics issue.”

    OHHHHH. Name calling metamorphosis imagery and conservative hot button issue! FOUL for Van Flein!

    And now French galloping at full speed…. “How does Van Flein explain the unanimous vote (to pursue the investigation of Palin) by the Republican-dominated Legislative Council?” OUCH! Van Flein is off the horse. Boy that had to hurt.

    OK, now Branchflower is ready to take on Palin for some questioning. But…where is Palin? Is Palin in the house? (looking around) Ohh that’s right…busy with that Vice Presidential thing.

    Van Flein,
    dusting himself off, pipes up: The investigation is “bad timing” in the middle of a presidential campaign!

    Methinks the presidential campaign is “bad timing” in the middle of an investigation. But that’s just me.

    BREAKING NEWS 9/2/08 4:35 LOCAL TIME:
    Palin has just released documentation indicating that she will attempt to scuttle the investigation by the Legislature and steer it to the control of the State Personnel Board, a 3-member board that Palin herself appointed. The stall tactics begin. The McCain campaign does NOT want a Legislative investigation, and they don’t want the results of that investigation to come 5 days before the election as it is scheduled now. More shenanigans to come, I’m sure.

    Palin is Lawyered Up and Ready to Joust. « Mudflats

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^McCain is doing with Palin just what Bush did with Scooter Libby. And, just like Bush, he believes in putting unqualified people into positions of authority just for political gain.

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    Arrow Alaskan blogger Andrew Halcro: Mike Wooten & Troopergate

    WOOTEN
    How small a state is the biggest state in the union?
    Since Friday morning I have fielded calls from no fewer than sixty different print and television outlets. In most cases every one of them wanted to contact State Trooper Mike Wooten for an interview but Wooten isn't taking interviews.
    Yesterday, when speaking to a couple of different print journalist and a television crew, they mentioned they wanted to get in touch with Wooten. I told them I couldn't help them. Then they proceeded to mention they had been on their way out to Wasilla when they got delayed on the highway due to a motocrycle accident.
    Little did they know that when they passed the accident scene the Trooper on duty was Mike Wooten.
    In fact there have been several encounters over the last few days were news reporters trying to track down Trooper Wooten have been close enough to him to shake his hand.
    That's how small the biggest state in the union is.
    TROOPERGATE
    In a statement released on September 2 through her attorney Thomas Van Flein, Palin once again shows how her propensity for a misrepresentation of the facts got her into trouble to begin with.
    Palin is attempting to get the investigation moved into the executive branch so it is reviewed by the personnel board.
    In her statement, Palin writes, "In 2005 and early 2006, State Trooper Mike Wooten was the subject of a court-imposed Domestic Violence Protective Order."
    As has been the governor's history with this issue, she offers up another twisted fact.
    In 2005, Palin and her sister Molly went to the Palmer Courthouse while Mike Wooten was in Portland with his stepson. They convinced a judge to grant Molly a domestic violence restraining order against Wooten. This was done so Molly could retain full custody of the children.
    When Wooten returned from Portland, he realized that there was a order prohibiting him from seeing his kids. Three weeks later, Wooten was granted an appearance in front of the couple's divorce judge.
    In front of Judge Suddock, Molly testified that Wooten never hit her or never physically abused her or ever touched the children. She told the judge she was feeling pressure from her family to file the order.
    Suddock immediately dissolved the order because there was no proof of any domestic violence and called the order an abuse of the legal system. He then scolded Palin's sister for keeping Wooten's kids away from him.
    This appears to be Palin's classic approach to deflecting attention away from situations she has created; blame the other person.
    The governor's futile attempt to get the legislature to abandon their ongoing investigation goes completely against what she promised when this process began.
    "Hold me accountable" she said back in August while welcoming an open and transparent investigation into the issue. Now she seems to be saying..let me hold myself accountable while I make up some facts.
    On Friday July 18, 2008 on the KTUU News, Governor Sarah Palin was asked about a special investigation after allegations were raised about potential abuse of power: "We would never prohibit, or be less than enthusiastic about any kind of investigation. Let's deal in the facts, and you do that via investigation," Palin said.
    Today Palin is pushing back by hiring a defense attorney after saying she has maintained she had nothing to hide and now wants the investigation to be moved into the executive branch and away from the legislature.
    But then again Palin said she her and Monegan "never had a conversation on whether trooper Wooten should be a trooper or not."
    A month later, Walt Monegan turned emails over to the special investigator he received directly from Palin regarding Trooper Mike Wooten being a trooper.
    This attempt by Palin to move the investigation away from an independent special investigator into the executive branch speaks volumes about just how worried she is about how this will play out.
    Meanwhile, Senator Hollis French has stated the report from special investigator Steve Branchflower will be issued before October 31, 2008.
    Governor and staff's latest explanations leave more questions - KTVA

    Vetting, Wooten and Troopergate | AndrewHalcro.com

  14. #14
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Exclamation Alaskan Andrew Halco: Palin Administration not cooperating with investigation

    The real question.........

    Today, Governor Palin's aide Frank Bailey who was put on paid state leave for making a recorded phone call to Alaska State Trooper Rodney Dial in an attempt to get the governor's ex brother in law, State Trooper Mike Wooten fired, was scheduled to be deposed by independent investigator Steve Branchflower.

    However Bailey lawyered up and cancelled his appointment. This is unfortunate and shows the Palin administration is no longer cooperating in an investigation that they have promised all along to cooperate with.
    In fact it was the reason given why Bailey was put on administrative leave and not fired according to the governor's office. It was so he could be compelled to cooperate with Mr. Branchflower's investigation they said at the time.

    "Alaskans should be offended, that Frank Bailey is on paid leave and will not do an interview that he already committed to with Mr. Branchflower," said Representative Jay Ramras, a Republican from Fairbanks and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

    "My intention is to call Chief of Staff Mike Nizich, who is an honorable man, and tell him he better kick Bailey in the butt and get him over here, or else he will be asking for scrutiny. We have a million people from the national media here. Alaska does not need to air its dirty laundry in a public way," Ramras told KTVA News.

    So while the Judiciary Committee is considering issuing subpoenas for Mr. Bailey and others, there is another question lurking out there that no one is asking about:
    Why was Chuck Kopp paid $10,000 when he resigned?
    Three weeks ago we broke the story about a $10,000 severance package that was quietly given to short time Public Safety Commissioner Chuck Kopp who was hired just days after former Commissioner Walt Monegan was fired.
    Kopp resigned after just two weeks on the job after public and media pressure about a prior sexual harassment complaint filed against him in 2005 refused to go away.

    Until we broke the story, the severance agreement was never mentioned by the Palin administration. In fact it was not publicly known until the Attorney General was questioned about it at a later press conference.

    Attorney General Talis Colberg defended the severance pay by claiming that Kopp left a comfortable 19-year career on the Kenai Peninsula and took a job that lasted less than two weeks.
    Colberg's explanation raises some questions.
    First, the governor stated in the press on August 1 that she was surprised and disappointed to find out that Kopp had in fact been issued a letter of reprimand. Before it came out in the media, Palin stood firmly behind Kopp. So why, if this whole downfall was caused by Kopp being less than forthcoming about the letter, would the state pay him 10k as a severance?

    Second, hasn't the governor been defending her firing Monegan for the last four weeks by saying that commissioners are at will employees and can be fired for any reason? So if she can fire a commissioner for any reason without paying them severance, why would she feel obligated to cut Kopp a check for $10k when he quit.

    To put this into perspective; Monegan was on the job for 74 weeks and received no severance pay. Kopp was on the job 2 weeks and received $10,000 in severance pay.

    Third, the agreement specifically states that the $10,000 is "not compensation for lost wages." So if it's not based on lost income, why is Colberg leaning on the argument that it's necessary because he gave up a good career for a job that only lasted two weeks?

    Furthermore, Colberg had no logical explanation when he was asked about how they arrived at the $10,000 figure.
    Something is not right here.
    In addition, according to the agreement (attached) Kopp signed a release that prohibits him from asserting any claims "against the State of Alaska, its officers, employees, agents, representatives, insurers, servants, successors in interest..and demands for damages, costs, expenses or attorney's fees that arose" related to his employment.

    This guy supposedly quit on his own. Why would the state need to pay him ten grand and require a signed release from future claims of damages?
    And exactly how much did $10,000 buy the Palin administration in liability protection from Chuck Kopp?
    The only reasonable answer could be that the Palin administration recognized that Kopp had significant grounds for future claims surrounding his hiring, short tenure in office and subsequent resignation. Or it could have been just old fashion payola to get him to go quietly into the night.

    The real question......... | AndrewHalcro.com

    Link to settlement agreement (3 pages, PDF) click here

  15. #15
    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    Oh goody. I hope the little pitbull gets grilled on this.

    Is she Britney's long lost cousin, ya'll!!!!!!!? That trooper there is not gunna mess with mah sister!

    Jean Paul Aussenard/Getty Images, AP Photo/Chris Miller

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