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Thread: Troopergate probe against Sarah Palin appears to be unraveling

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Default Troopergate probe against Sarah Palin appears to be unraveling

    Troopergate probe appears to be unraveling
    Associated Press
    The abuse-of-power investigation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was unraveling Wednesday, with most key witnesses refusing to testify, new legal maneuvering and heightened Republican pressure to delay the probe until after Election Day.
    Palin initially welcomed the investigation, saying "hold me accountable," but she has increasingly opposed it since Republican presidential candidate John McCain tapped her as his vice presidential running mate.
    In a reversal of position, a key Democratic lawmaker said Wednesday he may convene the committee that is conducting the investigation into whether Palin dismissed her public safety commissioner when he would not fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with her sister.
    Some Republican members of the committee have asked for such a meeting, to consider delaying the probe or replacing Democratic state Sen. Hollis French as its manager. The investigation's conclusions are supposed to be released by Oct. 10. The Legislative Council, made up of 10 Republicans and four Democrats, had unanimously approved launching the probe.
    A lawyer for five Alaska Republican legislators suing for a delay of the investigation known as Troopergate said he will wait — but not too long — to see what the Legislative Council, a joint bipartisan oversight panel, does before asking a judge for an injunction.
    The chairman of the council, Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton, said he would poll other council members on whether to meet.
    Elton had previously refused to call such a meeting before panel investigator Steven Branchflower issued his report. In a letter Wednesday to House Speaker John Harris, Elton said circumstances had changed.
    He said the situation had become so politicized it was difficult to imagine it could get any worse. Elton said he used to fear that any debate without a report would be "run through the prism of presidential politics and focus on motives." But now, he added, the debate is "taking place through press conferences and lawsuits."
    Elton also sent a letter to Attorney General Talis Colberg, a Republican appointed by Palin, who on Tuesday said he would refuse to allow 10 subpoenaed state employees to testify, despite assurances from Colberg's staff last week that they would testify if certain interpretations of state law were agreed upon.
    Contending the deal had been broken, Elton said, "Bluntly, I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucie moved the football."
    The McCain campaign said on Monday that Palin, who was not subpoenaed, was unlikely to cooperate.
    One of the witnesses summoned last week, former Palin legislative director John Bitney, said he testified Tuesday, but wouldn't say what he revealed. He said he spoke only of his seven-month tenure with the Palin administration that ended in July 2007.
    "I spoke on what happened during the time I was employed there, and I told the truth," said Bitney.
    Bitney said he felt he didn't have a choice. "If I had a publicly funded attorney telling me I didn't have to honor the subpoena, it might have been different."
    The two remaining witnesses subpoenaed are Todd Palin, the governor's husband, who was traveling with his wife in Ohio and Michigan, and Murlene Wilkes, a state contractor.
    Ignoring a legislative subpoena is punishable by a fine up to $500 and up to six months in jail, according to Alaska state statutes.
    Harris, who two months ago supported the investigation, also now questions its impartiality and raised the possibility of delaying the findings, which would obviously be limited if virtually none of the key witnesses testified.

    While appearing to waver, Elton also said delaying the report until after the election would "inflame debate about whether the council was taking a political position."
    Kevin Clarkson, lawyer for the Republican lawmakers, said Wednesday that he would wait to see whether the council meets before seeking an injunction to force the issue. "But we're not going to wait too long," he said.
    Meanwhile, Alaska Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican, said she does not believe the investigation will collapse or be delayed by "outside interlopers" trying to protect Palin.
    "I see no reason why we need to have infighting over a previously authorized investigation that still has its original purpose," said Green, a Palin critic.
    She said the attempt to block the investigation will lead to closer scrutiny of how Palin and her administration's stories have changed.
    "Go back and compare all the statements of everybody in charge: 'We'll be happy to testify, we don't need any subpoenas, we don't have anything to hide.' Now the implication is, 'We have something to hide,'" Green said.
    Troopergate probe appears to be unraveling
    I'm not shocked by this at all. Figures.

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    I heard on the news that there is evidence that backs her that she did nothing wrong..They have emails from her that prove that she followed through with what what she said..More will be revealed but if she is innocent then shame on those that are trying to bring her down with this..
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupcake View Post
    I heard on the news that there is evidence that backs her that she did nothing wrong..They have emails from her that prove that she followed through with what what she said..More will be revealed but if she is innocent then shame on those that are trying to bring her down with this..
    You have to consider this, though. If Palin is completely innocent then why all the stall tactics from both she and her staff, and why are so many people refusing to testify?

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupcake View Post
    I heard on the news that there is evidence that backs her that she did nothing wrong..They have emails from her that prove that she followed through with what what she said..More will be revealed but if she is innocent then shame on those that are trying to bring her down with this..
    Really? Where did you hear that? That completely contradicts one of the phone calls that was made public between a member of Palin's staff and the state trooper organization and many other articles published prior to Palin becoming McCain's VP candidate.

    But perhaps you should take note of this article:
    Palin Contradicts Palin on Troopergate Explanation

    As part of an effort to beat back the investigation into whether Governor Sarah Palin fired Alaska's public safety directory Walt Monegan because he refused to dismiss a state trooper involved in an ugly divorce with her sister, Palin's attorney filed papers on Monday claiming that Palin fired Monegan because of his "outright insubordination" regarding policy and budgetary matters. The problem with this explanation: it directly contradicts Palin's own story.

    In mid-August, Palin spoke with New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch, who was in Alaska--prior to Palin being named John McCain's running-mate--to do a piece on "the peculiar political landscape" of the state. During his time there, the controversy regarding Monegan's dismissal was in the news in Alaska. And Gourevitch asked Palin about it:
    [Palin] said that one of her goals had been to combat alcohol abuse in rural Alaska, and she blamed Commissioner Monegan for failing to address the problem. That, she said, was a big reason that she'd let him go--only, by her account, she didn't fire him, exactly. Rather, she asked him to drop everything else and single-mindedly take on the state's drinking problem, as the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. “It was a job that was open, commensurate in salary pretty much--ten thousand dollars less”--but, she added, Monegan hadn't wanted the job, so he left state service; he quit.
    In Palin's telling--before any of this was of national interest--Monegan's departure from the post had nothing to do with Troopergate and, in fact, he hadn't even been fired. She had asked him to switch jobs; he had left state employment on his own accord.

    Yet on Monday, the Palin side offered a much different tale. In a 19-page brief, Palin's lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, contended that Monegan, while public safety commissioner, engaged in "an escalating pattern of insubordination on budget and other key policy issues." Van Flein claimed Monegan had gone behind Palin's back to work with state Senator Hollis French, a Democrat who is now leading the Troopergate investigation, on the budget for his department. And Van Flein maintained that Monegan's "firing"--note the use of that word--came after Monegan planned a trip to Washington, DC, to seek funds for a project to combat sexual assault, an initiative that had not yet been approved by Palin.

    Responding to Van Flein's brief, Monegan said he has provided records to the Troopergate investigator, Steve Branchflower, about his tenure as commissioner, and he has continued to claim he was ousted by Palin because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law.

    It is hard to square Palin's mid-August explanation with the recent brief. Talking to Gourevitch, she suggested Monegan had not really been fired; the brief says he had. She said she wanted Monegan to take on a top-priority in another job; the brief says he was an insubordinate employee who could not be trusted. Would you give such a fellow another important job?

    This is not the first Palin contradiction in this episode. She initially vowed to cooperate with the investigation. But after state legislators last week voted to issue 13 subpoenas in the case--including one for Palin's husband, Todd--the McCain-Palin campaign on Monday said the investigation was "tainted" and Palin was "unlikely to cooperate with it." (The subpoenas covered many top Palin aides, as well as the head of a company that handles worker's compensation claims for the state. Branchflower told the legislators he had preliminary evidence that a Palin aide had pushed to cut off benefits to Palin's ex-brother-in-law, Mike Wooten.)

    Palin supporters are now dismissing the inquiry as a politicized probe. (Her lawyer has asked that the inquiry be conducted by a personnel board that is controlled by the governor.) And a family matter that became a state matter is now a national matter, with spinners and lawyers trying to influence the outcome, and the McCain-Palin campaign looking to kill the legislative investigation. In the days after Palin became the Republican Party's nominee for vice president, it was unclear how Troopergate might affect the GOP ticket. Did the McCain-Palin campaign really have much to worry about? Given Palin's conflicting explanations of Monegan's dismissal, there's now more reason to believe she does have cause for concern.

    MotherJones Blog: Palin Contradicts Palin on Troopergate Explanation

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    Quote Originally Posted by cupcake View Post
    .More will be revealed but if she is innocent then shame on those that are trying to bring her down with this..
    If she is innocent then shame on HER for not disclosing all the information and getting this out of the way. If she has nothing to hide, why is she trying so hard to hide it? Why refuse to cooperate? Why pressure people into ignoring subpoenas? How is asking for proof "trying to bring her down"?
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    ^Just had to let you know I think your avatar is hysterical!
    Last edited by HWBL; September 18th, 2008 at 06:14 AM.
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    I heard or read somewhere (not sure which) that they're not opposed to the investigation per se, but just don't think it's important to do before the election.

    Which makes no sense to me, because if you have no worries about it, then it would seem that you would WANT it resolved before the election so you don't have that question hanging on your back the whole time. The only reason I can see for stalling it is that there is something there that they don't want to come out to cloud people's perception of her.

    Personally, I usually haven't ever wanted to stall anything that would vindicate me or my position. Especially when my character or reputation has been at stake. "Hey, you think I'm a liar and a cheat? And I have evidence to the contrary? And you're telling the whole world your thoughts on me when I have proof otherwise? Yeah, let's just let this thing sit on the shelf for a few months." NOT!

    Maybe that's just me though?
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