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Sunday, August 31, 2008

[Palin's Troopergate] Is Abuse of Power "a Governor's Perogative"?


...[Republican pick for Vice President slot, Alaska Governor Sarah] Palin initially denied that she or anyone in her administration had ever pressured [Top Cop of the State Police, Walter] Monegan to fire [Palin's former brother in-law, State Trooper Mike] Wooten... But this summer, Palin acknowledged that a half-dozen members of her administration had made more than two dozen calls on the matter to various state officials...

News Report On Palin Troopergate Scandal
Aug 29, 2008

Palin says "it IS a Governor's Perogative"
(& she asks what does a VP actually DO?)

Aug 1, 2008

Alaska Pride blog posts on Palin's Troopergate here.

Palin Focus of Probe In Police Chief's Firing
Her Family Wanted a Trooper Dismissed, He Says

The Washington Post
By James V. Grimaldi and Kimberly Kindy
Saturday, August 30, 2008; A11
[Excerpts] Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is an ethics reformer under an ethics investigation that is plowing through private domestic matters. Palin is under investigation to determine whether she pressured and then fired the state police chief in July because he refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law. At the time, the governor's younger sister was involved in a bitter divorce and child custody dispute with the man, a state trooper. A bipartisan committee of the state legislature voted unanimously to hire a retired prosecutor to investigate. His report is due in October. The firing of state Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan has unearthed a stream of private details about the governor, her husband and her family. The state probe is also focusing on a half-dozen top state officials accused of trying to drive trooper Mike Wooten from the force. Critics say the episode -- dubbed Troopergate in Alaska -- cuts against Palin's reputation as an ethics crusader who holds even her own party accountable... The domestic dispute entered the public arena when the governor's sister filed for divorce from Wooten on April 11, 2005. The same day, the governor's father, Chuck Heath, contacted state police with several allegations against Wooten: using a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson; shooting a moose without a permit; and drinking beer while driving a patrol car. Eighteen months later, Sarah Palin became Alaska's first female governor. Gov. Palin's husband, Todd Palin, met with Monegan in January 2007, a month after his wife took office, to say that the trooper was unfit for the force. Monegan also said the governor sent him e-mails, but Monegan declined to disclose them, saying he planned to give them to the independent prosecutor. Palin initially denied that she or anyone in her administration had ever pressured Monegan to fire Wooten. She said she had raised the matter with Monegan just once, relaying the allegation that Wooten made a death threat against her father. But this summer, Palin acknowledged that a half-dozen members of her administration had made more than two dozen calls on the matter to various state officials... Monegan said Todd Palin told him that Wooten "shouldn't be a trooper." "I've tried to explain to him," Monegan said, "'You can't head-hunt like this. What you need to do is back off, because if the trooper does make a mistake, and it is a terminable offense, it can look like political interference.' I think he's emotionally committed in trying to see that his former brother-in-law is punished." Monegan said he was also contacted by three other Palin-appointed officials, including the attorney general, regarding the trooper. Each time, he said, he told the administration officials that he would keep an eye on the trooper, but that unless he violated a rule, nothing could be done. In a TV interview in July, Todd Palin confirmed that he had talked with Monegan but said he was just "informing," not pressuring. At a news conference Aug. 13, the governor said, "I do now have to tell Alaskans that such pressure could have been perceived to exist, although I have only now become aware of it"... John Cyr, chief of the troopers' union, said he was "shocked and disappointed" at McCain's selection of Palin. "It goes well beyond the fact that she is under a cloud of ethics investigations. She's fired the only commissioner who dared to stand up and say we need to do more to make Alaska safe." Palin's chief of staff fired Monegan on July 11, telling him Palin wanted "to go in another direction," Monegan said... [Full article here]


  1. Palin embroiled in Alaska firing probe
    James V. Grimaldi,Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post
    SanFrancisco Chronicle
    Monday, September 1, 2008

    For the past several years, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, has been embroiled in a bitter family feud that has drawn in the state police, the attorney general, the governor's office and the state Legislature.

    A bipartisan state legislative panel has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate whether Palin improperly brought the family fight into the governor's office. The investigation is focusing on whether she and her aides pressured and ultimately fired the public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan, for not removing Palin's ex-brother-in-law from the state police force.

    Palin has said she did not pressure Monegan or fire him for not taking action against her former brother-in-law. A spokesman for Sen. John McCain's campaign, who asked not to be identified because the matter is under investigation, said Palin's actions were merely intended to alert Monegan about potential threats to her family from her sister's ex-husband, Mike Wooten.

    Interviews with principals involved in the dispute and a review of court documents and police internal affairs reports reveal that Palin has been deeply involved in alerting state officials to her family's personal turmoil.

    Overheard threats

    The trouble between Wooten and the governor's sister broke into the open in January 2005. That month, Wooten attended a trooper-sponsored event in Idaho with a married woman, according to an e-mail Sarah Palin later wrote to the chief of the state police.

    A month later, when Palin's sister, who uses her previous married name of Molly McCann, confronted Wooten, he threatened to kill her father, Sarah Palin alleged in the e-mail, saying she overhead the threat on a speakerphone.

    "Wooten's words were, 'I will kill him. He'll eat a (expletive) lead bullet, I'll shoot him,' if our father got the attorney to help Molly," Palin said. "I heard this death threat, my 16-year-old son heard it (Track Palin), Molly heard it, as did their small children. Wooten spoke with his trooper gun on his hip in an extremely intimidating fashion, leaving no doubt he is serious about taking someone's life who disagrees with him."

    There is no record of police charging Wooten for the alleged threat. Through his attorney, Wooten declined to comment for this article.

    On the day that the governor's younger sister filed for divorce - April 11, 2005 - Palin's father, Chuck Heath, called state police to file a complaint about Wooten. He handed the phone to his daughter Molly, who told state police that her husband had threatened her father's life, shot a "cow moose" without a license, Tasered his 10-year-old stepson and drank beer while driving his police vehicle home.

    An angry e-mail

    A month later, Palin, then chairing the state oil and gas commission, was interviewed by a state police investigator. She told him about the speakerphone incident. Fearful for the lives of her sister and her father, Palin said she drove to her sister's house and watched the argument through a window. She said she thought, "He is gonna blow it." She left for a meeting without calling police.

    On Aug. 10, 2005, Palin sent an angry, three-page e-mail to Col. Julia Grimes, head of the state police: "My concern is that the public's faith in the trooper will continue to diminish as more residents express concerns regarding the apparent lack of action towards a trooper whom is described by many as 'a ticking time bomb' and a 'loose cannon.' "

    The divorce went to trial in the fall of 2005 while the state police internal investigation was pending. Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock reviewed the complaints filed by Palin and her family. At trial on Oct. 27, 2005, the judge expressed puzzlement about why the family was trying to get Wooten fired, since depriving the trooper of a job would harm his ability to pay family support to Palin's sister.

    On March 1, 2006, Grimes sustained the allegations, saying, "The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession." Wooten was suspended for five days.

    That fall, in a surprise, Palin defeated Gov. Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary and went on to win the general election. She took office in December 2006 and appointed Monegan, who had just retired as Anchorage police chief after five years, to be public safety commissioner, a Cabinet position.

    In January 2007, Palin's husband, Todd, invited Monegan to the governor's office. Todd Palin asked him to look into the Wooten matter. Monegan did and later told Todd Palin there was nothing he could do because the matter was closed.

    Sarah Palin called Monegan a few days later, and he told her the same thing, he told the Washington Post. She brought it up again in February 2007 in the state capitol building and Monegan warned her to stay at arm's length.

    Telephone inquiries
    Monegan said he also got telephone calls from three Palin appointees, including her then-chief of staff, Mike Tibbles; Commissioner Annette Kreitzer of the Department of Administration and Attorney General Talis Colberg.

    Colberg said at a news conference this year that he called after Todd Palin asked him about "the process" for when state troopers make death threats against the first family.

    "I made an inquiry and was told by Commissioner Monegan that there was a process in place and that it was handled and it was over. And I reported back to the first gentleman that there was nothing more that could be done," Colberg said.

    With each of the calls, Monegan became more concerned and warned each caller about exposing the state to litigation from Wooten.

    Meanwhile, Todd Palin continued to collect evidence against his former brother-in-law and lobbied for his dismissal, records and interviews show. In April 2007, he told the Anchorage Daily News that he met just once with Wooten's boss, Col. Audie Holloway, to give her pictures of Wooten driving a snowmobile when he was out on a worker's compensation claim.

    Investigations begin
    In July, Palin's chief of staff told Monegan he was being fired because the governor wanted to "go in a different direction," Monegan said.

    Monegan went public, saying that his firing was connected to his failure to remove Wooten. The state legislature launched its investigation, and the governor asked the attorney general's office to conduct an internal investigation.

    Alaska Deputy Attorney General Michael Barnhill said that the review, made public two weeks ago, found that half a dozen officials had made about two dozen phone calls regarding Wooten. But only one call was determined to be improper, a tape-recorded conversation between Palin's chief of boards and commissions, Frank Bailey, to a police lieutenant.

    In the call, Bailey said, "Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, 'Why on earth hasn't this, why is this guy still representing the department?' "

    Palin suspended Bailey with pay, saying she knew nothing about the call. Palin still faces the review by the legislature. Democratic state Sen. Hollis French said that Republicans and Democrats authorized the hiring of a former prosecutor to determine whether Palin "used her public office to settle a private score." The legislative report is due in October.

    This article appeared on page A - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle


  2. Sarah Palin mother of four, grandmother of one? New allegations
    People News
    By Stone Martindale Aug 31, 2008, 23:31 GMT
    [Excerpts] Percolating out in the political blogosphere is the latest allegation that GOP vice presidential pick Gov. Sarah Palin is not the mother of five, and that her daughter Bristol birthed Trig, the young baby with Down Syndrome. Daily Kos.com alleges that her legacy in public office is "filled with multiple instances of backtracking and outright lies. While Alaskans had been giving her an 80% approval rating, recently 87% of Alaskans polled on the subject of TrooperGate believed she was lying." The website further charges that her baby is her grandchild. "Trig Paxson Van Palin is not your son. He is your grandson. The sooner you come forward with this revelation to the public, the better." writes The Daily Kos... The website shows pictures of Palin in the last trimester of her pregnancy, and alongside her daughter in some shots where it looks very much like the teenager is pregnant... It was her labor in Texas and the subsequent handling of delivering the baby that the Daily Kos also found suspicious... As for Bristol? Daily Kos writes: "... reporters were given word that her family had taken Bristol out of school due to contracting infectious mononucleosis. The amount of time Bristol was absent shifts from five to eight months. Mono can last anywhere from two weeks to three months, but an eight month infection is a freak oddity. Yet it remains a common excuse given by girls in private & Catholic schools around the nation when pregnancy comes into play. Not the first time, not the last time."


    Secret's out: Palin pregnant
    SEVEN MONTHS ALONG: Even her staff was unaware that the first family was expecting a fifth child.
    The Anchorage Daily News
    Published: March 6th, 2008 12:02 AM
    Last Modified: March 6th, 2008 03:38 PM
    ...Palin said she's already about seven months along, with the baby due to arrive in mid-May. That the pregnancy is so advanced astonished all who heard the news. The governor, a runner who's always been trim, simply doesn't look pregnant. Even close members of her staff said they only learned this week their boss was expecting. "I thought it was becoming obvious," Palin said. "You know, clothes getting snugger and snugger." But people just couldn't believe the news. "Really? No!" said Bethel state Rep. Mary Nelson, who is close to giving birth herself. "It's wonderful. She's very well-disguised," said Senate President Lyda Green, a mother of three who has sometimes sparred with Palin politically. "When I was five months pregnant, there was absolutely no question that I was with child"... With Palin riding extraordinarily high popularity ratings, pundits have mentioned her as a potential vice presidential candidate. But she said Wednesday night she's "not pursuing or perpetuating it," adding, "I have no desire to leave my job at all as governor"... "To any critics who say a woman can't think and work and carry a baby at the same time, I'd just like to escort that Neanderthal back to the cave," Palin said...


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