Alaska Trooper Inquiry Report Scheduled for Release Today
By James V. Grimaldi and Kimberly Kindy
An Alaska legislative committee continued meeting behind closed doors through the afternoon as lawmakers wrangled over an ethics investigation report into allegations that Gov. Sarah Palin breached her duties when she fired a public safety commissioner for failing to oust her former brother-in-law from his state job.
The committee, meeting in Anchorage, is scheduled to vote in open session on the release of the document today.
Even before its release, Republicans sought to soften to blow of the investigative report from causing damage to the GOP presidential ticket of Sen. John McCain. Coming less than four weeks before Election Day, supporters argued that the report is a politically motivated attempt to damage Palin's image as an ethics reformer.
About noon Alaska time -- 4 p.m. Eastern -- the chairman of the legislative committee, Democratic Sen. Kim Elton, poked his head out of the meeting room door and said the report wouldn't be released for at least another hour, according to Jeff Turner, a spokesman in the Senate Majority Leader's office.
Palin is accused of dismissing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, a career law enforcement official, after he rebuffed attempts by Palin, her husband, Todd, and cabinet officials to reopen an internal investigation of Palin's brother-in-law, state Trooper Mike Wooten. Monegan said after he was fired that he believes that comments in conversations and e-mails were an attempt to get him to fire Wooten.
Even before the report was released, the McCain-Palin campaign denounced the investigation as biased. Palin said she did nothing wrong and fired Monegan over budget issues and failure to fill trooper vacancies.
A bipartisan legislative committee unanimously launched the investigation after Monegan said in July he had been pressured by the Palin administration to fire Wooten during his tenure as the chief law enforcement official in the state.
Palin had promised to cooperate with the investigation, but after she was picked by McCain as his running-mate, Palin changed course, saying the investigation was tainted. She refused to answer questions from the former prosecutor hired to investigate whether Palin had abused her position in office.
The McCain campaign issued a 21 page-analysis, along with dozens of e-mails to support their argument that the firing of Monegan was justified due to poor job performance and defended the governor and her husband for complaining about Wooten to Monegan.
The Republican report states that the Palins had "good reason" to raise concerns about Wooten because he has a "long history of unstable and erratic behavior, including drinking beer in his squad car, killing moose illegally, using a taser on his 10-year-old stepson and threatening to kill a member of the Palin family" and that he had made "claims of being above the law due to his trooper status."
John Cyr, the head of the union that represents the state troopers, called the campaign's report about Wooten "patently ridiculous. Those charges date from when he was going through his divorce with the governor's sister."
The campaign dismissed the legislative inquiry, saying the negative conclusions were predetermined. They criticized Democratic Alaska Sen. Hollis French, who managed the independent inquiry, saying he told NBC the investigation's results would be "damaging to the Governor's administration."
The campaign characterized Monegan's firing as a "straightforward personnel decision" that has become "muddied with innuendo, rumor and partisan politics." They said Monegan was removed because of his "insubordination and budgetary clashes with Governor Palin and her administration."
The campaign also attacked the motives of a blogger who first posted a story on July 16 that questioned the governor's motives for firing Monegan.
Andrew Halcro, a former state lawmaker who lost against Palin in the 2006 gubernatorial race, posted an item online after meeting Wooten for drinks at the Sheraton Hotel bar in Anchorage where they had a three-and-a-half hour meeting, the campaign said.
In an interview Friday with The Post, Halcro said he did met with Wooten but drank "club soda" and that he believes subsequent stories by other new outlets have substantiated the claim.
Web Politics Editor
October 10, 2008; 5:19 PM ET
Categories: Sarah Palin
Save & Share: Previous: A Buckley for Obama
Next: McCain Campaign Calls for Investigation of ACORN-Obama Ties
Posted by: edtechlab | October 10, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: EarlC | October 10, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JoeT1 | October 10, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: EarlC | October 10, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hmmmmmer | October 10, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: EarlC | October 10, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: valskeet | October 10, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: plaza04433 | October 10, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JoeT1 | October 10, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: plaza04433 | October 10, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Baenziger99 | October 10, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Samson151 | October 10, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ewjazzed | October 10, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: haymarketbill | October 10, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hmmmmmer | October 10, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jmr862003 | October 10, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: seakayaker | October 10, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dmd208 | October 10, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: info4 | October 10, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: labman57 | October 10, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JRM2 | October 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Gator-ron | October 10, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.