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Alaska Trooper Inquiry Report Scheduled for Release Today

This Jan. 28, 2008 file picture shows Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan in Anchorage, Alaska. (Al Grillo/Associated Press)

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.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 10, 2008; 5:19 PM ET
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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Next: McCain Campaign Calls for Investigation of ACORN-Obama Ties


Look, McCain staff gambled and lost on a person who was too ambitious. Alaska is Republican. Republican's rendered justice on their own since they were in the majority. Palin's husband was a member of a anti-American secessionist movement and she cavorted with same. This is the truth. You can choose to be in denial but the awful truth is that we let Mr. Bush throw our party under the train. We did! Karma is a *itch.

Posted by: edtechlab | October 10, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

By the way, those who watch FOX and listen to certain rightwing radio broadcasts would never hear the "real" news. It has been in the main stream media for a month or more.

Posted by: EarlC | October 10, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

10 republicans, 4 democrats. she lied about why she fired the guy, she fired him for personal reasons, and she let her husband use the resources of her office, which was also illegal.

so her campaign as an ethical, new politician is exposed as a fraud. she's an old school ruthless political hack who uses power for personal reasons

let them try to paint a 10 republican 4 democrat report as a democratic witchunt. oh, wait, wasn't Palin supposed to have been protected against witchcraft by her pastor? guess not.

Posted by: JoeT1 | October 10, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Palin is being investigated by an independent investigator, hired by a unanimous vote of a bipartisan committee of the Alaska Legislature,[7] "to investigate the circumstances … surrounding [Monegan's termination], and potential abuses of power and/or improper actions by members of the executive branch."

The Alaska Legislative Council is a bipartisan body of state House and Senate members who can convene to make decisions when the full Legislature is not in session.[58] As of July 2008 it was made up of four Democrats and eight Republicans.[57] On July 28, 2008, the Legislative Council voted 12-0 to hire an independent investigator to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power or improper actions surrounding Monegan's dismissal.[7] A retired state prosecutor, Stephen Branchflower, was named as the investigator.[59] Branchflower was awarded a three-month contract, which began on August 1. In the same unanimous vote, the Council also appointed Sen. French (D), a former state prosecutor, to manage Branchflower.[7] French is Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.[60]

* * * * *

The above information answers some questions on this blog. This information has been out there for all who were interested shortly after Palin was picked by McCain.

Posted by: EarlC | October 10, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

It's been released, she's guilty, now where is the big headlines that the Ayers story gets without any proof.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | October 10, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Palin abused her powers. The report is in. Nineteen phone calls by her, her husband, or other staff indicate pressure to fire former brother-in-law.

McCain picked as his running mate a person who has the same Cheney tendencies: abuse of power.

Posted by: EarlC | October 10, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Report: Palin abused authority
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | 10/10/08 8:26 PM

A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state's public safety commissioner.

The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn't the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor.

The Republican vice presidential nominee has been accused of firing a commissioner to settle a family dispute. Palin supporters have called the investigation politically motivated.

Monegan says he was dismissed as retribution for resisting pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute

Posted by: valskeet | October 10, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Here is a link to the actual report.

Posted by: plaza04433 | October 10, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

this is rich. Palin attacks the report because they didn't talk to her, after she refused to talk to the investigator. it won't work

it's bipartisan, unimpeachable, the facts are perfectly clear. she fired a guy because he wouldn't fire her brother in law (the denials were always pathetic) which is illegal. period. so much for being the ethical authority

Posted by: JoeT1 | October 10, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Alaska Legislature says Palin unlawfully abused her power and that "Palin violated the public trust."

Why am I not suprised.

Posted by: plaza04433 | October 10, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I kept reading that the committee is bipartisan but I cannot seem to find a list and breakdown of its membership. Can anyone direct me to a place where I can find it?

Posted by: Baenziger99 | October 10, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

They do things a little different up there in the Frozen North, ya know... the line between the personal and the political is pretty thin. Example: Ted Stevens and Don Young. Sarah Palin is firmly in that tradition, much as she'd have you believe she isn't. The only difference: she wants the oil companies to pony up a bigger share for the taxpayers.

it's a weird state. Most importantly, never inquire too closely of a white Alaskan concerning how they or their ancestors came to be Alaskans in the first place.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 10, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

It's beginning to sound as thought the Alaska republicans are seeking to just give her a slap on the wrists on this rather than rebuke the national party's desire to hold Palin in a higher esteem than her REAL character. There is no need to tame the report...none whatsoever. Gov. Palin and her husband are adults. If everyone else has to lie in the bed they've made...are the Alaska republicans, like the national party, suggesting they are above reprimand?

Posted by: ewjazzed | October 10, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world is a presidential candidate - John McCain - getting involved with a state matter?

Hey John, a few minutes on the economy please ...

Posted by: haymarketbill | October 10, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Palin is a McCain campaign fembot programed to spew hate and racism. She is so stupid she doesn't even know she is being used.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | October 10, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of unethical, whining cry babies, the McCain-Palin campaign has worked to suppress the investigation, and they claim Obama is playing dirty. McCain and Palin are liars and have no right to be calling others unethical, when they are the real problem.

Posted by: jmr862003 | October 10, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

What a tease . . . . . the lead said a report on Palin Ethics.

What ethics?

Posted by: seakayaker | October 10, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Did Palin abuse her Power?

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Palin released her tax returns last week, which revealed that she and her husband underpaid their estimated taxes with an April extension and likely will owe interest. The per diem payments were not included as income in those returns.

A spokeswoman for Palin did not immediately return a telephone call or e-mail. However, the Palins had asked Washington, D.C., lawyer Roger Olsen to review their tax returns before they made them public last week. Olsen, who worked in the Reagan administration's Department of Justice's tax division as an assistant attorney general, wrote that Palin's per diem payments were considered properly as reimbursements that should not be taxed because the state considered Juneau to be her place of business.

"No special consideration was ever given to Governor Palin, notwithstanding that she was the governor of Alaska," Olsen wrote in a three-page letter outlining his review of the family's tax returns.

Per diem is not income pay? I want my money back from the IRS.

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"upporters argued that the report is a politically motivated attempt to damage Palin's image as an ethics reformer."
What was it, 14 Republican and 5 Democrats that voted to investigate this matter in the first place back in July?

The original investigation was to conclude in early Nov. The date was changed to help Palin. If you want the real news on Palin go to (Alaska Daily News) The people in Alaska did not know she was going to be picked as a VP nominee. She changed her story before and after she became nominee. I can see why she hides from the press. Everytime she opens her mouth...well you know the rest.

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Is the McCain-Palin campaign a shadow government whose power surpasses that of the Alaska State government? I do not understand how McCain-Palin political campaign operatives can craft an official written exoneration of their candidate for VP, genuinely expecting the government of the State of Alaska and the people of the United States of America to swallow that particular rotten apple whole. But then, maybe I am just politically, ethically, and morally naive, one of those fools who actually believes in “country first.”

Posted by: dmd208 | October 10, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Palin is unAmerican and not qualified to be VP she supports a secessionist party that wants to break up the United States, that is Anti-American and Palin is Anti-American. Her husband was recently a member of the Alaskan Independence Party that wants Alaska to separate from the United States and she welcomed them in a video. Palin is unAmerican.

Palin addresses Alaskan Independence Party convention

Posted by: info4 | October 10, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin treats laws and the Constitution (both state and federal) as "mere guidelines" (to quote a line from POTC). She has as little regard for the legislative branch or the judicial process as does Dick Cheney, so it is unlikely that she will respect any findings or honor any subpoenas that result from the inquiries.

After all, she is Goddess Sarah "Joe 6-pack" Prima donna, and is by definition above the law.

Posted by: labman57 | October 10, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Judge: Palin must preserve e-mails on private accounts
Posted by Alaska_Politics

Posted: October 10, 2008 - 12:33 pm

Comments (14) | Recommend (4)

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage

Andree McLeod just stopped by the Legislative offices, after the hearing this morning on her lawsuit against Gov. Sarah Palin and the state.

Looks like McLeod won at least parts of what she’s asking for – to force the governor to retrieve or preserve any e-mails she’s written on private accounts that deal with government business.

She carried a copy of the order signed by Superior Court Judge Craig Stowers.

“Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the office of the governor of Alaska … are ordered to preserve all e-mails (including attachments thereto) sent between December 4, 2006, and the resolution of this litigation…”

But the judge didn’t approve another of McLeod’s requests, which would have forced Palin to stop using private accounts to talk about state business.

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"upporters argued that the report is a politically motivated attempt to damage Palin's image as an ethics reformer."
What was it, 14 Republican and 5 Democrats that voted to investigate this matter in the first place back in July?

Posted by: JRM2 | October 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The evidence against Palim will be much greater than against Obama on Ayers. How do I know? Because I read the inditement against Obama in the National Review and if that is the best there is then there is nothing. Just Todd Palin's statement that he spoke about firing the director three dozen times would be more evidence against Palin than there is in the Ayers matter.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 10, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

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