Palin’s Power Trip – The Plot Thickens

19 07 2008

Break out the hip waders.  The mud storm over the Governor’s mysterious termination of Walt Monegan continues, with no signs of letting up.  The more we learn, the smarmier it gets.

Recall yesterday, when Governor Sarah Palin released a statement that included the following:

To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous.

Well, newly ex-commissioner Walt Monegan has spilled the beans, stating “They can’t fire me twice.”  According to the Anchorage Daily News, Monegan says he was pressured to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, a cop of questionable character, and ex-husband of Palin’s sister Molly.  Ugly divorces are nasty, but ugly child custody battles are nastier.  Ask anyone who’s had the misfortune of being involved in one, or knowing someone who has.  We Alaskans are now privy to more information than we ever needed or wanted to know about Mike & Molly and the divorce from Hell.  It’s all out there in black & white – Drunk driving, foul language, illegal moose hunting, extramarital affair, neighbors peeking in windows, private investigators, death threats, snowmachining on sick days, verbal abuse, and yes, dry tasering an 11-year old so he could see what it felt like. 

But the real issue at hand is:  Did Palin fire Walt Monegan because he refused to can Trooper Wooten, and settle an old personal Palin family score?

She says no.  He says maybe.  Discuss.

According to Walt Monegan, in addition to discussions with Palin herself, he was pressured by Palin’s former chief-of-staff (and current campaign manager for Sen. Ted Stevens) Mike Tibbles, Department of Administration Commissioner Annette Kreitzer, and director of boards and commissions Frank Bailey.  And what did these three have to say?  The classic trifecta:  No comment.  It never happened.  I don’t recall.

‘First Dude’ Todd Palin, who admitted having a conversation about Wooten with Monegan right after he was hired said, “I know I’ve never told him to fire Wooten.”  So….does Todd Palin actually have the power to ‘tell’ or ‘not tell’ the Commissioner of Public Safety to do ANYthing?  Disturbing also is the fact that this meeting with Monegan took place in the Governor’s office.  So, although it wasn’t “telling”, it sure sounds like “pressuring”, especially in light of the fact that calls, complaints and coversations had been occuring from the point of his hire until a month or two before his unexplained termination.

Let’s go back and parse the Governor’s statement.

To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous.

This gets back to the telling vs. pressuring point.  No one may have “directed” that Wooten be fired, but there’s a lot of grey area, and plenty of room for inappropriate behavior on the part of the Governor, her husband, and her staff.  They march on a slippery slope.

And if, as reported, material from Wooten’s confidential Administrative Investigation file is now in the hands of Palin’s sister Molly McCann and her attorney, wouldn’t that mean, contrary to the Governor’s statement, that a member of her family DID receive confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper?  So far, no one can imagine how that can possibly have happened (blink blink).  We wait for the next leak.

Speaking of parsing words… Monegan’s replacement, Chuck Kopp, answering questions about a sexual harrassment charge in his past says (my emphasis),  “There is absolutely nothing in my record that I’m ashamed of.”   Stay tuned.


Actions

Information

9 responses

19 07 2008
Ted

The Monegan matter is quickly resolving itself to the benefit of Palin who will come out of this “smelling like a rose”, with, what is, a net plus, and looking better than ever.

I just wish McCain would name Palin Veep already, so the real fun could begin!

19 07 2008
akmuckraker

Well, Ted, I smell something….but it’s definitely NOT a rose.

23 07 2008
John Neville

So, the governor has a problem with a Trooper who shot his kid with a Taser? Or a problem with a manager who made the determination that the Trooper who shot his kid with the Taser would not be prosecuted, or even disciplined, beyond the minimal “days off without pay”.

If you or I had shot our kid with a taser, even by “accident”, we would be in jail. We would probably come out of our Grand Jury hearing with an indictment for assault with a deadly weapon, assault in the first degree, and reckless endangerment for the sweetener. Any explanation at this point that it was a demonstration of the effectiveness of the Taser would be taken as an admission of guilt and would be reenacted at our trial. The Judge would probably set bail in the neighborhood of $100,000 cash only, with a third party custodian who had better be the Pope, or Walt Monegan.

We might be able to work a plea bargain with the DA for a lesser charge and they would probably drop the reckless endangerment charge, but would leave the assault with a deadly weapon intact and reduce the assault in the first degree to assault in the second degree, if we were very fortunate. To get a deal like this we would have to agree to waive a trial, plead guilty to the set of charges as specified and accept a sentencing deal that would incarcerate us for a number of years.

If we decided to go to trial, we would face a jury of unsympathetic people who want to get back to their lives as soon as possible, they are not inclined to listen to explanations that we might try to make that it was a “mistake” or that we shot the kid to show him what it feels like to be Tasered. The part where we told the Police that we were just trying to show the kid what it feels like to be tasered would be brought up to show that when confronted by the evidence, we confessed our guilt. If we discussed with the kid our motivation to show him what it felt like to be tasered, they would tell the jury that the telling demonstrated “…intent, no matter how brief”, which is the new legal standard. The District Attorney would tell them that any protestations we might make at the end of the trial that you were remorseful were self serving and insincere, and that they should not believe us. They would then go into a room and look at the clock until it was time to go home. Our guilt or innocence would be decided by vote or popularity contest, probably in the first 15 minutes of the “deliberations”, and the jury would be on their way home before 4:00 PM.

By the time we got out of jail, many years from now, we would have been ridiculed and vilified in the press, lost our career, reputation, and family, and have paid bales of money to the State of Alaska for fines, surcharges, costs and whatever. Not to mention the Court ordered and OCS enforced mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, parenting classes and personal counseling, if we ever wanted to be permitted to see our kids again. No mention would ever be made of custody. Then there would be costs associated with the hire of an Attorney and an Investigator for our defense. Our family would have gotten to see us on TV, hear about us from friends and neighbors at home and at school and would have been able to read about our life and our crime in the morning paper. If we were real unlucky we might even rate an Editorial from the Daily News, expounding on how guilty we were and recommending the maximum sentence.

And God help us if we ever owned a gun or looked at Porn on the computer.

Our family would probably never hear our side of the story, or if they did, would be told by the DA to not believe us and that cooperation with our defense would be at the peril of losing custody of the children.

I am sorry if it was this situation alone that caused the Governor to offer Chief Monegan a different post. He is a good man and an honest one. It isn’t possible to discern what drove the governors decision. But there are rules that apply to all who hold jobs like Chief Monegan’s, first and foremost; we serve at the pleasure of the governor. Second; avoid the appearance of impropriety. Third; Pay attention to the boss. Don’t assume that you can give her a bad answer or no answer when she has a “need to know”, and a demonstrated understanding of the facts.

I have a great deal of respect for the governor too. She seems honest, capable and forthright. I don’t believe that she would allow personal circumstances to cloud or influence her judgment . I think that she holds the truth in very high regard, and if she comes to believe that she is not being told all of the details, or if those details are at odds with information received from a source she trusts, she will take whatever steps she feels are necessary to redeem the situation. If she believed that the Trooper had committed an act that might otherwise be considered a crime (or a number of crimes), then, she has an obligation as the chief law enforcement officer in the state to investigate it or to direct her Commissioner of Public Safety to investigate it. If the story she heard back from the Commissioner was at odds with the story told by witnesses, she not only has the right to question it, she has a duty. It is the “reasonable man” theory, the measure that most of us try to use in our daily lives, and if what we hear from outside sources outrages the reasonable man and no answer is forthcoming nor is anyone held accountable, then answers must be sought. If she perceived a reluctance to proceed or an over-reliance on the Troopers investigation and findings, a closed mind or an inclination to treat a Trooper differently than any other citizen, then I think that the governor has to step to the next level, which in this case appears to be replacement.

Most of the time, when we hear of circumstances like this, we do not hear all of the facts. There is no way to comment, no way to involve ourselves in the justice process. And that is probably a good thing. However, when these kinds of issues come to light inside the family of an elected official, it becomes very difficult to ignore the facts. And if the facts of the Taser incident are true and the Trooper was disciplined by his command, the difference in scale between what a citizen would experience and what the Trooper did experience smacks of special handling, favoritism and to this eye corruption (with a small “c”). Most of us, as reasonable people, can agree that it would probably be extra risky to shoot our kid with a Taser, spray him down with pepper spray, or beat on him with a Monadnock or an ASP. We all agree that to do so, even in “fun”, or to show him what it felt like would probably go very badly and we would end up in the clink (see above).

24 07 2008
Syrin

Ted- Katcha KLOO, Palin is a fool, abusive and incompentent. Everything she touches becomes all mucked up. Do you not have elected fools of your own? Get a life, support someone worthy to be praised!
Just to add to the pre concieved notion that Sarah and Todd have been on a power trip for a while. Todd without authority from anyone, solicited a BP/DOT pipeline specialist for info on a 3.5B pipeline on behalf of the state of Alaska. . However, this pipeline is owned by the producers not the Ak government.

24 07 2008
Syrin

Todd Palin- Title Not Yet Determined

For CD of parody songs, Mugs, t-shirts, buttons and bumper sticker (Don’t Blame Me- I Didn’t Vote for Her)
NO MORE PA_IN

24 07 2008
John Neville

What is “dry tasering”? If you point an empty gun, or a toy gun at somebody in this state its Assault with a Deadly Weapon… Try it and watch yourself go to jail.

12 08 2008
Patrick Parrish

Rather Wooten is a good or bad trooper is not the issue. His case was investigated a punishment was set out and the matter settled. 2 years later when Palin is in power she tries to get some pay back and she uses her office to get some revenge. That is not ethical not is it legal and she is going to go down for this.

12 08 2008
Patrick Parrish

Its not dry tasering its drive stunning. Its a contact stun and its not really that painfull. As a police officer I have had it done to me in training several times. No you would not go to jail if you did what Wooten did under the same circumstances. A taser is also not a deadly weapon it is a less lethal self defense tool.

Palin is anything but honest and forth wright and this incident proves it. I am proud to say I voted for the other guy.

29 08 2008
gumbone

Taken from
http://www.politicalcortex.com/story/2008/8/29/172528/983
Campaign 2008: Palin VP Selection Reveals McCain as “Clueless”
By Bill Hare
08/29/2008 05:25:28 PM EST

Meanwhile an ongoing investigation into Governor Palin’s firing of Walter Monegan as Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety holds potential repercussions for the Republican ticket. Palin has been charged with an “abuse of power” by firing Monegan for failure to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten.

Palin denies the charge. Wooten had been involved in an ongoing conflict with Palin’s family surrounding a divorce and custody battle with Palin’s sister. Wooten was suspended for 10 days for a variety of charges, including death threats against Palin’s father, tasering his stepson, and violating state game laws. After a union protest the penalty was reduced to 5 days.

This goes with the fight against the “good O’boys” speeach thing. Hey a crupt cop needs to get fired. No wonder cops do not get respect, they are not respectable.
Also falls in line withe the less government theme.




%d bloggers like this: