Think waaaay back to November 3rd…I know it seems like a lifetime ago, and another era. In many respects it was another era. The 2008 election will go down in history, and we were all there, drinking it in as it happened. Nobody feels like looking backward. And that’s just what those who released the report from the Personnel Board’s investigation into Palin’s ethical conduct in the Troopergate scandal are counting on. Their report is old news. It’s sooooo pre-election. Let’s just move along…nothing to see here.
You’ll recall that Palin initiated this investigation of herself, into her own actions, by a board that reports to her, and whom she can fire…..and the report found her innocent! This report conflicts with the ‘other’ investigation by the Alaska State Legislature’s bipartisan Legislative Council. They found her guilty of violating the state executive ethics act. I remember this well, as the giant green bound copy of that report has been sitting on my desk since October 10th. Here’s the exact wording:
Finding Number One: For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides”
“The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.”
The not-so-coincidental timing that released the Personnel Board’s contrary “Palin is innocent” finding on November 3rd, meant that headlines on election day in Alaska and elsewhere proclaimed Palin’s exoneration of wrongdoing. How very beneficial for her.
So now that election day is past, it’s time to revisit that slippery little event that snuck past us right before the election.
There’s a lot to cover, and these two Troopergate reports contradict each other in multiple ways. So, rather than to overload our poor brains that are still recovering from the frenzy of the election season, let’s just look at one for now.
The question at hand: Did Palin, and/or her staff inappropriately apply pressure to then Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan to fire her ex-brother-in-law Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten? And was the reason that Monegan subsequently lost his job at least in part because he didn’t fire Wooten?
Commissioner Monegan testified under oath that the Governor called him in January 2007 to talk about Trooper Wooten.
Sarah Palin denied, under oath, that the conversation occurred.
<<<LOUD FIRE ALARM SOUND>>>
One doesn’t need to be a great legal mind to realize that if two people are questioned about the same thing, and both are under oath, and each one contradicts the other one….then….somebody is lying. And when you lie under oath, that’s known as perjury. And perjury is a crime. (ominous chord played on giant pipe organ)
Furthermore, although Todd Palin acknowledges talking to Monegan about Trooper Wooten, he states, and Governor Palin concurs that she had no knowledge of this. And Petumenos tells us if the Governor says it, and her husband says it, then that’s good enough for him. Case closed.
Only one problem. There’s the matter of a little email to one Commissioner Monegan. It is dated February 7, 2007, shortly after that aforementioned phone call that did, or didn’t happen, depending on who you believe. In this email, Palin states to Monegan”
“I know you know I’ve experienced a lot of frustration with this issue. I know Todd’s even expressed to you a lot of concern about our family’s safety…”
Hmmmm. So…if we believe the Governor about not talking to Monegan about the Wooten issue, then how does she know that Monegan knows….and if she didn’t know about Todd talking to Monegan, then how does she know that Todd has expressed concern to Monegan.
<<<<ANOTHER FIRE ALARM SOUND>>>>
One of the options that could have been exercised by the Personnel Board is that after the investigation, they had discovered “probable cause” to believe that there may have been a violation of the State Executive Branch Ethics Act. This acknowledgment would have resulted in further investigation to determine if any violation had occured. One would think that the above situation would be enough to indicate “probable cause.”
Not so, says independent investigator Tim Petumenos. As a matter of fact, the report completely ignored the email. (Mental picture of Tim Petumenos sticking his fingers in his ears going LALALALALALALA!)
With all these alarm bells going off, you’d think someone would be paying attention. And this is only scratching the surface. Stay tuned.