Hey, Alaskans! Sarah Palin Owes Us $8720.

3 12 2008

Another day, another ethics challenge for the Palin administration. This one involves (brace yourselves) failure to disclose free gifts on her financial disclosure forms! Does this sound familiar? If you answered “no”, I invite you to use the search feature located in the sidebar and type the words “Ted Stevens”. You’ll have enough reading material on the subject to keep you busy for a week.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin has added to her financial disclosure forms two free trips that she took nearly two years ago but failed to report. Palin, who was Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, made the disclosures last month, but after Election Day when she and McCain lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The trips were first revealed in a story by The Associated Press in October.

The free trips were taken in April and May of 2007 and should have been reported within 30 days under state ethics law. The Nov. 17 disclosure forms note that the reports were “not filed timely due to administrative error.”

Bill McAllister, the governor’s spokesman, said this week that the mistakes were made by travel support staff. He said he could not explain the timing of when and how they were caught, but that it was irrelevant because the error was corrected.

Palin, who has criticized state lawmakers for gifts they take, is not facing any sanctions for the late filings, according to Linda Perez, state administrative director. Perez said she was alerted to the matter by McCain’s presidential campaign before the Oct. 14 AP story.

“It wasn’t necessarily the governor’s oversight, nor was she trying to hide anything,” Perez said. “It was a staff oversight.”

In one of the trips, the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute of North Carolina — a nonprofit education policy group — paid the $2,827 cost of Palin’s April 2007 flight and hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., to attend a four-day conference, according to her report. The group has said it also paid for other governors attending the annual event in recent years.

In May 2007, Palin accepted lodging for herself and her three daughters at Mt. Chilkoot Lodge in the Southeast Alaska town of Skagway. The lodging, valued at $300, was paid for by the owners, including Palin friend and former deputy campaign treasurer Kathy Hosford.

The reports were among recent disclosures released to the AP after a public records request.

Among other gifts Palin reported last month is a June 30 flight valued at $1,187.50 that was paid by the North Slope Borough for Palin and her 7-year-old daughter, Piper, to attend various functions, including a whaling festival in the town of Barrow.

Palin and husband Todd also received travel, food and lodging valued at $4,620.12 to attend a Republican Governors Association event in Texas, in April — gifts that were not reported until August, according to disclosure forms. Palin and the other governors attending the event also received $1,000 Rocky Carroll cowboy boots.

So, in case you missed it, here’s the timeline:

April 2007 – Trip #1

May 2007 – Deadline for reporting Trip #1

June 2007 – Trip #2

July 2007 – Deadline for reporting Trip #2

September or October 2008 – McCain post-nomination vetting process discovers violation.

October 14, 2008 – Associated Press reports on the trips and Palin’s failure to disclose them.

November 2008 – Palin amends her forms to include the gifts, and blames support staff.

And Bill McAllister, Alaska’s own Dana Perrino, has assured us that none of this matters because once the Associated Press blew the lid off it, she went back and fixed it. So, move along everyone, nothing to see here.

Fascinating.

So, does this mean when the IRS finds out you haven’t disclosed certain things on your tax forms, and you find out that they know, and then you go back with a bottle of white out, that means everything is OK?

And I suppose, Mr. McAllister would say that if you rob a bank, and the police show up at your house, everything is OK as long as you give it back?

Can we assume, then, that since Linda Perez tells us that Palin will not be facing sanctions that there is precedent for overlooking these little mistakes? Maybe others have been allowed to slide with nothing more than a “tsk tsk” from the overseeing financial watchdog agency APOC (the Alaskan Public Offices Commission)?

In an interesting little piece of irony, Democratic Senator Elect Mark Begich recently got in to hot water for….wait for it….failure to properly fill out his financial disclosure forms. A complaint was filed against him by the Republican Party, because…well…they can’t stand people who don’t fill out their financial disclosure forms properly.

Mark Begich, the Democratic challenger for U.S. Senate, will pay a $1,420 fine for failing to properly fill out state financial disclosure forms, a campaign spokeswoman said Monday.

A Begich spokeswoman says he corrected all errors and will pay the fine that reflects $10 a day for each day the report was deemed incomplete. [snip]

“We are pleased to have this matter over,” said campaign spokeswoman Julie Hasquet. “We’ll be paying the fine immediately.”

McHugh Pierre [a spokesman for the Alaska Republican Party] said in a statement that he was pleased with the outcome.

“I am very happy that the commission is holding Mayor Begich accountable for his actions,” Pierre said.

Yes, by all means, McHugh Pierre, APOC should hold people accountable for their actions. Mark Begich did something wrong, APOC sanctioned him, he admitted it and immediately paid a fine of $10 a day. So (getting out calculator) that means that give or take $100…Sarah Palin owes about $8720 in fines according to my calculations. Right? I mean, surely we’re not going to fail to hold someone accountable for their actions, are we??

So, why is state administrative director Linda Perez telling us that the Governor is facing no sanctions? Did she get this information from APOC? Did they decide to give her a free pass? Or is this a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the Governor’s office? Is this a bit of Bill McAllister logic that says if you have a library book out past the due date and you accrue a big fine, that as long as you bring the book back, and as long as you are a Republican, you don’t have to pay? I’d be interested to find that out.

And in the meantime, Alaskans for Truth can add something else to their growing list of things for which to hold Sarah Palin accountable.

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Sarah Palin’s Ethics Problems Keep Getting Bigger.

19 11 2008

Many Alaskans have been privately simmering over the ethics and antics of our now world famous Governor.  While she has been off skipping across the land, and seeing how many hours of air time she can manage, there have been busy people back on the Last Frontier, with forms, ballpoint pens, and moral outrage busy at work.

It’s time to start keeping track of ethics complaints against Sarah Palin.  First, obviously, is the one regarding Troopergate for which she has already been found to be in violation of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act for allowing the inappropriate pressuring of Walt Monegan to fire her ex-brother-in-law, whose case had already been reviewed and dealt with by a previous administration.

Regarding this ethics issue, we are now in an uneasy holding pattern, waiting to find out what the Legislature will do about this finding.  I say “uneasy” because several high-profile Democratic Legislators have started sounding sort of warm and fuzzy, and talking about “moving on”….(faint strains of Kumbayah are heard in the distance)…  Stay tuned for more information on that front.

So that’s one ethics violation.

Now, for the other ethics complaints.

#1 – Frank Gwartney

Frank Gwartney, a retired lineman here in Anchorage filed a complaint based on the following statute in the Executive Branch Ethics Act:


Sec. 39.52.120. Misuse of official position

(a) A public officer may not use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain, and may not intentionally secure or grant unwarranted benefits or treatment for any person.

(b) A public officer may not

(3) use state time, property, equipment, or other facilities to benefit personal or
financial interests;

Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters by, among other things: charging the state for her children to travel with her to events that they were not invited to and to which their presence served no legitimate state purpose or business. Gov. Palin later amended travel expense reports to give the appearance that the presence of her daughters at these events constituted legitimate official and/or state business.

That’s right.  It’s probably known to you as “Travelgate”.  Read the nitty gritty on Progressive Alaska.

#2 – Zane Henning

Henning is a resident of Wasilla, who works on the North Slope oil fields to pay the bills, and in his free time, he’s one of those engaged citizens who is paying attention and taking action.  And he doesn’t like what he sees coming from the Governor.

As Sarah Palin settles back into her job as the state’s chief executive, a new ethics complaint filed Tuesday says she’s already improperly mixing her official duties and broader political ambitions.

The charge: That Palin broke state ethics rules by holding national television interviews about her run for vice president from the governor’s office.

The complaint comes as Palin’s personal life, her prospects as a future presidential candidate and everything she says and does continues to draw headlines.

Zane Henning, a North Slope worker from Wasilla, said he filed the complaint with the attorney general. He says Palin is promoting her future political career on state property, pointing in particular to the governor’s Nov. 10 interview with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren.

“The governor is using her official position and office in an attempt to repair her damaged political image on the national scene,” Henning wrote.

The Palin camp, besieged by interview requests, said the governor was no longer a candidate at the time of interviews, but otherwise had little to say about the complaint.

“The consideration of complaints under the executive branch ethics act is a confidential process, by law,” wrote Palin spokesman Bill McAllister.

“The governor will respect that legal requirement for confidentiality, even if others do not.”

#3 will surely follow.

And you know how, in movies, when there’s something under water that’s about to rise to the surface and wreak havoc…there are those little bubbles that rise to the surface….and then they start to get bigger….

Well, there are bubblings.  There were little bubbles a couple weeks ago, and they’re getting bigger.  I’ll report as things develop, but suffice it to say that those bubbles are the byproduct of grass roots organization.  It’s a beautiful thing.





Palin’s Audacity of Hype – Coming to a Bookstore Near You!

17 11 2008

Are you ready for the hard-bound copy of The Audacity of Hype?  Well, Sarah Palin may just oblige, at least, if the law allows.  Poised to rake in a cushy book deal of reportedly up to $7 million, Palin may have to weigh her options.  Alaska state law says that a sitting governor can only hold down one job.  So, “best-selling author” may be an illegal line on the resume…at least for the next two years of her term.

From TimesOnline:

She failed to save John McCainfrom presidential election doom, but Sarah Palin, the Republican senator’s controversial running mate, may yet emerge as the saviour of the American publishing industry. Literary agents are queueing up to sign her to a book deal that could earn her up to $7m.

With Barack Obama’s election victory certain to generate dozens of volumes from politicians, strategists and journalists – and with another shelfload of memoirs expected from members of President George W Bush’s administration – Palin’s personal account of her tumultuous introduction to national politics is widely regarded as the book most likely to repay a multi-million-dollar advance.

“She’s poised to make a ton of money,” said Howard Rubenstein, New York’s best-known public relations adviser.

[snip]

With publishers as nervous as everyone else about next year’s economic prospects, Palin’s popularity has become a boon. “Nobody is waiting for George W Bush’s memoirs,” one New York agent noted.

A provision of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act restricts outside employment. It says: “The head of a principal executive department of the state may not accept employment for compensation outside the agency that the executive head serves.”  So, it sounds like Sarah Palin must continue to live the ascetic life of a state governor, and forego the lucrative, glittering life of a celebrated author and multi-millionaire.

Not so fast…

It would mean this, IF you assumed that Palin thought that the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act was actually binding.  If you will recall, the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act is that very same act that was referred to in the Branchflower Report of the Troopergate Investigation by the Alaska Legislature.

Let’s see…..yes, it’s still right here on my desk…under….this pile of papers… (thumbing through).  Ah.   Page 8, section II – Findings: (clears throat and uses ‘official sounding voice’)

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 legilature reaffirms that each public officer holds ofice as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust”

(Closes giant 264-page report)  So, there you have it.  If she feels comfortable violating THATone, then a job-on-the-side book deal is cake!  It shouldn’t be long before you can pre-order on Amazon.  I’m guessing it’ll be out in time for her 2010 bid for the Senate, when Lisa Murkowski comes up for re-election.

There’s only one thing that would actually make me buy this book, and it’s not going to happen.  I would consider buying the book if, and only if, Palin wrote it herself.  Or better still, if she dictated it verbatim.  I’d put it on my “humor” shelf, and use it as a constant source of entertainment.

But I have a feeling that once an editor (God help the poor soul) got finished with it, and removed all the “also”s and “too though”s, and the rest of the Palinese word salad, and created actual sentences, with subjects and predicates, and got rid of the syntax mutilation, there wouldn’t be much left to say, or much left to be amusing.  And I can imagine shocked colleagues walking into said editor’s office on Monday morning to find him/her lying on the floor, still seated in the toppled chair, gripping a red pen, and muttering quiet little word bits at the ceiling, staring upward with unblinking eyes, gazing into the literary abyss…”must shore up..work together…solutions also…energy independence…don’tcha know…progress the country…”

More likely, since command of the language completely eludes her, there would be a ghost-writer involved somehow, and that would just be no fun at all.





Palin Will Continue to Steal Cookies, She Says.

10 11 2008

cookies

A newly released interview of Sarah Palin by KTUU and the Anchorage Daily News has left me speechless. I had to listen to it twice before I could really believe it. It’s a little over nine minutes, but it’s so filled with red meat, it’s going to keep me busy all day.

Here’s the first installment:

Remember “per diem gate”? It was one of Sarah’s many “gates” that came to light shortly after her nomination, and was revealed at the same time as “travel gate,” both of which were discovered by the Washington Post back in early September. It was a little embarrassing that we needed the Washington Post to discover our governor’s dirty little financial secrets, but it was better to know than not know. This one may not have incensed the average voter in the rest of the country, but up here, the implications were huge.

Alaskans are not pleased by fiscal shenanigans. We are a frugal people and wasteful spending is not going to win you fans. Fiscal conservatism is the mantra that gets people into office. Remember former Governor Murkowski and his spendy private jet? Part of Palin’s fiscal conservative label came from selling that jet, which had become a symbol of outrageous spending that a sitting governor charged to the state. Here’s the background:

Washington Post – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a “per diem” allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official “duty station” is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor’s daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

Now, this is a sore spot with many Alaskans. Palin is not a fan of Juneau. She’s there as little as she can possibly manage. State lawmakers even wore buttons saying “Where’s Sarah?” in protest. Working in Juneau is part of the job. It is, after all, our state’s capitol, even though some wish it wasn’t. There have been a couple attempts to move the capitol from Juneau to Wasilla, or another location that is on the road system. But for right now, travel to Juneau by plane is just part of the package and everyone knows that going in.

From the Juneau Empire:

“Palin has spent little time in Juneau, rarely coming to the state capitol except when the Legislature was in session, and sometimes not even then. During a recent special session called by Palin herself, she faced criticism from several legislators for not showing up personally to push for her agenda. Someone at the Capitol even printed up buttons asking, ‘Where’s Sarah?’”

Many Alaskans figured that the fact that Palin was charging the state a per diem fee, while in the act of shunning our state capitol so she could stay home in Wasilla would be her undoing. THEN when we found out about her children showing up at events when they were uninvited, unexptected, and on the state’s dime, that was just too much. Swanky hotel rooms for her daughters, expensive multiple one-way flights…you could almost feel the fiscal conservatives, and budget watchdogs bristling. She was going to be in biiiiig trouble.

So, right up front in this interview came the question:

Q: One of the things that came up during the campaign is that you charged the state per diem for time spent here in Wasilla. Is that something that you are going to continue to do?

Palin: Oh, we’ve always followed the law and fully disclosed all that and the choice there in many months of the Juneau mansion being replumbed and um all the …all the improvements being made in the infrastructure in the Juneau house where we weren’t gonna be there anyway, knowing that in the end it would have cost the state more money to do what other governors had done and that is either charge the state for hotel rooms or the state renting an apartment like they did for Governor Murkowski. We said no, we just won’t sell our house knowing that we’re going to spend quite a bit of time here, especially those months when the remodels were taking place in the Governor’s mansion, and we would disclose my per diem. We wouldn’t try to hide it. But as long as this is about full disclosure, not trying to take anything from the state, just trying to do my job and part of my job is with the first family, having them with me at some of these events. I’m going to continue to do my job, and my family is going to continue to be a part of it.

She’d rather work from home, so she did. She says It would have cost the state more to have her working in Juneau where her actual job was located, but she didn’t feel like being in Juneau, so she decided to work from elsewhere, and charge the state for meals and incidental traveling expenses despite the fact she was eating in her own kitchen and sleeping in her own bed. And she charged the state for travel expenses to stay home. And somehow this is OK. And the state of Alaska paying for Bristol’s fancy New York hotel and over $20,000 in family travel? That’s OK too.

It was as though Sarah was caught with her hand in the cookie jar when mom and dad walked into the kitchen and turned on the light. “What do you have to say for yourself, Sarah?” ask Mom & Dad. “Well, Mom and Dad, I’m not doing anything wrong, and I’m fully disclosing the fact that I’m taking cookies, and I’m going to continue to do that.” Huh? This is one of those moments as a parent when you have to think long and hard about how you react, because there’s obviously a fundamental lack of understanding about who is in charge, and how this relationship works.

So…..what do Mom and Dad (the State Legislature) do? If you listen to legislators, they’re sounding awfully concilliatory lately, and it’s making those who want to hold Palin accountable uneasy to say the least. I’ve heard Democratic legislators saying that we all need to work together for the good of the state, and they’ve worked with Sarah in the past, and we all need to march ahead and let the healing begin, and so on. I’ve heard them squirm around about the makeup of the new Legislature, and that there aren’t as many Democrats as they would have liked. I’ve heard them cite the fact that Alaska voters have given Palin a 61% approval rating as evidenced by how many voted for the McCain-Palin ticket. In other words, the Alaska State Legislature sounds an awful lot like the U.S. House of Representatives under George W. Bush. If only things were different, we could hold him accountable to the law….sigh….

I am assuming that all members of the Legislature will be watching this video, and I hope that each and every one of them realizes what it is. It is a dare. As a matter of fact, it’s a double-dog-dare. The Governor has just said that she is going to continue being unethical, and she’s going to do it right. in. your. face. “What are YOU going to do about it?” says the child with her hand in the cookie jar.

So, what are you going to do about it, Mom and Dad Legislature? You have two choices.

1) Well…..OK, honey. But you really shouldn’t have done that. You can keep taking cookies but you just need to let Mommy and Daddy know first, OK? Kiss on forehead.

2) Listen young lady. We don’t need any of your backtalk. Put that cookie down and go to your room because we need to have a serious conversation.

It’s your choice Legislature. Alaskans are tired of corruption. And don’t forget that Palin may still have a 60% approval rating, but before her VP run, it was over 80%. The more we know, the less we like. And Alaska voters don’t get to vote on the law. It’s not a popularity contest to see who has to obey the law and who doesn’t. Dealing with law is YOUR job. That’s why we put you there.

I hope there are some strong statements forthcoming from our elected officials. I don’t think I voted to have representation that gets cowed by a kid who just got nailed swiping cookies.

(More to come on this interview.)

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Troopergate I Shares Documents With Troopergate II

18 10 2008
Sen. President Lyda Green and the Giant Binder of Confidentiality.

Sen. President Lyda Green and the Giant Binder of Confidentiality.

Think of it as a changing of the guard.  The first Troopergate investigation (the one from the Alaska Legislature) has concluded, finding that although Palin was within her legal rights to fire Walt Monegan, the Commissioner of Public Safety, she DID abuse her power and violate the state’s ethics code. 

The new guard is another investigation, prompted by Palin herself, from the Personnel Board.  Presumably Palin went to the extraordinary lengths of filing an ethics complaint against herself because she felt that the Personnel Board would be a friendlier investigative body.  This may or may not be so.  Crackerjack Anchorage prosecutor (and Democrat) Tim Petumenos has been hired by the board as the special investigator. 

Petumenos has asked the Legislative Council to turn over the confidential information from their special investigator, Stephen Branchflower.  The Legislative Council made public a 263-page tome with the snappy title: “Report of the Investigation of the Circumstances Surrounding the Termination of Former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and Potential Abuses of Power and/or Improper Actions by Members of Governor Sarah Palin’s Administration, Volume I, Public Report.”  It’s Volume 2 we’re talking about.

Volume 2 makes Volume 1 look like a flimsy paperback, and contains information utilized to come to the conclusions that were stated in the public report. Everything in Volume 2, is not for public consumption.   I didn’t even know they made binders that big.

So, meanwhile, the Personnel Board and its investigation, which operates out of the public eye, marches on.  We don’t know when they will be finished, we don’t know when they will release the report, and we don’t know what the report will say.  But every once in a while, like a surfacing whale,  we catch a glimpse of this mysterious investigation, before it sinks out of sight again.  And we wait.

Media frenzy as the Legislative Council Releases the Branchflower Report.

Media frenzy as the Legislative Council Releases the Branchflower Report.

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Through the Looking Glass With Sarah Palin.

12 10 2008

If there’s anyone else left out there who doesn’t believe that Sarah Palin can look you in the eye and tell you black is white, I have a present for you. Here is the transcript of a five minute conference call with Sarah Palin, Meg Stapleton, the Anchorage Daily News, and local TV stations KTVA, and KTUU.  The journalists got one question each with no follow up.

I’ve been struggling to find the right terminology for this.  She has jumped the shark.  She has landed on Fantasy Island.  She has slipped through the looking glass.  She’s Queen of Denial.  She has become the Head of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth…  choose whichever metaphor works for you.

Here is the transcript of Palin’s interview by these  journalists, after the Branchflower Report on the Troopergate investigation was released, stating that she had abused her power as governor.   As a matter of fact, let’s review Finding Number One as it is written:

“For the reasons explained in section IV of the report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.11(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. 

“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 second thing we should review before joining Sarah Through the Looking Glass, is that the Legislative Council, made up of TEN Republicans and FOUR Democrats voted unanimously to begin the investigation, and unanimously to release the results of the investigation. Ten Republicans, four democrats.  Remember that, because it comes up later.

Alright.  So here is the transcript.  The emphasis is mine, and used on those passages that defy reality, and/or leave me speechless.

Palin: Hey, thank you so, Meg. Thank you so much. Thank you also to our local reporters up there in Alaska. Even hearing your names make me feel like I’m right there with you at home. It’s good to get to speak with you. Let me talk a little bit about the Tasergate issue if you guys would let me and, Meg, you want me to just jump right on in there?

Stapleton: Sure governor, go ahead.

Palin: OK cool.

Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing … any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that. Todd did what anyone would have done given this state trooper’s very, very troubling behavior and his dangerous threats against our family. Todd did what I think any Alaskan would do.

And he, Todd did what the state’s Department of Law Web site tells anyone to do if they have a concern about a state trooper. And that’s you go to the commissioner and you express your concern. And Todd did what our personal detail asked him to do. Bob Cockrell early on as I was elected and was asked are there any threats against ya, and Todd brought the concern as I did to Commissioner Monegan about the state trooper’s threats. He did what any – I think — any rational person would do so again, nothing to apologize there with Todd’s actions and again very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing.

(Stapleton invites the first question).

ADN: Governor, finding No.1 on the report was that you abused your power by violating state law. Do you think you did anything wrong at all in this Troopergate case?

Palin: Not at all and I’ll tell you, it, I think that you’re always going to ruffle feathers as you do what you believe is in the best interest of the people whom you are serving. In this case I knew that I had to have the right people in the right position at the right time in this cabinet to best serve Alaskans, and Walt Monegan was not the right person at the right time to meet the goals that we had set out in our administration. So no, not having done anything wrong, and again very much appreciating being cleared of any legal wrongdoing or unethical activity at all.

ADN: Have you read the whole report? (No response; Stapleton invites question from KTVA reporter).

KTVA-Channel 11: … The report that came out yesterday, do you think that the end result is partisan?

Palin: Yeah, I did think it did turn into a partisan circus to tell you the truth. Yes I did. You know from Day One it’s been the Personnel Board that clearly laid out in state statute there — Personnel Board deals with any issue of question regarding a governor, a lieutenant governor or an attorney general in the state of Alaska. What this legislative investigation — quote unquote — turned into was a political circus.

KTUU-Channel 2: Governor, so good to hear from you. Do you approve of the way that your campaign has handled themselves here in Alaska? We’ve had a lot of people voice concerns about what they call attacks of good people in our state while you are away.

Palin: Well I haven’t heard of any attacks on good people in Alaska from our campaign. If you have specifics there, maybe I could answer specifically. But no, in John McCain’s mission here, in taking the high road, as you’re going to see too with a lot of unfair shots he has taken in this campaign with some of his opponents’ supporters, McCain and I taking the high road, being positive. I wouldn’t support nor would I condone taking shots at any good Alaskans.

KTUU-Channel 2: Let me answer your question since you asked for specifics.

Palin: Sure.

KTUU-Channel 2: Walt Monegan was called “rogue.” How do you feel about that?

Palin: Rogue isn’t a negative term when you consider that in a cabinet you need a team effort going forward with a governor’s agenda. And our agenda has been to find efficiencies in every department and make sure that we are serving the people of Alaska to the best of our ability given the resources that we have. And remember I fought very hard to increase funding for state troopers so that we could fill positions there and goals not being met that included not being able to recruit and retain all the state troopers that I wanted to best serve Alaska. That could be characterized I think as a cabinet member who – it’s not a negative term I think — being rogue in terms of not meeting those goals.

Just for fun, let’s check out the definition of “rogue.”  *clears throat*

Rogue. Adjective.

  1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.
  2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable: a rogue wave; a rogue tornado.
  3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls: “How could a single rogue trader bring down an otherwise profitable and well-regarded institution?”

He’s a vicious, solitary elephant who doesn’t meet his goals…in a GOOD way.

So let’s recap.  The report states she has abused her power as governor, and she’s really glad she’s done nothing wrong.  Todd did what any “Alaskan” would do.  She thinks the mostly Republican legislative council has turned into a partisan circus, but she hasn’t heard anything about attacks on anyone in Alaska from her campaign.  The McCain campaign is taking the high road and being positive. And being a rogue cop isn’t a bad thing.  Any questions?

If you want to read Lisa Demer’s full account, and hear the interview in the Governor’s own voice:  CLICK HERE.  That way you can just, you know, hear her talkin’ to the people, and bein’ what she is, also, and gettin’ her statement out there and rufflin’ feathers so as to serve the people of Alaska there also.

This must be the sound it makes when a house of cards collapses.






Troopergate Investigation Continues!

19 09 2008

The Ethics Investigation into what has become known as Troopergate lives to fight another day.

After waiting 35 minutes for Todd Palin and two state administrative employees to appear under subpoena before the state Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Hollis French condemned their refusal to testify and the attorney general’s broken promise that seven other witnesses would testify who were not subpoenaed.

French said the retired prosecutor hired by the Alaska Legislature to investigate Palin, Stephen Branchflower, will conclude his investigation by Oct. 10. Still, that report will not include testimony from the Republican vice-presidential nominee, her husband or most of the top aides Branchflower hoped to interview.

Sarah Palin’s allies hoped the investigation would be delayed past the election to spare her any troublesome revelations – or at least the distraction – before voters have made their choice. Palin’s reputation as clean-government advocate who takes on entrenched interests is central to her appeal as Republican John McCain’s running mate, and possibly at risk in the probe.

Palin initially promised to cooperate in the investigation, telling the Legislature to “hold me accountable.” Lawmakers were investigating accusations she dismissed the state’s public safety commissioner because he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper. She now opposes the investigation.

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister declined to comment Friday. The McCain campaign said there are concerns about the effect of political influence on the Legislature’s inquiry and Palin will provide any information needed to a separate investigation by the Alaska State Personnel Board.

The committee subpoenaed six people to appear Friday to testify or meet for private interviews with Branchflower. French said three of those six had complied. Todd Palin, special assistant Ivy Frye and Randy Ruaro, who is the governor’s deputy chief of staff, did not.

Todd Palin’s attorney sent French a letter Thursday listing Palin’s objections to the Legislature’s investigation of his wife. Among them, the attorney said, were jurisdiction questions, separation of power issues and an inconvenient travel schedule.

Subpoenas were approved on seven other government employees but not served because the state attorney general’s office had agreed to cooperate, French said. But Attorney General Talis Colberg earlier this week reversed himself, saying the governor declined to participate and that Palin administration employees would not appear.

French said subpoenas will be issued for those seven people, ordering them to testify on Sept. 26.

In an interview today on KUDO, Alaska Democratic Representative Harry Crawford said,

This is a perfectly good reason for not having an appointed Attorney General.

Alaska is one of only five states to have an Attorney General who is appointed by the governor, rather than chosen by the people.  Colberg’s reaction upon learning of McCain’s pick of Palin as his running mate was “a mixed set of emotions, kind of an odd sense of Alaska nationalism or pride.”  “It was an emotional thing to see the governor walk out with her family, and I say, ‘Wow, I work for her.’

Crawford rightly noted that “He’s suposed to be the state’s top law official. He’s supposed to be working for the people, and he thinks he’s there working for Sarah Palin, and that’s not right”.

When asked what can and should be done about the current situation, Crawford suggested:

1. Change the Alaska constitution to make the Attorney General an elected independent position.

2. Pursue some sort of recall against Talis Colberg.

I’ts obvious that Talis Colberg is working for the governor,  and that the McCain camp has taken over the state.  It’s not right that the Attorney General is urging people to ignore or break the law.  They [the McCain campaign] are in complete charge of what’s goin on in the state right now. They are trying to spin, or shut down anything that looks negative for the McCain Palin ticket.

Crawford does his best to separate his personal feelings, and his feelings about Palin as governor, from his feelings about her as a VP candidate.

I like Sarah Palin, I like Todd Palin. I think she did an amazing job on oil tax reform and the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, but as far as Troopergate, she’s said all along she’s going to be open and transparent,  and since the McCain people have come into this they have shut it down…put up a wall.  It’s obvious when we’re listening to what comes from Talis Colberg,  or any other administration people, they are parroting what [McCain lawyer] Edward O’Callaghan has had to say. We’re not givng you any more information,  we’re just going to stonewall.

On Walt Monegan and the reason for his firing?  Crawford’s understanding is that

“She fired him because they had a disagreement on funding, and what I’ve been told was that she wanted to cut $2 million from the public safety budget. He said he cound’t keep running the department on the current amount, much less $2 million less. There was a disagreement on what the safety of Alaskans required.  That’s a bigger story”. 

And about the evisceration of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan by the McCain campaign:

You’re not going to find anyone in law enforcement more honorable than Walt Monegan. He’s done a fine job since the time he was patrolman to the time he was Commissioner of Public Safety. I have compelte respect for him. 

This put me in mind of something Walt Monegan said last week.  “I would gladly die for the governor, but I will not lie for her.”

So.  The troopergate investigation lives to see another day.  So go get your big red Sharpie and circle October 10th on your calendar.  That’s when Stephen Branchflower will wrap up the investigation, and we’ll be ready for the next chapter in the saga. The investigation will conclude before the election, with or without the cooperation of the governor, her husband, and the state employees who defied subpoenas.   I’ll bet when Branchflower agreed to come back to the state and out of retirement to do this investigation, he never dreamed how things would turn out.  None of us did.