Palin to Be Deposed in Trooper Scandal?

ABC News reports that Sarah Palin may have to temporarily suspend campaigning in order to be deposed by an investigation into her alleged actions regarding the firing of her ex-brother-in-law.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s surprise vice-presidential pick, is the subject of a legislative probe into claims that she abused her office by trying to get her former brother-in-law fired from his job as an Alaska state trooper.

Palin is likely to be deposed soon in the case, according to State Sen. Hollis French, who leads the state Senate’s Legislative Counsel Committee.

French’s committee unanimously authorized an investigation into the dismissal of the state’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who claims he balked at pressure to remove Trooper Mike Wooten, who had an acrimonious divorce from Palin’s sister.

“I saw e-mails from [independent investigator Stephen] Branchflower two days ago to the Department of Law saying it’s time to schedule a deposition of the governor, her chief of staff and the attorney general who had some contact with the case,” French tells ABCNews.com.

Let’s leave all questions about Palin’s qualifications to the side. Let’s also leave out any discussion over whether or not she actually committed the crimes she is alleged to have committed–I honestly do not know enough about the case one way or the other to make a judgment.

Okay, so leaving all that aside, doesn’t it just seem like a bad idea from a political standpoint to have your VP nominee investigated and deposed in an abuse-of-power scandal during the campaign? Didn’t McCain’s staff brief him on the fact that the American people might take a dim view of voting for a politician currently under investigation on such charges? What will McCain do if the (Republican, don’t forget) Alaskan legislature decides that the charges are legit and proceed to impeach her from office? This seems like an awfully big risk to take.

Image credit: Tricia Ward

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. James says:

    Spiro Agnew, anyone?




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  2. wolfwalker says:

    This smells like a political dirty trick. McCain is an anti-pork reformer. Palin is an anti-pork reformer. Alaska’s congressional delegation and state legislature love pork, and don’t really mind outright corruption. I don’t think party affiliation matters that much to them, any more than it matters to D politicians in firmly-D places like Massachusetts and Rhode Island. And by all I’ve heard, this claim of Palin acting badly WRT the safety commissioner and the state trooper is all trumped-up garbage. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the go-ahead decision for deposing Palin was made after McCain picked her, and one of its goals was to sabotage his campaign.




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  3. Boyd says:

    If you’d been paying attention to Governor Palin for a few months like some have, you’d realize that a) this is blown way out of proportion, and b) we know this because this investigation is near its end.

    Yeah, it’s another dirt clod for the Democrats to throw at her, but they’d be throwing a different one if this particular dirt clod wasn’t readily at hand.




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  4. PD Shaw says:

    With Rezko talking to the feds, his sentencing scheduled a week before the elections and leaks of more federal indictments being handed down by the end of the year against the Illinois Governor, perhaps Obama shouldn’t have picked a running mate with ties to Rezko.




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  5. Yo Mamma says:

    Wait a minute: the trooper *shot his stepson with a taser*, was drinking on duty, and threatened to kill Palin’s father. As chief executive of the state, wouldn’t you also have serious questions why this particular employee was still on the payroll, who was keeping him there, and why??

    It was incumbent on her to cut these rotten apples loose. Period.




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  6. Alex Knapp says:

    If you’d been paying attention to Governor Palin for a few months like some have, you’d realize that a) this is blown way out of proportion, and b) we know this because this investigation is near its end.

    I admit I haven’t been following it because Alaskan politics aren’t my thing. I don’t know enough about the subject to judge her guilt or innocence. All I know is, what if Palin isn’t just deposed, but is subpoenaed to testify in front of the Alaskan senate in, say, October? How’s that going to look to voters?




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  7. Alex Knapp says:

    Wait a minute: the trooper *shot his stepson with a taser*, was drinking on duty, and threatened to kill Palin’s father.

    Were these allegations ever proved?




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  8. Bithead says:

    Oh, please.
    The investigation into the troooper she was trying to have fired was ongoing from at least two years prior to her accepting office.

    Go ahead, tell me tagging her with this is not politically motivated.

    And I’ll also echo Saw’s comments.




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  9. just me says:

    Were these allegations ever proved?

    Yes. They investigated him on several charges and were able to prove and confirm four of them-one was the tazering of the 11 year old step son.

    Once they confirmed those four charges the state initially gave him a 10 day suspension which was later reduced to 5 days.

    You really should probably read up on this Beldar has a really good time line and there is a really good timeline here http://www.floppingaces.net/2008/08/29/palins-troopergate-beating-msm-distortions-to-the-truth/#more-7482 that also includes links to original investigative interviews by troopers investigating her brother in law.

    And make note that the pressure to fire him came before she was governor or ran for the office.




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  10. Boyd says:

    I admit I haven’t been following it because Alaskan politics aren’t my thing. I don’t know enough about the subject to judge her guilt or innocence.

    So, you’re just going to grab anti-McCain (and, naturally, anti-Palin) talking points and tout them as being potential problems? Instead of, y’know, actually researching the issue? You’re just going to report cherry-picked facts and not try to find out what the truth is?

    C’mon, Alex.

    And besides, no one I know that has been following the Governor for months has done it because of their interest in Alaskan politics; they’ve done it because of their interest in national politics, and the possibility of her selection as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

    You need to play catch-up, because you’re way behind, Alex. Go on, we’ll wait for you. Just don’t spout half-truths (or half of the truth) until you’ve actually bothered to find out about Governor Palin for yourself.




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  11. Bithead says:

    Boyd…

    I was about to mention the Flopping Aces article. Thanks for adding Beldar’s to that list… and an apology to Beldar for not having gotten there in the last few days… a situation I hope to remedy shortly.




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  12. Bithead says:

    Ya know, a thought occurs… will all this negativity being thrown at Palin… stuff that is being disproved as it comes up, eventually going to backfire on the Democrats?




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  13. just me says:

    I think the problem here is that the more you read up on this scandal the more you see a really dirty cop who should have been fired get a slap on the wrist.

    You end up with the empathy going to the governor. This is probably not a good scandal to focus on-it puts a human and very real face, that people can relate to on the Palin family. It shows that Palin had a sister in a horrible relationship, with an abusive jerk for a husband who carried a gun and a badge for a living.

    If Palin were a democrat the feminists would be eating this story up and marching in support of her all over the state of Alaska. But Palin has the wrong letter after her name, therefore they are staying silent.




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  14. WR says:

    Once again, the Right proves its contempt for the rule of law. The brother in law was a bad guy — so Palin was perfectly justified in using the power of her elective office to have him fired, even though he had gone through the administrative and legal system, and had received the punishment that statutes and regulations allowed. And then, when the head of the state police wouldn’t bow to her pressure, she fired him.

    And then she lied about it to the people of Alaska. (She first insisted that no pressure had been put on the head of the state police, then, when tapes came out of her top people pressuring him, insisted that she didn’t know about it.)

    But it’s okay, hecause the brother in law is a bad guy.

    One quick question — do you really trust your politicians so much that you will allow them to choose who is the “bad guy,” and then abuse their power to get him? I thought we had a Constitution specifically to outlaw this kind of behavior.




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  15. angellight says:

    What major policy decisions has Ms. Palin introduced while in office? How informed is she on national and international affairs? It seems to me that not only is Palin less experienced and less qualified than Barack, she seems to lack the intellectual curiosity, or unwillingness, and depth to probe and understand the important and complexing problems/issues knocking at our door today. For example, Palin offhandedly asked CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow in July “What is it exactly that the vice president does all day?” And, if she does not know what a VP does we can be assured she does not know what a President does, and yet she will be Just a Heartbeat Away! And when asked about her stance on Iraq by Alaskan Daily, Palin answers “I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments”! That is an outrageous statement for someone who is supposed to have an intellectual grasp on national issues and instead not have any pertinent view on the most pressing and urgent problem of our time, and does not feel a duty or responsibility to find out as much information about this problem as she can. I am sure she has constituents in Iraq and son to soon be deployed there also you would think that she would have some knowledge about this situation! Will she have this same nonchalant attitude about Iran, and Georgia, both pressing problems? Does this sound like someone who is truly intelligent or an Airhead? And, was she truly vetted?

    Next they are trying to paint her as a Reformer, someone who fights Corruption, a woman who is now under a messy Investigation of her own Ethics by the Alaskan legislature (troopergate), hardly seems the reformer they want to pretend she is. A maverick? Sarah Palin has approved 26 billion dollar oil-pipeline for a Canadian business which will hire Canadians and not people here in the United States and a very big proponent of drilling, instead of really focusing on newer 21st century ways of dealing with our energy crisis. She is not an energy expert she is an oil expert, so its still about big oil and more of the same — The old vs. the new!

    David Frum a Republican strategist says “John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance. Here’s I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign’s slogan is “country first.” It’s a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency. But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the president?”

    Lastly, McCain’s and GOP’s ploy to go after Hillary Clinton’s disaffected voters proves to the world how really pathetic the Republican party has become that they will try any trick in the book to keep the power in the hands of big oil and special interest and out of the hands of the people where it belongs. In this pick they are putting American people last and taking a huge risk with this country. And, should a Presidential candidate play Russian roulette with the people’s business? It is telling of McCain’s character and judgment that with all the problems we face here today, he did not have the People’s interest at heart in this V.P. pick but rather a desire to win for winnings sake and did not think of the consequences of his actions or maybe did not care what it would mean for this country if she were to be sworn in as President of the United States! And, ironically, the very things he accused Barack of being (which he is not) — empty suit, no experience — he got in his own V.P. Pick, Sarah Palin, who clearly is not as intelligent as they want you to beleive and it is she who is an airhead and empty!




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  16. Eric says:

    Funny how Republicans always think these things are “blown way out of proportion” when it’s their guy on the hot seat. Bush torture? Exaggerated. Illegal spying? Don’t get worked up. No WMDs? Well, they haven’t *not* found them. Everyone chill. But, boy, mention minor controversies like Rezko, or Wright, and their is no end to their sky-is-falling, end-of-the-world rhetoric.

    The funny thing is, mundane abuse of power stuff like this is more likely to be true because it is so mundane and unremarkable. Yet the same people who are defending Palin here are the same people who believe Vince Foster was offed by the Clintons. Go figure.

    Really, guys, you look foolish falling all over yourselves trying to explain away Palin’s possible guilt.




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  17. bains says:

    Let’s also leave out any discussion over whether or not she actually committed the crimes she is alleged to have committed…

    Alex, just what “crime” is she alleged to have committed?




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  18. Eric says:

    Bains, don’t play dumb. She’s alleged to have abused her power. Sure, no crime(s) have yet been charged, but an investigation usually precedes the charging.




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  19. Rick DeMent says:

    Palin is clearly a socialist running a socialist state. Windfall profit tax on big oil redistributed to run the state government and the balance given to the layabout residents of the state.

    Up is down … right is left …

    He He He 🙂




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  20. geo says:

    Palin’s the real deal and this phony troopergate will blow up in the Dem’s faces. Bambi and his team are wetting their collective panties. The more Dem’s that claim that McCain’s VP was poor judgment on his part, the more confident I become that he will beat the Messiah like a rented mule or donkey.




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  21. Billy says:

    Isn’t it a crime to deprive a public official of employment without due process of law? It is most definitely a civil offense and in violation of the constitution, not to mention an egregious abuse of authority. I think that may be what this is about, wingers. It’s one thing to say the brother-in-law was a bad guy; can you say the same about the official Palin canned, simply because he refused to break the rules on the order of the governor?

    Please explain why Palin can commit a crime in office and it’s no big deal, but it’s a different matter for a democrat. Try not to strain yourself too much (you might recycle the same double-standard arguments about lack of experience so you don’t have to think too hard).




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  22. anjin-san says:

    McCain is an anti-pork reformer.

    Right. He was cutting pork all the way to the Bahamas in Charles Keating’s private jet.




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  23. anjin-san says:

    And, was she truly vetted?

    That’s an interesting question. I don’t think anyone, including McCain’s staff considered her very likely to end up with the VP slot. Was her vetting a cursory one?




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  24. Beldar says:

    Gov. Palin has encouraged this investigation. The very same day that the legislature authorized it, she offered to make herself available for questioning, without a subpoena, as early as that same afternoon.

    The day she’s named as McCain’s Veep pick, suddenly it’s time to schedule a deposition. Gee, what a coincidence. Couldn’t possibly be any political motivation behind that, could there?

    Let it play out. Let those who want to line up to support the child-abusing, firearm-abusing, death-threatening bully do so. The net effect will be to further persuade the American public that it’s Gov. Palin who cares about fidelity to duty and the public trust. They will recognize that the only “scandal” here is that Trooper Wooten still has a badge and a gun.

    To every attacker of Gov. Palin on this “scandal,” here is my challenge: Start your comment with a simple statement, yes or no, as to whether Wooten should have been fired. That will help the rest of us evaluate at a glance whether you’ve got an ounce of human decency. If you want to argue “Yes, he should have been fired, but here’s why Gov. Palin is at fault …” that’s fine, we can discuss your arguments rationally once we know you’re not in favor of child abuse.




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  25. Beldar says:

    anjin-san: You haven’t answered my question from yesterday asking you to furnish a linnk to document your assertion — which I think you made up out of thin air — that Gov. Palin wants to prevent public access to contraceptives.

    As to McCain’s and his staff’s vetting of Gov. Palin, per today’s WaPo, they’ve been doing that actively since February, and she’s been on McCain’s short list continuously since then.




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  26. Eric says:

    Beldar, I believe the deposition was already planned to be schedule in October. There’s no “suddenly” about it. Besides, it’s her own Attorney General that’s scheduling this, in an investigation that she herself told her Attorney General to start.

    And spare us the Wooten-was-a-bad-guy rationalization. You don’t realize that that is irrelevant to this investigation. His punishment was already levied by the department; what’s at question is whether Palin exercised political pressure to get back at him beyond what was already prescribed.

    And, in any event, your asking us to give Palin the benefit of the doubt and not prejudge her, while at the same time asking us to believe Wooten was “child-abusing, firearm-abusing, death-threatening bully.” You can’t have it both ways: either we give both the benefit of the doubt, or neither. But I don’t think anyone has really prejudged Palin. As a public official, Palin should have taken care to not even have the appearance of impropriety. So don’t get angry at the rest us for thinking that she’s just another public official abusing her power, because that’s all too common and what most of us think of any politician anyway!

    I personally have no problem giving Palin the benefit of the doubt, but I believe (and so does the Alaskan State Legislature) that there is a prima facia case of abuse of power. We must therefore let the investigation run its course and see what happens.




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  27. Beldar says:

    Eric: As for the “benefit of the doubt,” Wooten has lost it. What we know about him is based on factual findings from the adversary proceedings in his disciplinary action, from which the union, on his behalf, appealed only the sentence. We know he did these things; those facts are not in dispute.

    Another thing we know without any doubt: Monegan was a political appointee who served at the pleasure of the governor and could be removed by him or her either with or without cause, and even with no better reason than that she didn’t feel confident in him, for whatever reason, whether justified or not. That is the law in Alaska, and it’s typical of political appointments elsewhere.

    Two other things we know without any doubt: (1) Monegan was offered another comparable job by the Palin administration. (2) Wooten is still getting his paycheck too. Oh yeah, Gov. Palin’s stiletto heels have really come down hard on these poor, poor good old boys. Hand me the world’s smallest violin, would you?

    As for “prima facie case of abuse of power,” that’s a load of crap. There are allegations, and those resulted in a request for in investigation, which — as I pointed out above — Gov. Palin has welcomed. A “prima facie case” would include credible evidence that Gov. Palin herself either threatened Monegan that he’d be fired if he didn’t fire Wooten, or that she directed someone on her staff to make that threat. And so far, no one has even come up with specific allegations to that effect, much less any actual evidence of it. From the allegations that have been made so far, it’s equally as likely that the people who were voicing their concerns to Monegan about Wooten were acting on their own, without any direction from, or even the knowledge of, Gov. Palin herself.

    So: You won’t say whether you’re pro or con on child abuse by Taser. Okay, fine. How are you on death threats? Law officers using deadly firearms to commit crimes? Law officers drinking beer in their police cruisers? Care to take a position on any of those things, Eric?

    Seriously, speak up about those, and then we can talk about whether someone else muttering their disbelieve that this miscreant is still carrying a badge and gun could somehow rise to an official abuse of power.




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  28. Beldar says:

    Let me go further on the “prima facie case” nonsense. From the same ABC News story linked in Alex Knapp’s post, we find this quote:

    No one ever — not her, not her staff — has ever said, ‘Fire Trooper Wooten,'” adds Monegan. “They all said, ‘He’s not the sort we’d like to have represent Alaska state troopers.’ But the intention was clear.”

    That statement, when repeated under oath, should end the entire affair. At worst for Gov. Palin, Monegan drew an inference on his own — one unsupported by any actual statement made by Gov. Palin or anyone on her staff — that they wanted him to fire Wooten. Or was it “discipline him further”? Or was it “have a heart to heart talk with him”? Or was it “move him to a less public position”? Monegan was making guesses. You don’t ascribe official misconduct to a public official on the basis of someone’s guesses.

    In a court, that admission by Monegan would be the end of either civil or criminal charges. Of course, because this is pending before the Legislature — where there are no shortage of good old boys and cronies, both Republican and Democrat, whose plans and schemes have been upended by Gov. Palin already — there’s no such check, no guarantee of basic fairness.

    But this is just preposterous. If you haven’t reached that conclusion yet, it’s because you have an axe to grind that’s clouding your judgment.




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  29. anjin-san says:

    We know he did these things; those facts are not in dispute.

    child abuse by Taser, death threats? Law officers using deadly firearms to commit crimes, Law officers drinking beer in their police cruisers?

    It this fellow actually did all these things, and it is beyond dispute, how come he is not in prison? Apparently he is not, and he is, in fact, still drawing a paycheck.

    I know nothing about the facts of this case, but I doubt that it is as simple as Palin is a saint, and Wooten is an evil evil doer, which seems to be the emerging line of defense from the right.




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  30. Alex Knapp says:

    Boyd,

    So, you’re just going to grab anti-McCain (and, naturally, anti-Palin) talking points and tout them as being potential problems? Instead of, y’know, actually researching the issue? You’re just going to report cherry-picked facts and not try to find out what the truth is?

    C’mon, Alex.

    Boyd, my position is simply that from a political perspective, regardless of the truth of falsity of the accusations, this is a bad idea for McCain. Do you honestly believe that her being under investigation is a positive thing? It doesn’t matter if she welcomed it or not–people who aren’t political junkies don’t pay attention to that kind of nuance.

    If McCain’s elected, and this investigation is still ongoing, or if more facts come to light which show Palin in a worse light than the facts show now, then how is McCain going to govern effectively? There is a great deal of uncertainty here, and if McCain’s elected, this is something that could undermine the effectiveness of the government. Not exactly something that anybody should take likely?

    Let me ask you something straight, Boyd–if YOU were a presidential candidate, and YOU had your choice of picking between a VP nominee NOT undergoing an abuse-of-power investigation or one who IS undergoing an abuse-of-power investigation, and both were solid nominees, which would you pick?




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  31. Beldar says:

    anjin-san, Wooten indeed did all those things, and it’s not in dispute:

    “The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession,” Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers, wrote in March 1, 2006, letter suspending Wooten for 10 days. After the union protested it, the suspension was reduced to five days.

    ….

    Troopers eventually investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both:

    * Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.
    * He illegally shot a moose.
    * He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.
    * He told others his father-in-law [Palin’s father] would “eat a f’ing lead bullet” if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.

    Beyond the investigation sparked by the family, trooper commanders saw cause to discipline or give written instructions to correct Wooten seven times since he joined the force, according to Grimes’ letter to Wooten.

    By challenging only the punishment and not the underlying factual findings, Wooten permitted them to become final and legally binding. He can’t contest them now; he can’t deny them.

    As for how simple it is: No one’s nominating Gov. Palin for sainthood, but it’s very clear that Wooten is an evil doer, and as for why he’s not in prison, in my opinion the answer is: Police Unions.

    Still waiting for that link on contraceptives. Or are you ready to admit that you, ummm, erred and/or exaggerated on that point?




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  32. bains says:

    I know nothing about the facts of this case, but I doubt that it is as simple as Palin is a saint, and Wooten is an evil evil doer, which seems to be the emerging line of defense from the right.

    Any yet without knowing any of the facts, you are sure that Palin is culpable in some nefarious activity. Talk about double standards.




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  33. sam says:

    From the allegations that have been made so far, it’s equally as likely that the people who were voicing their concerns to Monegan about Wooten were acting on their own, without any direction from, or even the knowledge of, Gov. Palin herself.

    Well, that’s the heart of the question, right? Did she or did she not know and participate? So, let the investigation proceed. An allegation of abuse of power on the part of the executive is not something to be brushed aside. And if this involves her having to give a deposition under oath, well that’s how investigations go. It’s in the governor’s interest to confront this, don’t you think?




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  34. Beldar says:

    Alex: You’re a good man, I know, and you argue from positions of good faith. Let me come at this from a different angle:

    Will you agree that the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party have a natural incentive to try to find some “scandal” to tar Sarah Palin with?

    Did you know that this “scandal” was first ginned up in the Alaska press by Andrew Halcro? You probably didn’t, if you don’t follow Alaska politics and haven’t looked into this. But Halcro runs a rental car business, and he’s upset that he’s stuck with that instead of being Governor of Alaska: He finished a distant third, running as an independent, in the 2006 general election in which Sarah Palin also whipped popular Democratic ex-governor Tony Knowles. Ever since, Halcro has used his blog to pick at Gov. Palin, trying desperately to find some way to get back at her. Since she ran as, and is correctly perceived by something north of 80% of Alaska’s public to be, an ethical reformer, he very much wants to find some ethics problem to pin on her.

    Final question: Do you honestly think that whoever McCain picked, the Dems wouldn’t have found some quote-unquote “scandal” to immediately launch into? Lives or breathes there anyone who is utterly incapable of even being alleged to be crooked?

    What you’re seeing is inevitable. Indeed, the groundwork for it was laid on dKos weeks and weeks ago, on the off chance (as it was thought then) that McCain might pick Palin. It’s weak sauce. For pete’s sake, Cokie Roberts interrupted George Stephannopolis’ question this morning about this “scandal” on ABC’s “This Week” to point out that the trooper was a very bad actor who’d Tasered his step-son and made death threats against Palin’s father. If she gets it already (by “it” I mean the truth), how long do you think this particular smear effort will play on?




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  35. Beldar says:

    Sam: Yes, it’s in her best interests to confront it, which she’s been trying to do, which is why she said she’d give testimony under oath without a subpoena on the day the Legislature (actually a committee, I think) authorized it (with her encouragement).

    Who do you think wants to see this dragged out until, oh, at least November? Or late October?

    But I repeat, given what Monegan has already admitted — that he was never threatened by anyone with being fired if he didn’t do ____ (fill in the blank) to/with Wooten — there can be no finding of abuse of power. If there’s no compulsion, there’s no abuse.




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  36. bains says:

    …if YOU were a presidential candidate, and YOU had your choice of picking between a VP nominee NOT undergoing an abuse-of-power investigation or one who IS undergoing an abuse-of-power investigation, and both were solid nominees, which would you pick?

    If I found both to be solid candidates, I would look at what the allegation was, by whom it was made, and whether or know my candidate was responding appropriately. Again, if it were a solid candidate, I would expect to find the allegation facile, the accuser political motivated, and an ongoing investigation beyond reproach. And in looking at the facts, which you and anjin-san seem studiously committed to avoid (they are linked in this very thread) you would indeed find very little there there.

    Of course, as a devoted Obama supporter Alex, I suspect you’ll still find things about which to gnash your partisan teeth.




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  37. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Funny how deep thinkers like Anjin like to discount truth about the situation Palin took care of by just doing her job but can ignore the information available at the U of Chicago concerning the relationship between Obama and Willaim Ayers. If a Highway Patrolman works for the stated, he must be under the governance of the governor. It would seem Governor Palin was just doing her job as a reformer. Obama, on the otherhand, is a claimed reformer who we are asked to believe will have all of his reforming in the future, as there is no record of him doing so in the past. Why is it no one is able to stand up for Obama and tell us what he has accomplished? Please explain that Anjin? Why is there no one from Obama’s past to stand up for him? I guess there actually have been. Rev. Wright and that “Catholic” who is white and talks black. I have seen and heard people who know Gov. Palin speak about her in glowing terms. Find someone from Obama’s past to speak of his accomplishments.




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  38. anjin-san says:

    Any yet without knowing any of the facts, you are sure that Palin is culpable in some nefarious activity.

    Please either show where I said that, or cease trying to put words in my mouth.




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  39. Eric says:

    Eric: As for the “benefit of the doubt,” Wooten has lost it. What we know about him is based on factual findings from the adversary proceedings in his disciplinary action, from which the union, on his behalf, appealed only the sentence. We know he did these things; those facts are not in dispute.

    Beldar, you’re still missing the point. This case isn’t about Wooten, it’s about Palin and whether she abused her power.

    Another thing we know without any doubt: Monegan was a political appointee who served at the pleasure of the governor and could be removed by him or her either with or without cause, and even with no better reason than that she didn’t feel confident in him, for whatever reason, whether justified or not. That is the law in Alaska, and it’s typical of political appointments elsewhere.

    Just because she has the authority as Governor to fire someone at will, doesn’t mean she may do so without question or consequence. If I remember correctly, Nixon fired Cox, as he could have because he was President. But he did so under such a cloud of suspicion that it brought him down. Similarly, Palin may have technically have the authority, but she used it after there had already been at least the appearance of political interference, which would naturally raise suspicions. As I mentioned earlier, politicians need to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. As far as I’m concerned, Palin brought this on herself–indeed, she literally asked her Attorney General to investigate the issue!

    As for “prima facie case of abuse of power,” that’s a load of crap. There are allegations, and those resulted in a request for in investigation, which — as I pointed out above — Gov. Palin has welcomed.

    I hate to have to tell you this, Beldar, but if there are allegations that result in an investigation, well, I think we can safely assume that a prima facia case has been made. Besides, the Alaskan State Legislature thought the issue serious enough to open it’s own investigation. And remember, Palin’s own “request” to investigate this issue only came after the ASL started their own.

    So: You won’t say whether you’re pro or con on child abuse by Taser. Okay, fine. How are you on death threats? Law officers using deadly firearms to commit crimes? Law officers drinking beer in their police cruisers? Care to take a position on any of those things, Eric?

    Beldar, this is irrelevant to the case. As I said, in my post above, these allegations against Wooten were investigated internally, which resulted in his suspension for 10 days. Anjin-san is right: had the Sheriff’s department felt these things were true or provable, well then, no one would be in a better position to arrest him than them, right?

    Again, let me reiterate that this case is not about Wooten’s discipline, but about Monegan’s dismissal and the circumstances surrounding it. What I think about Wooten’s alleged behavior is is irrelevant. Besides, in order for me to believe your argument, what you’re essentially asking me to do is believe Monegan was deficient in his duties in punishing Wooten. But Monegan’s performance is not in question here. Or is it?

    No one ever — not her, not her staff — has ever said, ‘Fire Trooper Wooten,'” adds Monegan. “They all said, ‘He’s not the sort we’d like to have represent Alaska state troopers.’ But the intention was clear.

    Sure. Fine. But no one would come out and say something like that. No one ever does. Would you? I mean, if you were Governor and you were angling to remove someone who you had a prior (bad) relationship with, would you say, “Hey, fire that guy?” No, I think not. Besides, this again goes back to: Politicians should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Wooten was married to her sister; he may (or may not have been) a bad guy; ugly divorce, etc. Don’t you think that Palin should have, at a minimum, thought this was going to be tricky?

    You don’t ascribe official misconduct to a public official on the basis of someone’s guesses.

    But you miss the point. Monegan just wasn’t some Joe off the street: he was the guy who Palin had contacts with who was directly responsible for disciplining Wooten. If Monegan makes this kind of assertion, I would think that one would at least take what he says seriously. The Alaskan State Legislature did, and now Palin’s own Attorney General is wants to depose her.

    In a court, that admission by Monegan would be the end of either civil or criminal charges. Of course, because this is pending before the Legislature — where there are no shortage of good old boys and cronies, both Republican and Democrat, whose plans and schemes have been upended by Gov. Palin already — there’s no such check, no guarantee of basic fairness.

    First of all, this may wind up in court. Secondly, this is how legislatures work in most states and indeed even the federal government: they are responsible for policing the Executive. Sure, politics always plays a part; but that’s the nature of the beast. This is politics, and this may wind up being a political crime which may cost Palin just as dearly as a legal crime.

    But this is just preposterous. If you haven’t reached that conclusion yet, it’s because you have an axe to grind that’s clouding your judgment

    Beldar, I live 2000 miles away from Alaska. I read the same papers you do. My judgment is simply that Palin used poor judgment in this case and appeared to act improperly, giving the Alaskan State Legislature a reason to investigate. It’s that simple. That’s politics. By the way, I don’t have an axe to grind; I don’t even have an axe.




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  40. Beldar says:

    Eric, you say this is only about Palin, and not about Wooten. That’s ridiculous. You can’t judge Gov. Palin in isolation.

    You also don’t understand what “prima facie case” means. Perhaps you’re not a lawyer, and perhaps you’re using that legal phrase in some lay sense that varies from its true meaning. But cases — unlike complaints — require evidence. Putting on a “prima facie case” means coming up with at least some evidence that, if believed, would establish every point that must be proved to find someone guilty (or, in a civil context, hold someone liable). Here, that means someone must first allege a specific way in which Gov. Palin abused her power; and then someone must bring evidence to back up that allegation. Without both, you don’t have a prima facie case. So far, there’s neither.

    And you seem to think there’s some sort of “political crime” separate and apart from abuse of power. You’re just making stuff up as you go, aren’t you? “Abuse of power” requires (a) power that is (b) abused. Voicing an opinion without voicing a threat is not a use of power; it cannot, therefore, be an abuse of power either.

    What people actually do say counts. If we’re talking about the Mafia, and there’s proof that there’s a common, indeed universal, colloquialism like “sleeps with the fishes” to mean “dead,” and you then further prove that the defendant told someone “I’m going to make sure you sleep with the fishes,” then yeah, you circumstantially prove a death threat. But there’s no proof — no pattern, for example, of previous Palin firings of officials — that what was said (Wooten is a bad example) could legitimately be interpreted as an unambiguous threat to fire Monegan. There’s a huge, gaping hole in the chain of causation.

    Under your standard, by threatening to kill Sarah Palin’s father, Wooten guaranteed absolute job security for himself and his boss, Monegan. Neither of them can be fired; neither of them can even be the subject of adverse comment, lest that be interpreted as a threat that someone’s to be fired. How whacked is that idea?

    You’re entitled to your judgment, of course. You’re not entitled to your own facts, and the facts show that (a) Wooten is a monster and (b) even so, no one ever threatened to fire Monegan. That’s where it should end.




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  41. sam says:

    Will you agree that the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party have a natural incentive to try to find some “scandal” to tar Sarah Palin with?

    Beldar, c’mon. Prior to McCain’s selection of Palin, she wasn’t even on Obama’s or the Democrats’ radar. Are you asking us to believe that they had a hand in an internal Alaskan matter concerning a person who’s selection by McCain caught them–and everyone else on the planet, evidently–completely by surprise?




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  42. anjin-san says:

    Wooten is a monster

    So the legislature is willing to investigate a sitting Governor simply because she fired a monster, child abuser rouge cop? As I said earlier, I doubt the situation is quite that simple.

    Given the involvement of her own family in the situation, it seems that Gov. Palin displayed, at the very least, poor judgment in not rescuing herself from this decision and letting whoever is next in line in this decision making process handle the case.

    There are some legitimate areas here for inquiry. If Palin acted properly, why is the right in such a hurry to sweep all this under the rug?




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  43. anjin-san says:

    I also find that simply saying “police unions” is a bit of a weak explanation for why Wooten has not (at least as far as I know) been arrested for what are, after all, very serious crimes. Beldar says that his guilt is not in question.

    Police unions after all, are organizations who’s members are police officers. Is it now the position of the McCain campaign that police in Alaska are all corrupt and will happily help rouge cops escape justice for serious crimes?




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  44. Beldar says:

    anjin-san: “Rouge” is a type of face make-up used to simulate blushing, which you ought to be doing if you continue to misspell that word.

    Republicans, including Gov. Palin, aren’t trying to “sweep this under the rug,” we’re trying to (a) expose it as the bogus, politically motivated nonsense that it is, and (b) see the investigation proceed swiftly to reach that same conclusion, which can be done well before the end of October.

    I don’t speak for the McCain campaign, and your basic honesty, or lack thereof, is revealed by your failure to note that I said I was stating my own opinion as to why Wooten’s not in jail.

    And finally … still waiting for you to either admit you fabricated your claim yesterday that Palin wants to ensure that contraceptives are unavailable, or to provide proof of that assertion. I’m not going to bother treating you as a person worth debating in good faith if you continuing ignoring this.




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  45. anjin-san says:

    And finally … still waiting for you to either admit you fabricated your claim yesterday that Palin wants to ensure that contraceptives are unavailable, or to provide proof of that assertion.

    I have seen a number postings to this effect, which I used as the basis for that comment, but not anything conclusive, so it is an open question at this point.

    Since you are getting picky about good faith debate, when are you going to respond to this?

    Any yet without knowing any of the facts, you are sure that Palin is culpable in some nefarious activity.

    Please either show where I said that, or cease trying to put words in my mouth.

    Your attempt to put words in my mouth seems to indicate, ya know, a basic lack of honesty, so, please spare us your indignation, you are dwelling in a glass house.

    As for typos/spelling… please.

    Now, let us know if YOUR position is that the law enforcement officer who are members of the the same union as Wooten are conspiring to help a rouge cop escape justice. Can you provide supporting evidence for this serious charge? Or are you just sliming officers who risk their lives on the job because it is politically expedient?




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  46. Beldar says:

    Sam: Here’s just <a href=”one prominent example, on July 22, 2008, from Markos “Screw Them” Moulitsas Zúñiga himself. Throughout the summer, the Kossacks often left comments on conservative or moderate blogs saying that Palin’s Veep chances were “dead” because of the “scandal.” (Pre-emptive attempts to poison the well.) Palin’s name has been floated as a possible McCain Veep choice since at least July 2007, when Fred Barnes wrote a lengthy profile of her for the Weekly Standard.




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  47. Beldar says:

    No, anjin-san, it’s not an “open question,” it’s an unsupported lie — until you prove otherwise.

    Your blockquote wasn’t from me.

    We’re done.




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  48. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anjin-son has always had issues with truth. I would ask, what part of tasered his 11 year old step son, you think qualifies a person to remain being a Highway Patrolman. I certainly hope you, Anjin, get to experience what it is like to be in the presence of a rogue (correctly spelled) Police Officer. If you will but supply and address, I am sure several would make that possiblity come true. Beldar, trying to communicate with Anjin is like, well, geting the truth from Daily Kos. It just ain’t going to happen.




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  49. sam says:

    Beldar, for crissakes. Are you asking me to believe that Kossacks=Obama Campaign, not to mention =DNC? From what I’ve read, the Obama campaign didn’t even have an attack file on her. I repeat, her appointment caught them, and everyone else, by surprise.




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  50. Alex Knapp says:

    Beldar,

    Will you agree that the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party have a natural incentive to try to find some “scandal” to tar Sarah Palin with?

    Of that I have no doubt.

    Final question: Do you honestly think that whoever McCain picked, the Dems wouldn’t have found some quote-unquote “scandal” to immediately launch into? Lives or breathes there anyone who is utterly incapable of even being alleged to be crooked?

    Beldar, I don’t doubt this for a second. I know you’re honest and if, with the facts available to you, you don’t think there’s a lot of there there, I’m happy to accept that until such time as I have a spare couple hours to actually look at it myself–I trust your judgment.

    I agree that allegations of some type of “scandal” are inevitable to politics, just like association with scumbags is inevitable to politics, which is why I don’t put much stock in Keating, Rezko, etc.

    That said, I have to question the wisdom of McCain’s choice of Palin while she’s under an active investigation. We don’t have all the facts yet. Right now, it may look like Palin really didn’t do much of consequence, but who knows what the next subpoena will bring? Plus, you have to add in the fact that most voters aren’t going to know the nuances. If Palin is called to be deposed, most people are just going to see a woman they barely know as VP testifying in an investigation against her and that’s it. They’re not going to dig that much deeper into it–and I don’t see how that helps McCain.

    Bains,

    If I found both to be solid candidates, I would look at what the allegation was, by whom it was made, and whether or know my candidate was responding appropriately. Again, if it were a solid candidate, I would expect to find the allegation facile, the accuser political motivated, and an ongoing investigation beyond reproach. And in looking at the facts, which you and anjin-san seem studiously committed to avoid (they are linked in this very thread) you would indeed find very little there there.

    Bains, would you agree that most people aren’t going to look at the facts? That most people are just going to see that she’s involved in some kind of investigation? If you have another solid candidate under your belt who isn’t under investigation, why would you pick the one who is?

    Of course, as a devoted Obama supporter Alex, I suspect you’ll still find things about which to gnash your partisan teeth.

    *laughs* I’m not nearly as pro-Obama as I am anti-McCain, but I’m not going to deny that I have some preconceptions. You have to understand, too, Bains, that a lot of criticism of Obama gets posted by James before I have a chance to see it. As the only author on the site who’s definitely decided for Obama, I know it might look like I’m slavish about him, but I really do have issues with him (for one, I’m not a big fan of the Biden choice for VP–I was rooting for Sebelius, for another, I think his anti-free trade views are problematic)–it’s just that given the nature of this platform the anti-Obama stuff is handled pretty well by my co-authors, so when I write here I’m a little more focused on countering anti-Obama arguments. If that’s all you see, I can see how you might think that I’m being partisan, but the fact of the matter is that Obama is only the second Democrat I’ve ever voted for, and I’m actually voting for the Republican against the Democratic incumbent in my House district this year.




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  51. anjin-san says:

    it’s not an “open question,” it’s an unsupported lie

    You mean like your assertation that Wooten’s police union is what has kept him out of jail to this point?




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  52. anjin-san says:

    No, anjin-san, it’s not an “open question,” it’s an unsupported lie — until you prove otherwise.

    Your blockquote wasn’t from me.

    We’re done.

    My mistake. I await a response from Bains.




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  53. bains says:

    Bains, would you agree that most people aren’t going to look at the facts?

    Undoubtedly. Therein lays a good part of the problem – established narrative, and the good faith efforts (or lack thereof) of those seeking to provide factual news. The allegation is abuse of power. But if you follow the story, you find no-friend-of-Palin Anchorage Activist offering this:

    The tough part is trying to sort out how much smoke and how much fire there is to this mess. Personally, I don’t get a sense that the Palin Administration is corrupt; instead, I think they’re ignorant, naive, and parochial.

    Getting back to the narrative includiing yours, no where in the narrative is the fact that this State Trooper Mike Wooten really is not a good person. Instead, you temper your post with the anti-Palin statements and qoutes:

    alleged actions regarding the firing of her ex-brother-in-law.

    …Walt Monegan, who claims he balked at pressure to remove Trooper Mike Wooten, who had an acrimonious divorce from Palin’s sister.[no mention why it was acrimonious]

    Let’s also leave out any discussion over whether or not she actually committed the crimes she is alleged to have committed…

    One might think you are banking on, “people aren’t going to look at the facts” given the narrative you have set forth. But thanks to Beldar and Flopping Aces the narrative of nefarious activities as suggested by many of the left are revealed as mostly without merit.

    Alex, I think you’d find a good 80% of the GOP base mildly to aggressively anti-McCain. And that, in large part, is why so many view Palin favorably. Now you have been trying to make the case for Obama (which suggests that you are as likely pro-Obama as you are anti-McCain) that I have found unpersuasive. In fact, I’ve found no cogent, fact based argument that demonstrates Obama has been able to accomplish, as elected legislator, that which he has publically promised. (Snark alert – sure seems he provided for those willing to invest, and I mean really invest in his status as politician.)

    As objectionable as I find McCain, Obama (and Biden) worry me more. McCain will likely blow it on many issues (and many of the same ones Obama is wrong), but on several key issues, he has a proven record, according to my standards, of being superior. I’d prefer Romney nominating judges, but I’d much rather have more Sandra Day O’Conners than Ruth Bader Ginsburgs.

    And for what it is worth, Alex, I have bookmarked your site because I do find your defenses of Obama more credible than many others including many of those on your blogroll. (Blogrolls are always the first place I look to evaluate the veracity and acumen of a blogger.)




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  54. just me says:

    Anjin-you admit ignorance on this issue, yet you continue to discuss without educating yourself, when there are plenty of places to go for education.

    I spent a while yesterday afternoon sorting through the claims-from both democratic and republican leaning bloggers.

    The Floppingaces website linked above has a very good timeline with a lot of links to original sources-so even if you don’t care for some of the commentary, the links are worth reading.

    Beldar also has a lot of links to original sources.

    Like I said above, in the end I don’t think this scandal is going to do much to hurt Palin. For one thing too many people will identify with her situation. When the investigation started she was a sister looking to protect her sister and children from an abusive man.

    As for why no actual criminal charges were made-that might be interesting to ask those investigating. But the charges were found to be true in the investigation (go read the links at floppingaces-there is a link to the actual letter annoucing what charges they found him in violation of and the 10 day suspension).




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  55. James says:

    Governor Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Whether brother-in-law Wooten did or did not do what he was alleged to have done is irrelevant to the abuse of power charge. There are legal remedies to removing a rogue police officer, and that’s as it should be. Those legal remedies are in place in part to prevent vindictive but powerful people from abusing their power. That was Monegan’s point, and for that he was fired by Palin, and replaced with a man who only lasted two weeks in the job.

    Those who would jump to Palin’s defense would be more credible if they displayed a passing acquaintance with the facts of the case.




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  56. anjin-san says:

    Just Me

    You bring up some reasonable points. Everything else aside I think Eric has nailed the core issue in this discussion, which is that this is not even about Wooten, who may well be a scumbag.

    The question I keep coming back to is why Palin did not do what any good executive and honest reformer would do, which is recuse herself from a situation which gives even a hint of conflict of interest or impropriety.

    With her family involved in this mess, the Governor did not belong anywhere near the decision to fire Wooten. A good executive has competent backup at hand and knows when to hand off to them.




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  57. bains says:

    Awaiting what anjin-san? I’m not putting words into your mouth, nor misquoting you. I did what you occasionally do yourself, namely taking suggestive rhetoric to a hyperbolic conclusion. It is my impression of what is at the heart of your argument.

    Admittedly, it could be overwrought, and I could be wrong. Is it not a big problem when indulging in hyperbole?




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  58. bains says:

    Governor Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

    Yeah, and she appointed him as well, you know, kinda like he serves at her discretion.




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  59. Eric says:

    Beldar, I’m going to address your points one by one, then I want add a few thoughts at the end.

    Eric, you say this is only about Palin, and not about Wooten. That’s ridiculous. You can’t judge Gov. Palin in isolation.

    I haven’t judged Palin in isolation. Wooten may have been the cause of Palin’s questionable interference, but this case rests primarily on Monegan’s termination. As I said above, Wooten was disciplined according to departmental procedures. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The executive should not be interfering in this.

    You also don’t understand what “prima facie case” means. Perhaps you’re not a lawyer…

    I am not a lawyer. Are you? In any case, I admit my use of “prima facie” was a bit loose. What I mean by that, and I think what most people (non-lawyers) understand by that phrase, is basically sufficient evidence or serious enough questions exist such that an investigation was warranted. This may not meet the legal definition of “prima facia,” but this isn’t exactly in the law courts yet. I still stand by my assertion, however, that the appearance of political interference was serious enough that the Alaskan State Legislature decided to investigate, after which Palin “requested” her Attorney General to investigate as well.

    And you seem to think there’s some sort of “political crime” separate and apart from abuse of power.

    Again, perhaps my terminology was a bit loose. Or maybe I was being too nuanced for you to understand. By “political crime” I meant “political offense.” A political offense is something for which one suffers impeachment or reduced political power in some way. You do not go to jail. Going to jail means you broke a law. Now, Palin may wind up legally innocent of abuse of power, but the Alaskan State Legislature could move against her anyway under that pretext. That’s what I meant.

    Under your standard, by threatening to kill Sarah Palin’s father, Wooten guaranteed absolute job security for himself and his boss, Monegan.

    Absolutely not. You miss the point. Again. The issue at hand is political interference (i.e., abuse of power). Wooten was disciplined according to departmental policy. Palin is alleged to have tried to go beyond that by having Wooten fired; and when Monegan didn’t play ball, she fired him.

    You’re entitled to your judgment, of course. You’re not entitled to your own facts, and the facts show that (a) Wooten is a monster and (b) even so, no one ever threatened to fire Monegan. That’s where it should end.

    As you are entitled to your own judgment. But it doesn’t matter if Wooten was a monster. The simple fact of the matter is that Wooten was disciplined according to departmental procedures. End of discussion. You may hate the guy, but you do not have the right (morally or otherwise) to abrogate those procedures. As James said above, those procedures are in place precisely to keep them objective and immune to political whim.

    The bottom line here is as I’ve said, and many others in this post have maintained: that Palin should have stayed away from this situation. Yes, that means that you can’t summarily fire the scumbag. In that kind of situation, you let the procedures in place dictate the punishment, and that’s that. Didn’t like the result? Then you get a restraining order, file a lawsuit, avail yourself of other legal remedies. But becoming governor and working behind the scenes to extract more punishment, well, that could quite easily be construed as abuse of power.

    Moreover, I know the executive authority argument is quite a fetish for conservatives, but unfortunately the governor, or any executive cannot set the rules aside at will. This is the case in any state, not just Alaska. There are polices and procedures that are followed. Period. It doesn’t matter if she was the chief Lord High Muckety-Muck. Like I said about Nixon above, sure, you can fire the guy–but if it looks suspicious, then people are gonna start asking questions. It doesn’t matter if Palin was his boss and “serves at his pleasure.” That’s why policies and procedures are followed, to avoid this very situation that Palin is now in.

    Beldar, your arguments are more than a little myopic. At the same time your asking us to believe Wooten is evil, you’re asking us not to prejudge Palin. But the funny thing is, no one has prejudged her. At least not me. All I’ve ever maintained is that politicians have to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. If the Executive gives the Legislature–which is constitutionally responsible for policing the Executive!–a reason to investigate you, the Legislature will do so. Right or wrong, this is how the levers of government work. So, on that score, this situation was easily avoidable by Palin. Yes, the scumbag keeps his job. But at least she wouldn’t be under investigation.

    Ultimately, this is what the “rule of law” means. That everyone is accountable, even the Governor.




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  60. anjin-san says:

    Any yet without knowing any of the facts, you are sure that Palin is culpable in some nefarious activity.

    Hyperbole aside, here is my opinion. I think that, based on what I know, she has shown poor executive judgment and performance, which at least open the door to charges of abuse of power.

    as for why he’s not in prison, in my opinion the answer is: Police Unions.

    This is a pretty serious charge. After all, Wooten is, according to you “a monster”. You are saying that folks who serve in uniform are conspiring to keep this man from answering for serious crimes. Do you have anything to back this up?




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  61. bains says:

    Alex, let me draw a very fine point on why you see massive base support for Sarah Palin.

    She is my wife… She is my sister… And I hope she is my daughter.

    And all three are at worst, my equal!




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  62. Bithead says:

    That said, I have to question the wisdom of McCain’s choice of Palin while she’s under an active investigation

    Hey, there we go. We can simply lay some BS charges up against Biden, and they’ll get a timely investigation going, huh? Or would they stuff it under the carpet until after the election where it will die a quiet death? Doesn’t the timing of this coming up after years in the making strike you as just a bit odd?

    I mean, think, Alex… Your comments about Rezko etc to one side, what you suggest in this case precludes the politically motivated investigation…. which I think this to be.

    Aside: You should know you’ve come up quite a bit in my estimation with your response to Beldar. You’re at least open to the idea. That places you several levels above most people I’ve discussed politics with in my 25 some odd years online, including a few in here.

    I suspect and suppose that once you investigate this Wooten thing… as I have… you’ll understand there isn’t any ‘there’ there, and the timing of the thing being ramped up is quite politically motivated… and is in fact part of the vitriol coming from the left just now over Palin. I’ve said it before, and will say it again… this is a fear reaction from the Democrats. They’re doing anything and everything they can…

    As an example… I’d quietly suggest one of the things you investigate is where the politics of the Police Unions up there are, particularly the ones Wooten paid dues into and who are currently ‘defending’ him… Specifically, where their dues money is going… to what party…

    Do the math.




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  63. Alex Knapp says:

    Bithead,

    If Joe Biden were under investigation right now, I’d say Obama was an idiot for making him a VP pick. One thing I should have mentioned in this story was the time line–talks of deposing Palin happened BEFORE her mention as a VP pick, and according to the Republican leadership in Alaska, nobody from the McCain campaign questioned the local GOP there about Palin or vetted her in anyway. I find that a little nervewracking.

    Frankly, from a political standpoint, I don’t think it matters whether Palin did something wrong or not–while it’s under investigation and there’s the potential for new facts to come to light, I think that that VP pick is a bad decision.

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it at OTB, but I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I think Biden was a bad choice, because I would not want him to be President. The bankruptcy bill he spearheaded was a horrible sop to the credit card companies, and he’s one of the biggest drug warriors there is. I’m not a fan.

    As for the police unions, I’m busy enough trying to get abreast of this issue. However, given the nature of the Alaskan political establishment, I would not be surprised to find that the local GOP didn’t have quite a big stake in the police unions. Democrats are pretty weak in the state. But I don’t know. Haven’t looked it up.




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  64. Boyd says:

    Sorry for the late reply, Alex.

    To answer your question, given that I’ve been learning as much as I can about Governor Palin since about April (thanks to Beldar), I have to honestly say yes, were I in McCain’s position, I would also have picked Governor Palin.

    He’s been vetting her since February. I’ve been “vetting” her since April. I’ve known about this investigation for months. I’m much happier with this selection than I would have been with Pawlenty, and Romney would have been an awful pick for more reasons than there are decimals for the value of Pi.




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  65. Alex Knapp says:

    Boyd,

    I agree with you that Pawlenty and Romney would have been awful picks. As for Palin, I’m just going to go with “agree to disagree” at this point.




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  66. Brian K says:

    She is my wife… She is my sister… And I hope she is my daughter

    So, your support of her is because she’s a woman? Her policies are just a rationale for you and are not important for themselves? How else should I interpret this?

    I’m sure this is exactly why McCain chose her.




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  67. just me says:

    I think the problem is that nominations and elections are finite in time. If you investigate the goings on, and they look to be trumped up politics, and that is the person you most want on the ticket with you-you do not have the option of waiting for the investigation to go away-by the time it is all over so is the nomination process and the presidential election.

    The reality here is that Palin is cooperating fully-without subpeona. The charges have come from people with an obvious ax to grind. The guy she supposedly put pressure on says he was never asked by anyone to actually fire the guy. The only conversations Palin personally had were when she first became governor and they were discussing security details. And Anjin San whether you think she should have said anything or not, knowing that the governor has a crazy brother in law who is a cop and threatened to kill her father and destroy the governor is probably something worth discussing with the guy who heads up the security details wouldn’t you think?

    Time will tell whether this was a good pick or not, I still like the woman. I like what she stands for, and I think her willingness to take on corruption from her own party is exactly the direction our government needs to go. And that is part of the problem-when you take on your own party you build a lot more enemies especially in a state controlled by the corrupt portion of the party.

    That fact should be considered in the midst of this investigation as well.




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  68. Bithead says:

    As for the police unions, I’m busy enough trying to get abreast of this issue.

    No doubt. Reason I bring it up, though, is I’ve always figured the political attachments of all the players to be foundationally important to any investigation like this. Were it otherwise, I’d have looked at Ted Stevens as a possible source of this nonsense… retaliation for bringing the man’s misdeeeds into the open as she did. Given his connections, I’d not put it past the man.

    As it is, I think you’ll find the GOP in Alaska, Stevens included, as in other states, wants nothing to do with the union movements.

    The reality here is that Palin is cooperating fully-without subpeona. The charges have come from people with an obvious ax to grind.

    And there it is, my friends.




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  69. bains says:

    So, your support of her is because she’s a woman?

    No. but I will admit I went a lot Sully with my comment. I had just gotten of the phone with my sister. The point I was getting at is that both men and women face different problems, as well as shared problems. What is key is how they face those problems, and what the outcomes are. The women in my life are all strong, level-headed problem solvers. And so is Sarah Palin.

    Trivial attacks resonate negatively because I’ve seen trivial, and yes, misogynist attacks upon women dear to me. And so have most Americans.




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  70. Beldar says:

    Sam, re whether the Obama campaign and the DNC were surprised by the Palin pick, I offer this reporting from Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic (emphasis mine):

    Did the Palin pick surprise Barack Obama’s campaign?

    Yes. They believed the media for one in their lives and it turned out to be a mistake. Though the Democratic National Committee had a research folder prepared for Palin, the VP rapid response team read up on Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Joe Biden all week. The Obama campaign was caught by surprise and scrambled to figure out the best way to respond. By the end of Friday, they seemed to have settled on a two-pronged response: Obama, Biden and the campaign would be respectful and Democratic allies would aggressively peddle research to the media, simultaneously trying to convey the impression that they respect the historic nature of the pick while doing their best to discredit Palin.

    So the DNC was prepared, and the Obama campaign squandered that preparation, if this is to be believed. But it can’t be said that the Obama campaign wasn’t aware of her as at least a possible choice.




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  71. Kate0 says:

    Eric, I see that you have engaged Beldar in a lengthy debate, including this exchange.

    You also don’t understand what “prima facie case” means. Perhaps you’re not a lawyer…

    I am not a lawyer. Are you?

    Just a friendly hint, but you might take a look at Beldar’s blog and find out who, and what, he is before you go any further down that road.




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  72. Eric says:

    Eric, I see that you have engaged Beldar in a lengthy debate, including this exchange.

    Thanks, Kate. I’m sure Beldar knows his legal stuff, but I still feel he’s being rather myopic, burying himself in perhaps relevant details but missing the overall point: that Palin should have stayed away from Wooten, even though she may have been his “boss” in some sense, and simply been satisfied with the discipline that the departmental policies and procedures meted out (or sought redress via some other legal proces). Palin invited this controversy on herself by at a minimum appearing to act inappropriately.

    Wooten may be a scumbag, but that is ultimately irrelevant to the investigation over Palin. Being a lawyer, Beldar should understand that.




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  73. anjin-san says:

    Beldar…

    I note that even though you have now produced several volumes of posts regarding Palin, you have not produced even a single sentence supporting serious charges you make against Wooten’s police union.

    Guess its one of those “unsupported lies”…




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  74. Bithead says:

    I have seen a number postings to this effect, which I used as the basis for that comment, but not anything conclusive, so it is an open question at this point.

    What would your reaction be if I said that?

    Pathetic, Anjin.




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  75. anjin-san says:

    What would your reaction be if I said that?

    My reaction would be that Bit has made yet another in a very, very long series of unsupported statements.

    If it it pathetic, why do you do it so often bub?




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  76. anjin-san says:

    Since Beldar is an attorney, perhaps he can join the team of GOP attorneys that is racing to Alaska as we speak to do a bit more complete job of vetting than was done in the first place.

    While we are not quite into Eagleton territory, I would imagine that something akin to full blown panic is taking place at RNC HQ…




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  77. bains says:

    Since Beldar is an attorney, perhaps he can join the team of GOP attorneys that is racing to Alaska as we speak to do a bit more complete job of vetting than was done in the first place.

    Taking rhetoric to a hyperbolic conclusion. And you called me on this tactic just recently…




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  78. anjin-san says:

    nahhh, just having some fun. But it does seem clear that Palin was not adequately vetted…




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  79. Michael says:

    A couple of questions for Belder, which I believe will help give us all some perspective on this:

    1.) Is extra-judicial punishment of criminals ever acceptable? If so, is there a line and where do you draw it?

    2.) Is firing somebody you can legally fire, solely for failing to comply with an illegal request, ever acceptable? If so, is there a line and where do you draw it?

    If your answer to both the above is “No”, then whether or not the trooper was proven scum, and whether or not Palin could legally fire somebody, is all totally beside the point.




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  80. Michael says:

    But it can’t be said that the Obama campaign wasn’t aware of her as at least a possible choice.

    We all knew she was a possible candidate. We had discussions about this very case like a week before she was picked. It isn’t a sudden realization on anybody’s party.




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