Posted by MataHarley on 4 September, 2008 at 10:52 pm. 24 comments already!

For background on this ever updating story, see
Trooper’Gate: beating the MSM to the truth” and
Left falsely accuses Palin of “refusing to testify”

As the Obama supporters blanket the Internet with bits and pieces of suggested scandal to combat America’s enthusiams for Sarah Palin, the fuel is Trooper’gate for the most misinformation and, more importantly, mischaracterizations.

The accusers were off and running on a legislative investigation with endlessly morphing charges in the media, and an undetermined, unnamed group of suspects. They had witness interviews scheduled, and a planned date for the release of their findings… Oct 31, … four days before the Presidential election. Obviously a target date with deliberate political ramifications.

But the players in the game may have increased. On the defendents’ side, we have the already known Palin and special assistant, Frank Bailey. But some new names who may come on to the ice from the penalty box: Ivy Frye, another special assistant to Palin, Todd Palin himself, Commissioner of Labor Click Bishop, Administration Commissioner Annette Krietzer and Kris Perry (the last name haven’t ID’d yet, but assumed to be part of the PSEA).

The accusers are Dem Sen. Hollis French, ex Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, and spurred on by “also ran” gubernatorial loser, Andrew Halcro. Their sights are trained on Sarah Palin, and all remain targets to just that aim.

Every one of these charges are traced back to one man – Mike Wooten… Sarah Palin’s ex-brother in law, and the “trooper” of Trooper’gate.

This is truly ironic when you consider Wooten as the central “wounded” figure… by all accounts, a man who should never be an armed law enforcement officer. One can’t help but get a bit queasy about this odd political witch hunt when you know he is the fourth man waging open season on the Palins. He is also the man passing information to Halcro.

Wooten, according to Palin’s recently leaked emails to Monegan, has stated he would bring Sarah and her family down”.

[Note: The above article discusses the leaked Palin emails to Monegan. They mention the questionable character of Wooten as an AST when, I believe, Alaska was entertaining a bill INRE gun ownership and mental disabilities. However none seem to reveal any pressure on Monegan to fire Wooten. The full text of the emails have not been made available, to my knowledge. They are a moot point, IMHO…]

While all under suspicion have intentions of cooperating, Palin – fearing a less than impartial review – launched an investigation thru Alaska’ AG, Talis Colberg early August.

And she had good reason.

First, Sen. French selected independent counsel Steve Branchwater, with his too-close-for-comfort ties to Walt Monegan. Then French was publicly suggesting impeachment to the media.

Colberg said his office’s review began after state Sen. Hollis French was quoted in The Wall Street Journal about two weeks ago saying the governor could be impeached as a result of the probe. That raised questions about how impartial the Legislature’s investigation was going to be, according to the governor’s office.

“The governor, I think, was looking for what this meant when Sen. French was making the statements he did,” Colberg said Tuesday. “And we were trying to give her a better idea of what this could possibly mean. So we’re just trying to do a prudent inquiry to cover her options.”

Even today, Sen French is quoted saying, “It’s likely to be damaging to the Governor’s administration.”

By all appearances, Palin’s suspicions of a less than fair and impartial investigation are warranted. The “bi-partisan” legislators are not necessarily those pleased with the Governor’s crack down on spending and corruption.

Since the outcome has already been publicly pre’determined by Sen. French, and the sense of an impartial review seemed to diminish with each day, bringing more slanderous charges in headlines world wide, Palin decided to legally fight for the neutral battleground that governs investigations into ethics violations in Alaska… the three man Personnel Board.

And I, for one, don’t blame her one bit. In her stilettos, I’d do exactly the same.

On August 29th, 2008, Thomas Van Flein sent a letter to Independent Counsel for Sen. French, Steve Branchwater introducing himself as Palin’s legal counsel. Sen. French was not CC’d on this letter.

On Sept 1st, a letter came in response… not from Branchwater, but from Sen. French, himself. French’s letter was directly to Van Flein, CC’d to no one… not even his own legal counsel, Branchwater.

Certainly, you should read the correspondence yourself, but I’ll summarize the back and forths here, using blockquotes not for accurate lift/paste, but for visual ease.

PALIN: COUNSEL TO BRANCHWATER: Van Flein, as Palin’s legal representative, is writing relative to the “Legislative Council’s investigation into the termination of Mr. Monegan, the alleged Executive Branch Ethics violation, and the alleged Personnel Act violation.” He promises Palin will cooperate with a fair inquiry, and that statutes places such investigations under the personnel board. He suggests that since this is state law, he assumes Branchwater will have no objection.

SEN FRENCH: French says the Dept of Law did not advise him/them that Palin appointed legal counsel. And given the “nature of your letter”, French felt he should reply instead of Branchwater. (no legal reasons why given….)

French then says he doesn’t agree with the jurisdiction, as there would have to be a “complaint” before the Board could have jurisdiction… and there is no complaint. If there were a complaint, the Board is confidential until they can determine there is a finding of probable cause.

French then says the Legislature has it’s own authority to investigate potential violations of law by members of the Executive Branch. He then suggests Palin appears to be challenging the Legislature’s authority.

PALIN COUNSEL TO BRANCHWATER: Van Flein is asking for discovery… ala evidence in the possession of Branchwater INRE the charges… as there is an informal agreement to share all independently obtained data with all parties. He assures Branchwater he will do the same.

He states the AG is forwarding info already collected and shared by Branchwater, and requests copies of all other evidence (i.e. witness statements, complaints, witness lists, etal). Van Flein also points out that Branchwater’s communication with Sen. French were not expected, as they were confidential under attorney/client privilege.

Van Flein wants to set up a meeting with Branchwater to review legal calendars (it is, afterall, coming into hunting season and witnesses may be unavailable… :0). He states that Branchwater should have no ex parte communications with members of the Governor’s office, and that they will not make any attempts to contact Branchwater’s client, Sen. French.

SEN FRENCH: … refuses Van Flein any evidence saying I think you would agree it would be highly unusual for an investigator to share information with one of the targets of the investigation. I am unaware of any precedent for such an arrangement.” [Mata Musing… how about Gitmo? Oh, right… even terrorists have access to information…]

He then states that since the AG is conducting his own investigation, Van Flein will be limited to that information only.

In addition, French said he will instruct Branchwater to continue on his schedule for witness interview as planned. And I quote, It is very important that the interview take place as previously arranged by Mr. Branchwater. Delays in witness interview will jeopardize the timely conclusion of this investigation.”

French then threatens to convene the Judicial Committee and demand supoenas if Van Flein attempts any delay.

Well, French may be determined to run his legislative witch hunt, but he cannot avoid the Board involvement now. So he’d better get busy on those supoenas if he wants to keep his release date, picked to smear Palin right before voters go to the ballot.

The very day French responded, Van Flein was filing Palin’s “Ethic Disclosure” with the AG, effectively opening the door to review under Alaska’s ethics violation laws, with oversight by the Personnel Board. Additionally, in that Disclosure, Palin waived the confidential review of the complaint, and requested it be open to scrutiny.

The Board is now a new battlefield for the investigation – and one that can operate on a shorter schedule to determine if there is anything to the charges. And just to make French’s life more complicated, Frank Bailey has also backed out of his scheduled interviews after learning that Palin was moving the fight to the legal battleground for ethics charges.

Palin’s disclosure was specific to Monegan’s termination… the most commonly known charge circulating the Internet. As the Anchorage Daily News reported yesterday:

The 13-page document gives Palin’s view of a controversy that’s dogged her for weeks in Alaska. Questions about whether she or others in her family or administration pressured Monegan to fire her ex-brother-in-law, state Trooper Mike Wooten, are now getting intense national attention with her newfound prominence on the national stage. Republican Sen. John McCain announced Friday that she’s his pick to be vice president.

Under state law, the board must hire an independent counsel for complaints against the governor to determine whether evidence of a violation of the state ethics act exists.

“Governor Palin believes it will find no conceivable violation of the Ethics Act,” her complaint says. She wants the investigation “to put these matters to rest.”

Now another development. The California Chronicle reports a second ethics complaint will be lodged against Palin by end of day, Sept 4th, 2008.

New ethic´s complaint is being filed against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin today before the end of the business day. The complaint outlines misconduct by the Gov. and her office staff alleging records where improperly made public.

John Cyr of Wasilla, Alaska the Executive Director of Public Safety Employees (PSEA) told the Laguna Journal that “our attorney Steve Sorenson of Juneau Alaska will file the compliant before the end of the business day today.” The grievances will include the illegal release of records of Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten the former brother-in-law of the governor, according to Mr. Cyr.

The Chronicle’s article recycles the usual Halcro charges, as if they were already true. But it was this one paragraph I found interesting… a new direction for the charge. And this is, I believe, because it was nigh on impossible to nail Palin for terminating Monegan. The Commissioner himself admitted she had never pressured him to fire Wooten. (see previous Trooper’gate posts for links).

If Palin has all the charges the legislature wants to address lodged in front of the Board, they can make a clean sweep of it all at once – halting all the mud being slung by French and company more expeditiously.

These latest charges are related to what is alleged as unauthorized release of confidential information from Wooten’s medical files. The man who is at the center of that information leak is Frank Bailey… already on administrative leave by Palin for his unauthorized actions. Bailey is already on record, under oath, that Palin never instructed him to act on her behalf INRE Wooten when speaking with Commissioner Monegan. So why do they believe they can tie Palin to these medical records?

Again, we come back to Halcro. He points directly to Bailey as the leak of Wooten’s medical information, and weaves a convoluted (and I quote) theory as to just how Bailey came into possession of that file.

Workers compensation files are kept in the Department of Labor. Workers condition and treatment information is confidential and is protected by federal privacy laws called HIPAA. Bailey should have never seen that file let alone be talking about the files contents to another employee.

So again, if the files are confidential and are kept in the Department of Labor, how would that information be released to Frank Bailey?

The Commissioner of the Department of Labor is Click Bishop. He was appointed by Governor Palin in 2007 after serving as an administrator for the Alaska Operating Engineers/Employers Training Trust and he has a close relationship with Todd Palin.

According to state travel documents, Todd and Click have made several state paid trips together to promote work force development. Do you think the issue of Wooten’s workers compensation file could have come up?

After all, phone logs show Todd Palin made three calls to Ivy Frye just hours before Bailey’s phone call to Trooper Dial and then was included in the flurry of emails that followed.

I’m beginning to think this guy spent too many eves reading Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”….

Halcro’s accusations have now widened to include Todd Palin as a primary player in his carefully woven, political thriller. A novel of his construct that has as it’s hero, Mike Wooten.

To base such a theory on phone calls by Todd to Palin’s assistant strikes me as odd. Don’t they have regular communications on everything from the family to schedule? So why would these conversations be unusual?

Another day may bring more information. But one thing is certain. When Alaska’s convention delegates created their Constitution, one of their biggest concerns in their Declaration of Rights was specifically named…. legislative investigations.

From Article I, Section 7, on Due Process:

“Due process” demands justice and fair play at the hands of authority. The Alaska Supreme Court has said: “The term ‘due process of law’ is not susceptible to a precise definition or reduction to a mathematical formula. But in the course of judicial decisions it has come to express a basic concept of justice under law” (Bachner v. Pearson, 479 P.2d 319, 1970).

~~~

The second sentence in this section appears only in Alaska’s constitution. The convention delegates wanted the principle of due process extended explicitly to legislative proceedings. This was done in reaction to the blustering anticommunist investigations of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the mid-1950s that violated basic principles of fair treatment which are well-established in judicial proceedings.

With a legislative effort, joining Wooten in his quest to “take down Sarah”,
the Alaska founding delegates must have had Sarah Palin in mind.

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