Posted by MataHarley on 10 September, 2008 at 10:55 am. 25 comments already!


More Trooper’gate background posts here

The Alaskan legislation investigation of Palin’s “Trooper’gate” has been underway for about six weeks… but when it comes to efficiency, they pale by comparison to the expediency of Gov. Palin’s Anchorage attorney, Thomas Van Flein.

As of five days ago, Van Flein had already interviewed two witnesses that were at the heart of the damaging accusations. Frank Bailey is central to both charges… exerting pressure on Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire AST Mike Wooten, plus accusations he leaked private medical information from Wooten’s fire. Bailey’s recorded statements remain the same as previously accounted… that the Governor, nor her family or administration, never asked him to pressure Monegan or interfere in the process. Bailey remains on paid administrative leave.

The other interviewee? Michael Monagle of the Labor Dept’s Workers’ Compensation Division, and the keeper of Wooten’s medical file.

Monagle said that in regard to the controversy, there were rumors on the Internet that the governor or her office had requested Wooten’s workers’ compensation file.

“Absolutely not” true, said Monagle, who said that the file is “in my office in a locked file cabinet” for safekeeping.

Despite the hefty headstart for the legislative investigation, Indy Counsel Steve Branchflower has yet to interview even Mike Wooten himself. Since it was only Sept 1st that Van Flein stepped in as Palin’s Counsel and filed Ethics Disclosures to open the Personnel Board procedure, one can only marvel at the legislative investigation’s lack of speed. They had ample time to obtain the interviews prior to Sept 1st.

Per the Mike Quinn AP article appearing in The Frontiersman, Wooten says the tabloids are hot on his trail with cash offers for “the story”.

Speaking cautiously and in measured tones, Wooten said he refuses to “throw stones” at the Palin family or his ex-wife, Molly. He said he’s turned down cash offers, well into the tens of thousands, from tabloid newspapers for interviews.

“I’m not going to tell them story they want. I’m going to tell the truth,” he said.

Wooten, who is in his eighth year with the state troopers, said he’s learned from a 2005 investigation that led to his five-day suspension and has not had a complaint filed against him since. He works as a field training officer.

Wooten has been making the circuit in a lower profile, and represents himself as a redeemed man from past mistakes. He may very well be. We all have to remenber that the heat of the times was four years ago. Add to that the accusations that Palin was abusing her power as Governor commenced approx three years after those events, and Monegan’s termination – supposedly for not firing Wooten – did not happen until she was a year and a half into her term. Not exactly the sign of a woman on a quest.

Still today, liberal/progressive media and Obama activist talking points focus on the legislative investigation, while ignoring the process of dealing with ethics violations against the administrative branch per Alaskan law. Their argument? The Personnel Board is appointed by the Governor, and they believe the Personnel Board’s investigation is biased.

Again the anti-Palin activists remain clueless. The existing Board members are all originally appointed by the Murkowski administration, prior to Palin’s term. Only Debra English’s term came up for renewal in Jan 2008, and was reappointed by Palin. However all are picks of a Governor and administration fraught with charges of corruption… and no friend of Sarah Palin’s.

But let’s look at that “unfair” Board investigation and see the duality of their arguments. Just what happens in Alaska if an ethics complaint is lodged against a sitting or former lawmaker?

Per the Alaska Legislature’s site on complaint procedures for ethics:


The House Subcommittee hears complaints against representatives, former representatives, and employees of representatives and committees of the House, chaired by representatives. The Senate Subcommittee hears complaints against senators, former senators and employees of senators and committees of the Senate, chaired by senators. The full Ethics Committee considers complaints against employees of legislative agencies, joint committees and the public members and employees of the Ethics Committee.

My my… lookie there. When a House or Senate representative faces ethics changes, they are judged and penalized by the same legislative body. Surely isn’t this what they complain of with the Personnel Board? The ol’ coyote guarding the hen house syndrome?

Where is the outrage there? The hypocritical argument is breathtaking. When Coghill sent a letter to Elton requesting that French be replaced for his pre’determination of Palin’s guilt to the press, Obama supporter Elton refused, stating confidence French will be politically unbiased. Tho Coghill may make another appeal to Elton, it’s unlikely to result in any other decision.

Imagine if one wanted to file an ethics charge against Elton or French… look who would be the judge.

With the two main charges being pressure on Monegan, and the leak of Wooten’s private medical information, Van Flein’s testimony by both Bailey and Monagle on record represent more than a serious speedbump to the legislative process. He’s performed brillantly in demanding the Personnel Board process as the primary… and should be the sole… investigation, as per Alaskan law.

Van Flein wants the state personnel board to conduct the probe, not the legislature. The board members are gubernatorial appointees. Van Flein said he has already provided the board the depositions of two witnesses he has questioned, leaving the legislature in the dark.

The legal tactic of pre-emptive questioning gives the governor a distinct advantage in the controversy because it means that she already knows at the outset the detailed accounts of potential witnesses against her. The procedure also locks important witnesses into the accounts they give. If the witnesses provide statements now that are favorable to Palin, the witnesses’ credibility could be called into question if they make statements in the future that are unfavorable to her.

Recap? The conveniently sluggish six week legislation investigation… and the controversy surrounding Sen. Hollis French’s media statements (condemning Palin prior to the investigation’s completion) shows their process is a politically motivated witch hunt. A process they appear to purposely drag out to dominate a highly charged election cycle with rumours and damaging press.

And they weren’t even efficient at covering up their political motivation.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x