Document Contradicts Palin's Latest TrooperGate Claim
When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin filed her request earlier this week to stop the Personnel Board investigation into TrooperGate that her lawyer had requested just days earlier, she included a new reason for firing former Public Safety Director Walt Monaghan: He was a renegade who took an unauthorized trip to Washington, DC to lobby for money for a program to investigate and prosecute rape.
The project, expected to cost from $10 million to $20 million a year for five years, would have been the first of its kind in Alaska, which leads the nation in reported forcible rape.
The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin's legal filing. "Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.," the release stated.
But, ABC News has obtained the travel authorization document (pdf). The trip was authorized by Palin's office. [More...]
Palin's aide Randy Ruaro now gives this explanation:
According to Ruaro, Monegan asked for -- and received -- approval for the travel without telling Palin's staff his reason for going. "As a matter of routine, the travel was approved by Mike Nizich ... weeks before the actual purpose was made clear by former Commissioner Monegan," Ruaro wrote.
Of course, Nizich is one of the aides subpoenaed for the legislative investigation being conducted by independent proseuctor Stephen Branchflower and he is among the group of subpoenaed witnesses the Alaska Attorney General has since told Branchflower would not be appearing.
ABC asked Monaghan about the travel form.
Contacted Friday, Monegan confirmed the travel authorization was to pursue funding for the anti-sexual-violence program. He said the travel authorization form was completed in a fashion consistent with practice, even though it showed no expenditures. The signed form approved the travel, he said, and authorized him to use a government credit card or seek reimbursement for expenses he incurred during the trip.
Another day, another phony story from Palin and her new lawyer, the former NY federal terrorsm prosecutor hired by the McCain Campaign.
Marcy also writes that one of the subpeonaed witnesses from outside Palin's office did show. Via Andrew Halco, the former Republican legislator who has been chronicling TrooperGate and other Palin events, reports:
[Senator]French said that John Bitney, Palin's former legislative liason, had already appeared and given a deposition to Branchflower and another person subpoenaed, Murlene Wilkes, an owner of a workers compensation claim adjustment firm that was allegedly pressured by the governor's office, agreed to show up today with her attorney.
Wilkes could be significant because one of the allegations against Palin is that she gained unauthorized access to Trooper Mike Wooten's workman's claim file and then ratted him out with information it contained because he had gone snowmobiling. She did this through another aide named Frank Bailey. There's a 24 minute tape recording investigators have of Bailey calling State Trooper Lt. Rodney Dial, trying to get Wooten fired, which he says is being made at the request of the Governor, and in which, he discusses Wooten's medical records.
Less than a week after Frank Bailey was outed after making a recorded phone call where he tried to get the governor's ex-brother in law fired, disclosed confidential health information and portrayed that the call was at the behest of the governor, Bailey received the harshest punishment Governor Sarah Palin could apparently dish out; a paid vacation.
Late Tuesday, the governor's office sent out an email that said "Frank Bailey has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Branchflower investigation." According to Kyle Hopkins at the Anchorage Daily News, Bailey is on paid leave and is eligible to continue collecting his $78,528 salary.
Palin has said Bailey's call was a surprise to her and she just learned about it recently.
As a result of the call, Hacro writes:
First, Bailey's request to Dial to act as a mole in forwarding communications sent to PSEA members seriously encroaches on fair labor practices rules. The PSEA union is already reviewing their legal options.
Second, Bailey's discussion of Palin's ex brother in laws medical files are a serious violation of an employees privacy rights and HIPAA laws which are strictly enforced to protect the privacy of employees.
Third, Bailey's attempts to get Palin's brother in law, fired even though the complaints he mentioned had already been ajudicated, violated Wooten's employee rights.
All three of these instances has not only provided serious legal exposure for the state and Frank Bailey, but has ironically given Palin's ex brother in law grounds to sue the state for violating his rights.
There's a timeline for all this:
Senator Lyman Hoffman's birthday was on Februrary 13, when Monegan said he was walking with Palin and told her she shouldn't be involved after she mentioned Wooten's name.
On the afternon of Februrary 28, Todd Palin makes three calls to Ivy Frye.
On the evening of February 28, Frye begins a flurry of emails to Annette Krietzer, Todd Palin, Sarah Palin, Frank Bailey and Kris Perry regarding PSEA.
On the morning of Februrary 29, Frank Bailey calls Trooper Lt. Rodney Dial and spends 24 minutes with him on the phone attempting to convince him that Wooten needs to be fired.
Directly after the phone call on the morning of February 29, Bailey emails Frye and writes that Dial is just a Lt. and will pass the information on up the chain of command.
Branchflower said he needed subpoenas to interview several Palin aides who had been in meetings about the matter. And in one case, he said, he needed to compel the interview of a state contractor whom he said may have lied to him.
Murlene Wilkes owns Harbor Adjusting Services in Anchorage, which has a contract with the state to process workers' compensation claims, Branchflower said. She told him the governor's office did not pressure her to deny a claim for Wooten, he said. But in August, one of her employees called a tip line and claimed there indeed was such pressure, Branchflower said.
"I remember at some point in the conversation she had mentioned or said something to the effect that either the governor or the governor's office wanted this claim denied," Branchflower quoted the tipster as saying. "I don't care if it's the president who wants this claim denied, I'm not going to deny it unless I have the medical evidence to do that."
Wilkes may have had a financial incentive to cover up, Branchflower said. Wilkes did not respond to a voicemail left at her office Friday afternoon.
Bailey mentioned "funny business" about a workers comp claim Wooten had submitted--basically that days after Wooten submitted the workers comp claim, he was caught on a snowmobile. Bailey also suggests that Wooten may have hid a pre-existing injury on his Trooper application.
It sounds like someone from the Governor's office called the workers comp contractor, Murlene Wilkes, gave her this information, and pushed her to deny the coverage on that basis. Wilkes refused to deny the claim. But when Wilkes spoke with Branchflower, she said the Governor's office had not pressured her. [Update: Andrew Halcro has some on this.]
The "more" according to Halcro:
Officer Wooten had a workers comp claim on a back injury that went through Harbor Adjustors (Murlene Wilkes). Skinny is that the Gov's office advised his claim should be denied.
Gave the claim office photos of the officer on a snowmachine (undated/Palin-family taken shots)
HA handed it over to legal to handle (Murlene didn't want to get in the middle of what was obviously something personal, and as her only source of income is with a vindictive State gov contract, doesn't want to come out on this issue).
End of day, Wooden got pennies on the dollar for his claim, they wouldn't even pick up for the chiropractor.
And, according to Marcy,
Branchflower says, "Wilkes may have had a financial incentive to cover up." Sure, it may just be that Wilkes didn't want to lose the contract with the state, and so didn't admit the pressure to Branchflower. Branchflower may just mean that Wilkes decided, on her own, not to piss off Sarah Palin.
But it sure makes you wonder whether someone made the threat of losing the contract explicit.
Oh, the tangled webs we weave when first we practice to decieve.
I'm wondering what Wilkes told Branchflower today.
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