Alasks Daily News Editorial: Palin Should Stop Stonewalling on TrooperGate

The Alaska Daily News takes Gov. Sarah Palin to task for stonewalling the TrooperGate investigation.

The paper outlines details of the investigation into allegations of Palin's, her family and staff's misuse of office and says:

She should be practicing the open and transparent, ethical and accountable government she promised when running for governor and boasts about now that she's on the national stage.

The paper reminds her that she once said she welcomed an investigation and said "Hold me accountable" but instead of complying with the independent investigation launched by the legislature, is trying to move it to an agency within the executive branch which she controls.


This is not an open and transparent attempt to establish Gov. Palin's accountability. It is an attempt to drag out the investigation until after voters decide the fate of her vice-presidential bid.

.... As a result, the Troopergate allegations hang over Palin's future and cloud her candidacy for vice president.

My view: Palin should do whatever she can to assist the legislature in concluding its investigation before the election. If she's cleared, she can trumpet it. If she isn't, the voters need to factor that into their decision as to whom to vote for in November.

We'd all rather be talking about her position on issues and her preparedness to lead the country should the need arise. High ethics should be a given in any candidate who suddenly appears on the national stage running for the second highest office in the land. She owes it to the voters to comply with the Legislature's investigation and assist in bringing it to a speedy resolution. Then, assuming she's cleared as she is confident she will be, we can move on to a discussion of what she brings and doesn't bring to the Vice-Presidency.

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    OK, I'm coming around on Troopergate (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Exeter on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:08:16 AM EST
    I still think its a ticky-tack foul on Palin's part, but anything to derail the maverick-reform-ethics-clean gov train MIGHT be a fruitful attack.

    A better tact may be to go after all the special interest stuff we can find on her.  Trooper gate has the strong potential devolving into a soap opera.

    The investigation is tainted now (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:12:42 AM EST
    due to the comments of the Alaska Democratic state senator.

    The fact is that the acceleration of the report plus the comment of the Alaska state senator regarding the report make this a partisan witch hunt utterly lacking in moral high ground.

    To the degree the investigation had any merit, and I am convinced it has no political traction at all, it has been destroyed.

    You choose to keep writing about Palin, which is a grievous mistake if adopted by Obama/Biden.

    I am pleased they have more political sense than most of the blogs have shown on this.

    Surrogates (3.00 / 0) (#36)
    by koshembos on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:55:29 AM EST
    I wouldn't leave any opening uncovered. Obama doesn't have to talk about it. But if you get surrogates emphasize her lies, and they are numerous, and her ethical problems, you'll do much to hit the McCain campaign.

    Always remember, you should be on the offense and your enemy scurrying around and trying to cover her/his problems.


    It could be a stick-in-the-spokes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Exeter on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:20:46 AM EST
    of the reform-clean gov-maverick theme that McCAin-Palin are putting 100% of their energy behind right now.  It also could backfire and turn into another sympathy-inducing soap opera for Palin. I think attacks on Palin should be limited to ethics-campaign finance-special interests-lobbyists, ect and this MAY fit this bill... it's risky, though.

    Not now (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:24:49 AM EST
    The investigation is tainted.

    Yes a witch hunt (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by fercryinoutloud on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:45:56 AM EST
    I came to the same conclusion a few days ago when it became obvious that because of Palin's very real taking down of some fellow Republicans and going head on with the oil companies and actually hitting them in the wallet and then redistributing that money to the people of Alaska that she made a bunch of enemies. Enemies no doubt that are friends of the editors of the newspaper.

    I don't think anyone who has taken on power would in her situation not do the same thing. Who in their right mind would allow a bunch of power brokers who have other Pols in their pocket set up an investigation that would essentially be a kangaroo court with a predetermined outcome?

    When people are out to get back at you you use what power you have to roadblock them. That Jeralyn can't see this leaves me speechless.


    True... If only McCain were a member (none / 0) (#20)
    by Exeter on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:41:58 AM EST
    of notoriously corrupt group... like say, the Keating Five... that we could hit him on.

    That would make more sense (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:51:17 AM EST
    But that was 20 years ago.

    McCain = Bush's Third Term seems like a winner to me.


    Have you seen this? (none / 0) (#38)
    by Exeter on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:01:18 AM EST
    Short. Perfect: Link

    Troopergate (none / 0) (#22)
    by limama1956 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:47:26 AM EST
    Disagree. The state senator who made comments is not running the investigation.

    Let Branchflower (? spel) do the job that he was appointed to by the Alaskan State Senate.

    It would appear that Palin was for the investigation before she was against it.

    I would also add that some Republicans in Alaska are now in CYA mode due to Palin's nomination. In other words, if she were not running as McCain's VP, would they be trying this hard to quash the report? Ahem.


    Yes he is (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:50:27 AM EST
    He is the manager of the investigation.

    He is the supervisor of the investigation.


    but (none / 0) (#58)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:01:58 PM EST
    Why would Obama say a thing?  He doesnt have to.

    And I think abuse of power stories are good for drawing a link to Gonzales/Goodling type antics. If they have any meat, which neither you nor I are in a position to say at the moment.

    Having a candidate under an ethics cloud isnt usually a coveted position.  And its as easy for the GOP to over-reach on the "she's special and above scrutiny" talking point as it is for the dems to attack her.  Which theyve spent almost no time doing.


    well, i can guarantee you (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:13:21 AM EST
    that if joe biden were the subject of an ongoing ethics investigation, the republicans would be howling at the moon over it.

    Sure (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:17:13 AM EST
    But given their history on Clinton, it would be a political loser.

    But I tell you what is funny - Biden's son's lobbyist role on the bankruptcy bill has made no waves at all.

    They dropped the ball on that one strangely enough.

    I do not expect Jeralyn thinks that needs to be cleared up before we talk about policy.


    It's one of those accusations that likely (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:01:37 AM EST
    can't be proved.  Joe Biden screws us on the bankruptcy bill while his son Hunter gets paid by MBNA as a "consultant."  Everyone claims Hunter was not a lobbyist for MBNA, and his work had absolutely nothing to do with the bankruptcy bill.  Can't prove it did, but as it's a talking point for the GOP because it sure looks like MBNA bought Biden.  And they probably did.  

    Either way, they won't get caught, and yet it still hurts our party.  Just one more innuendo that makes the left look bad.  Dangitall.


    The Republicans are running (none / 0) (#15)
    by tootired on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:32:43 AM EST
    against Obama- not Biden.

    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:37:41 AM EST
    And Obama is running against McCain, much to Jeralyn's chagrin.

    I agree with Obama.


    One thing is for sure: (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Exeter on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:31:54 AM EST
    Attacks on VPs rarely make a difference one way or the other:
    1992 -- Bush I goes hard after Al "Ozone Man" Gore, with zero effect.
    1988 -- Dan Quayle is ripped on all sides, with little effect.
    1956 -- Attacks on Richard "Checkers Speech" Nixon backfire.

    I'm open to VP attacks as long as it is part of a theme against the top top of the ticket, but history doesn't show alot to be gained from attacking the VP.


    I don't understand this op-ed (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by JAB on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:17:29 AM EST
    Yesterday, the same paper reported she isn't facing subpoenas regarding this matter.


    This same paper also reported that Palin has opened an ethics complaint against herself - an unprecedented move.


    So, is the paper just on a witch-hunt or do they think this really amounts to a hill of beans? (Especially as the trooper in question isn't even saying bad things and wished her well).

    French should step down from the committee (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:24:17 AM EST
    Not all state legislators are happy with the direction of the Troopergate investigation. Republican Rep. John Coghill of North Pole on Friday called on French to step down as manager of the Branchflower probe, saying he no longer had confidence in French's objectivity. Coghill said he was concerned about media statements French had made, including that Branchflower's report could be a damaging "October surprise" for Palin and that she faces possible impeachment.

    "These statements cause me to think that the report is already written even though the investigation is only just begun and the most important witnesses have not even been interviewed," Coghill wrote in a letter calling for French's replacement. "The investigation appears to be lacking in fairness, neutrality and due process."

    French said whether he's replaced is up to the bipartisan legislative panel that installed him as manager of the investigation, which could cost the state up to $100,000. "The key point here is, I'm not doing the investigation. Steve Branchflower is," French said, adding Branchflower is free to reach any conclusions the facts support.

    Unfortunately, French has already tainted this investigation, including Branchflower.


    How So? (none / 0) (#25)
    by limama1956 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:50:48 AM EST
    How has Branchflower been tainted? What am I missing here?

    FRENCH (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:51:50 AM EST
    I am positive I wrote FRENCH in my comment.

    I am confused, can you read?


    Branchflower (none / 0) (#35)
    by limama1956 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:51:50 AM EST
    You still have not explained how Branchflower has tainted the investigation.

    Um (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:48:35 AM EST
    Why would I have to explain that?

    But suppose I wanted to - the same way, THEORETICALLY, having an executive branch agency reviewing the matter - who someone works for.

    Branchflower was hired by French.


    The ethics complaint is easy to understand (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by rdandrea on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:10:21 AM EST
    I believe that under Alaska law, an ethics complaint made to the State Attorney General may be referred to the State Personnel Board, an executive branch agency.

    In essence, it's "the first olive out of the bottle" if Palin wants the investigation conducted by an agency she controls.

    I'm a geologist, not a lawyer, so somebody might want to straighten me out if I'm reading the statutes wrong.

    I agree with BTD and others that this isn't likely a winning issue.  It's essentially about process.  Process-oriented issues don't always resonate well with the public.  They'd be happy just to string Wooten up for his offenses and be done with it.

    While it's extremely important to remain a nation of laws, that doesn't mean that "nation of laws" arguments are political winners.  And this is politics.


    If you read (none / 0) (#33)
    by JAB on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:19:54 AM EST
    Sec 39.52.310(c)

    It says if there is a complaint that alleges a violation ...by the governor....the matter shall be referred to the personnel board.....

    There are other requirements (such as if the complaint is filed during a campaign period for state office), but on a fast reading, I think Palin went through the proper channels to file her complaint.

    Other more seasoned lawyers, can verify or correct me on this.


    I think s/he (none / 0) (#52)
    by tree on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:22:49 PM EST
    was talking about his interview with CNN.

    Trooper in Palin probe tells his side


    Jeralyn you are sounding more and more like (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Serene1 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:21:10 AM EST
    the Kossacks and hufpos - the lefty coulters and limbaughs..

    Actually Kossacks focuses on (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:32:05 AM EST
    irrelevant crap about babies and sex scandals. Jeralyn is focusing on GOP corruption. Just as there are PDS victims, there is a new forming Palin cult that apparently think nobody should criticize her for possible government corruption. Btw, I agree with BTD that Troopergate could be a small potato, but we should at least investigate it.

    How do "we" investigate it? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:33:06 AM EST
    Oh my bad I meant (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:37:57 AM EST
    the general public, which includes the media. What blogs often do (and this fact is not lost on bloggers) is influence and encourage subjects that the media then choose to cover. Bad choice of a word though I admit.

    How do they investigate it? (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:49:45 AM EST
    Do they have subpoena power?

    Of late Jeralyn also seems more (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Serene1 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:42:50 AM EST
    interested in the stuff that interests kossacks. She thought Palin family was open to attack because levi was invited to the convention. She has posted links of stories which have very dubious origin. She is open to attacking Palin on any consequential or inconsequential issue. She even went to the extent of claiming that the baby may have been drugged. I don't know why she is doing this but I sincerely hope it is just a passing phase. Talkleft was an oasis of sanity during the madness of the primary. It was always objective and though Jeralyn supported hillary she still always was fair to Obama. That is why this sudden change in attitude of hers regarding palin is puzzling. Yes Palin and Mccain are the opponents but that doesn't make them less than human and doesn't demand a treatment that is unfair and below the belt.

    blogs that support obama (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by sancho on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:04:31 AM EST
    tend to stoke the same stories at the same time. i wont say why that might be.

    It (none / 0) (#29)
    by sas on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:59:24 AM EST
    is being investigated.

    Perhaps Governor Palin (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by tootired on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:24:22 AM EST
    is confident that the investigation will go her way and would like to control the date that the report will be issued - like maybe November 1st? If she allows it to be resolved now, the feeding frenzy will just move to another place. The Repubs have been vetting Palin for months. The only "new" news to them is her daughter's pregnancy, and they would have known about that before McCain made his announcement unless Bristol had not yet told her mom, which doesn't appear to be the case. The latest round of Trig could still be Bristol's baby if she gave birth to him and got pregnant again in the first month after his birth is just too stupid. Go after Palin on the issues or ignore her. This constant bashing is shoring up the Republican base and making a large group of non-McCain supporting women angry enough to vote for her. You are letting McCain push your buttons, and if it continues, you'll hurt the Obama/Biden ticket. Don't let him get to you.

    This story (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by sas on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:26:01 AM EST
    is a total non-starter with most of the public.

    This is nothing as intense as the Rezko/Obama connections...and that seems to be a non-starter too.

     Let the investigation play out, as it should.


    This really doesn't seem to be the right (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by tigercourse on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:29:23 AM EST
    way to take the shine off Palin. I don't actually know what the right way is, that's why I keep suggesting ignore her and focus on McCain. People have been throwing the kitchen sink at her for a week now, but she's clearly still helping the Republican ticket. The less she is in the news, the better I think.

    I am shocked (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by rooge04 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:36:08 AM EST
    at how much Jeralyn now sounds like Markos.  Making big to-dos about non-issues.  Perhaps we would win votes by reminding people that Palin is a right-winger?  

    Talking about "Troopergate" won't get anyone on our side. Besides, you really think the American people are going to be horrified by finding out that maybe there was some slight corruption on the part of a politician?  They would die of shock.


    I (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sas on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:01:55 AM EST
    agree totally.

    The way to win against Palin is NOT to remind people that she removed an abusive state trroper from his job.

    The real question is what holds more (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:40:58 AM EST
    sway...concentrating on McCain or Palin?

    Missing the Point (1.00 / 0) (#34)
    by limama1956 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:50:26 AM EST
    Palin DID NOT remove the trooper. He is still on the job. The charges were investigated. He received a ten day suspension, cut down to five. Palin and her hubby did not like that, tried to get him fired.

    In other words, after the guy was already punished, Palin and hubby wanted more.


    Not quite the whole story. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by ding7777 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:32:29 AM EST
    Once Palin became Governor, any threats against her or her family had to be (re)investigated as "security threats".

    Question: What if Wooten would have acted on his threats?

    would you be the 1st to yell "derelection of duty" against Palin for knowingly concealing a "threat" to protect her ex-brother-in-law?


    Misinformed (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by thefncrow on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:02:53 PM EST
    Palin wasn't Mayor when she was trying to get Wooten fired, she was Governor.

    All the things you mention were alledged and brought up to Internal Affairs in 2005.  IA investigated and found him guilty.  Palin started applying this pressure in 2007.

    Lets imagine that Palin succeeded in having Wooten fired. A state employee is fired over conduct which is 2 years old, despite the conduct being previously investigated and the employee being previously punished for the behavior, and it later comes to light that the Governor was pushing on his boss to get the man fired? And for a bonus, the employee is currently in the middle of a custody battle for his children with said Governor's sister, a battle he would lose almost instantly were he to lose his means of providing for his children?

    That's a guaranteed lawsuit, resulting in a judgment so large that Wooten will never have to work another day for the rest of his life.

    Monegan understood this.  He's said in interviews that he warned the Governor against pushing like this, since it might actually immunize him from firing if he actually screwed up and would have been fired anyway.  If he can prove interference with the personnel decisions inside the state trooper's office, and the record's pretty clear on that, then anything that causes him to be fired will allow him to file a lawsuit claiming that his firing was related to the pressure emanating from the Governor, even if the firing is actually related to real wrongdoing.  It gives Wooten a way of muddying the water.

    Maybe you think Wooten should have been fired over his conduct when IA investigated it.  I can certainly see that, and agree even with the point of view.  But IA didn't fire him over that.  It investigated the allegations, found him guilty, and meted out a sentence.  IA has adjudicated the matter, and it's closed.  Oh, you have to consider the conduct in ongoing reviews, certainly, but you can't just suddenly decide to fire the trooper now, 2 years after IA concluded their investigation, based solely on the same allegations that IA investigated and found to not rise to the level of a firing offense.  That matter is closed.

    Monegan has said publicly that he told the Governor that if she had allegations of new wrongdoing, something that hadn't already been investigated, he'd be happy to refer that information over to IA and try to get a new investigation started.  Given his past history, it wouldn't take much in the way of new allegations of wrongdoing to cause the IA investigation to fire the officer.  But Palin didn't have new allegations, anything that hadn't already been adjudicated.  All she had were the old complaints.

    Maybe Palin didn't care that the Alaska government would get stuck with a large judgment against it.  She certainly didn't care about the $10,000 severance package she had to give Monegan's replacement, who resigned two weeks after being appointed because the press discovered a sexual harassment allegation that Palin admits to knowing about, and a letter of reprimand about said incident.

    Or maybe Palin just didn't know that her staff, her husband, and even herself, in some sort of sleepwalking or unconscious daze, all applied pressure, just like she says.  Of course, she previously said that there was no pressure period, only to be shown to be incorrect by audio tapes of discussions between her staff and the state trooper's office over these exact issues.

    And if Palin's AGAG excuse for the conduct of her staff doesn't give you enough of a reminder of the Bush administration, the way she's handled this investigation should do the trick.  

    The complaint she filed against herself with the State Personnel Board is a smokescreen, because Palin, as Governor, has appointed all the current members of the board.  It's an attempt to redirect the investigation into something the Governor can control, and something that won't conclude until after the election.  It allows the Governor, in the meantime, to continue this administration's "We will not comment on an ongoing investigation" soundbyte, something they couldn't do if there was an actual legislative investigation going on where they were being criticized with not co-operating.

    Further, there have been calls for the legislative investigation to turn over all their evidence to the SPB investigation.  Of course Palin wants that, not so that any real investigation can occur, but so that she can see where it is she's vulnerable, and what they've gotten on her so far.

    The scandal is about Abuse of Power, and it's about how Palin, as an administrator, highlights the same corrupt qualities as the Bush administration.  No matter what a scumbag Wooten is, you have to act through the appropriate and legal channels, and you don't get to backdoor people just because you don't like them.

    Thank You! (none / 0) (#51)
    by limama1956 on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 01:48:20 PM EST
    You got it!

    Abuse of Power Is the subject (none / 0) (#54)
    by factchecker on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 03:38:38 PM EST
    And it comes from the playbook of this current administration. There are sooo many examples of this abuse but just ask Valerie Plame about it. The only other thing I would add is the fact that McCain sent his goon squad of lawyers to Alaska over the past weekend and voila after they arrived Palin clammed up,refused to be deposed after saying she would cooperate and her chief of staff Frank Bailey cancelled his deposition. All of a sudden Palin`s office filed a unusual complaint against herself and her lawyer is trying to squash the investigation by taking it away from the Alaska legislature. So much for straight talk.

    Facts Please (none / 0) (#41)
    by factchecker on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:06:11 AM EST
    Facts are what they are. People should want to know if a possible future president missued her power of office. People should want to know if someone working on behalf of the governor accessed her ex brother-in-law`s personel records. These activities ARE AGAINST THE LAW. The investigation was ongoing and the governor had said she and those who worked for her would cooperate but that was before her nomination. Now she will not talk nor will her aides. This after McCain sends his attorney goon squad to Alaska. Come on people! This is more of the SAME tactics we have endured from this current administration. Stall, Delay and Obfuscation all to keep the truth from comming out. This is not straight talk! I along with everyone I know are tired of this NO ACCOUNTABILITY crowd.

    Listen to the Recording & Decide For Yourself (none / 0) (#48)
    by factchecker on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:08:15 PM EST
    Go to ADN.com, click on Troopergate and access the audio of Ms Palin`s chief of staff, Frank Bailey. It is an approx 22 min conversation of which Mr Bailey repeatedly voices concern on behalf of Sara and Todd about the ex brother-in-laws fitness even after 2 investigations and a reprimand. Bailey refers to info only obtainable from the troopers private files. Approx 20 mins of the call was devoted to entreaties from Bailey for something to be done about the ex brother-in-law. Palin denied this call took place before the tape turned up and she had to retract her denial. And guess what? Bailey and Palin said they would cooperate before McCain sent his lawyer squad up to Alaska,Now nobody is talking and subpoens will be issued next week. Another sidenote, Palin didn`t fire Bailey after saying what he did was wrong she put him on paid leave. Sounds alot like Bush saying he would fire anyone revealing the identy of a US assest but we all know Karl kept his clearance and his job. More of the SAME

    Well, at least this title begins with Alaska (none / 0) (#57)
    by kempis on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:23:22 PM EST
    instead of Palin. Variety is nice....