POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Palin ethics investigations – MSNBC/NBC

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 4, 2008

Palin under ethics investigations in Alaska

Firing of safety commissioner allegedly linked to divorce of governor’s sister

MSNBC and NBC News
updated 6:29 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2008

 

In naming her as his vice presidential running mate Friday, Sen. John McCain hailed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as “someone who has fought against corruption.” But Palin is under two ethics investigations springing from accusations that she abused her office to pursue a personal grudge.

Palin has said she welcomes the investigations: “Hold me accountable.”

The investigations are reviewing the same accusation: that she dismissed the state’s top law enforcement official because of his refusal to fire a state trooper in a dispute that predated her election in 2006.

When she dismissed Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan on July 11, Palin said she wanted to take the commission in a new direction.

A week later, Monegan told NBC affiliate KTUU of Anchorage that he thought it was likely that he had been dismissed because he resisted pressure from Palin’s staff and husband to fire the trooper, who was involved in a bitter custody battle with the governor’s sister after their divorce in 2005.

Last month, the state Legislature appointed an independent investigator to review whether the governor or her aides abused their power by pressuring Monegan to fire the trooper, a probe that the Democratic chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee said could lead to Palin’s impeachment. The outside investigator, a retired assistant district attorney in Anchorage, was directed to file his report by Oct. 31, four days before the presidential election.

Palin strongly denied the accusations and ordered her own investigation by the state Law Department.

In a July 31 interview with CNBC, Palin defended the dismissal of Monegan, saying, “It is a governor’s prerogative, a right, to fill that Cabinet with members whom she or he believes will do best for the people whom we are serving.”

Palin promised her full cooperation, saying she would answer any questions from lawmakers, media and the public.

Private dispute goes public
The dispute goes back to 2005, when Palin was a private citizen. Palin’s sister, Molly McCann, was involved in a contentious divorce and custody battle with Michael Wooten, whom Palin had recommended for the troopers division when she was mayor of the city of Wasilla five years previously.

KTUU reported that Wooten’s personnel file, which was released at his request, showed that Palin and her husband, Todd, filed an unspecified number of complaints against him during the custody case. Court documents included an e-mail that Sarah Palin sent as a private citizen to the director of the troopers division in August 2005, accusing Wooten of drinking in his patrol car, “illegal hunting techniques,” firing a Taser at his young stepson and threatening to kill her father.  

Both Palins were interviewed by state troopers as part of an internal investigation, which dismissed many of the complaints. Wooten was, however, suspended for 10 days for shooting a moose and using the Taser on his stepson, a suspension that Monegan later reduced to five days.

Wooten remains a state trooper, and the matter never came to wide public attention until last month, when Monegan accused Palin’s husband and gubernatorial staff of having leaned on him to fire the trooper.

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5 Responses to “* Palin ethics investigations – MSNBC/NBC”

  1. Ilene said

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/157439

    Guess there’s something here … “First Dude” has hired a lawyer, Repubs are trying to bury the investigation. Where there’s smoke there’s fire? I might also suggest checking out John Ridley’s blog on the Huffington Post —

    Quoting a response to his blog: “If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to “get to know you.” If you’re white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you’re “one of us.”

  2. Chris "son of a liberal" said

    If a State trooper uses a taser on his son he should be fired he does not have the judgment to be a police officer. Of course in New Jersey you can be a police officer drinking while cleaning your gun and shoot another officer two year old boy in the head and nothing happens to you. Of course most liberals believe only cops should have guns so that should reduce this from happening more.

  3. Ilene said

    If she’s truly said “hold me accountable,” then why has she been stonewalling, as per the editorials in the Anchorage paper this morning? As Lew has mentioned before, the issue is NOT the behavior of the troopers but Gov. Palin’s unethical interference into his firing.

  4. Chris "son of a liberal" said

    Palin has said she welcomes the investigations: “Hold me accountable.”
    If this is what she said what is your problem? investigate and let the chips fall.

  5. K Smith said

    SO, he DID use a taser on his stepson? That allegation has been proven by an independent investigation and he has recieved punishment for it? I would consider that a problem in the behavior of a state trooper.

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