The Truth about Troopergate

While the McCain/Palin camp falls over itself trying to parse language to say that Troopergate investigator Stephen Branchflower was wrong to say that Sarah Palin violated the Alaska Ethics Act, Time magazine reports that however one interprets the report issued Friday, it is clear Palin and her husband showed a “disturbing” lack of judgment and a great deal of self-serving immaturity.

Did Governor Sarah Palin abuse the power of her office in trying to get her former brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten, fired? Yes.

Was the refusal to fire Mike Wooten the reason Palin fired Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan? Not exclusively, and it was within her rights as the states chief executive to fire him for just about any reason, even without cause.

… But the Branchflower report still makes for good reading, if only because it convincingly answers a question nobody had even thought to ask: Is the Palin administration shockingly amateurish? Yes, it is. Disturbingly so.

The 263 pages of the report show a co-ordinated application of pressure on Monegan so transparent and ham-handed that it was almost certain to end in public embarrassment for the governor. 

… A harsh verdict? Consider the report’s findings. Not only did people at almost every level of the Palin administration engage in repeated inappropriate contact with Walt Monegan and other high-ranking officials at the Department of Public Safety, but Monegan and his peers constantly warned these Palin disciples that the contact was inappropriate and probably unlawful. Still, the emails and calls continued — in at least one instance on recorded state trooper phone lines.

via Time: What the Troopergate Report Really Says

Palin and cronies insist she broke no laws because money was not involved. Clearly, they are mistaken or lying. Here is what the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act actually says:

Sec. 39.52.010. Declaration of policy.
(a) It is declared that
(1) high moral and ethical standards among public officers in the executive branch are
essential to assure the trust, respect, and confidence of the people of this state;
(2) a code of ethics for the guidance of public officers will
(A) discourage those officers from acting upon personal or financial interests in the
performance of their public responsibilities [emphasis mine].
All one needs to do is to read the law itself. Again, it says “personal or financial interests.” Palin does not have a leg upon which to stand here. She broke the law. The governor will not go to jail over this and may escape sanction, but the truth is plain, as is her obvious personal stake in the misconduct of herself, her spouse, and her underlings.

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