Monday, 11 May 2009
Sarah Palin innocent?
As stated in a previous post, I visited The Personnel Board's webpage and had a look at the minutes of their meetings. On October 31, 2008, the following went on record:
Board Member Tamagni asked Assistant AG Dave Jones if the Board had the authority to assess fees for frivolous complaints. Mr. Jones stated he would research the question and report back to the Board.
Assistant Attorney General Dave Jones looked into it and determined “the answer is no, the Personnel Board may not award fees against a person for filing a frivolous or meritless ethics complaint. A statutory change would be necessary.”
I found an interesting comment on the ADN political blog about the above:
"Well here's the thing, if she filed a complaint against herself, citing abuse of power, then in fact, isn't she admitting guilt? If the Personnel Board didn't dismiss it as meritless, then aren't they acknowledging that there was a legitimate complaint? Though due to their conflict of interest, their "findings" were irrelevant (hired and able to be fired by Palin)!
But I'm wondering, since Palin admitted guilt, how could the PB find her innocent of her own charges against herself. That's like a bank robber admitting he did the crime and the judge saying, no you didn't. If she filed a complaint against herself, why was there even an investigation? Why didn't the PB simply penalize her and be done? Why the big charade? It would have saved Palin and the state a lot of money!"
This comment prompted me to search for details of the ethics complaint Sarah Palin filed against herself.
From an article on ADN, dated September 3, 2008, when Troopergate became a problem for Sarah Palin's vice presidential campaign and her camp wanted the Branchflower investigation halted:
The governor asked that it go to the three-person Personnel Board as a complaint. While ethics complaints are usually confidential, Palin wants the matter open.
The lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, also asked the state Legislature to drop its own investigation into the Monegan matter. He says the Personnel Board has jurisdiction over ethics.
"Governor Palin believes it will find no conceivable violation of the Ethics Act," her complaint says. She wants the investigation "to put these matters to rest."
Tom Daniel, an Anchorage labor and employment lawyer hired by the board in the Renkes case, took a quick look at Palin's complaint Tuesday.
"It appears that the Governor has filed an ethics complaint against herself. ... This is very unusual because ethics complaints typically are filed against others," Daniel wrote in an e-mail responding to a Daily News query.
Among key claims in Palin's complaint:
• Special Agent Bob Cockrell of the governor's security detail told Todd Palin to let Monegan know about Wooten's threats against Chuck Heath, who is Palin's father and was Wooten's father-in-law.
• Monegan never told the governor or Todd Palin that Wooten had been disciplined over complaints brought by the family that included tasering his stepson, illegally shooting a moose and telling others that Heath would "eat a f***ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce. Wooten ultimately was suspended for five days by troopers but the family says they only learned that when the conflict spilled into public after Monegan's firing. In her complaint, Palin calls the suspension "a slap on the wrist."
• Recently, Wooten's supervisor intervened when he wouldn't return the children after a visit, the complaint says. Wooten warned his ex-wife he was going to get her and Palin, the complaint says. "There is evidence suggesting that Wooten was following the governor," it says.
Does the above read as a complaint by the governor against herself or as a complaint against Wooten?
The relevant thing is: if Sarah Palin was innocent, why did she mention Wooten and his trasgressions at all? The whole point of the Branchflower investigation was to look into her abuse of power, NOT Wooten's conduct. By referring to Wooten in her complaint against herself, she was trying to justify her actions, no?
Reading the key claims in Sarah Palin's complaint, it seems very clear that the governor tried to prove that she, her husband and her staff had the right to attempt to have Wooten fired because he was so bad, as stated above. The simple fact that Wooten is mentioned proves that Sarah Palin abused her power as governor and encouraged or allowed her husband and her staff to approach Walt Monegan to have Wooten fired.
Sarah Palin started a legal defense fund to make her supporters part with their money to pay Van Flein's astronomical fees relating to this farce.
As for "While ethics complaints are usually confidential, Palin wants the matter open.", I must point out that the Personnel Board report was never published.
I rest my case.
All Troopergate posts