Thanks to the publication of the email exchange between Todd Palin and Joe Miller, Sarah and Todd Palin's "vindictive streak" is becoming a focus of discussion again. Shushannah Walshe published a spot-on article today in the Daily Beast, calling Palin's "vindictive streak" her "Achilles Heel."
The vindictiveness of Sarah and Todd Palin is not exactly a new topic. It was exposed for example in great detail during the Troopergate scandal. It seems to me that it would be a good idea to revisit some details of this affair, as we are dealing here with a woman who is serious contender for the Presidency of the USA - and whose past, frankly, thoroughly discredits her.
Troopergate is one of the few scandals involving Palin which have been reported in detail in the media. However, when reviewing the material at a later stage, one can still make discoveries which are as relevant and sometimes even as shocking as they appeared to be two years ago.
The details of Troopergate prove that Sarah Palin is utterly unfit for any type of "higher office." They also prove that Sarah and Todd act "as a team", and this seems to bring out the worst in both of them.
It is not my intention to repeat the whole history of Troopergate. Palingates has written about Troopergate in the past in great detail. Regina substantially covered the issue in 2009. In addition, there are several good resources that I recommend. "Pro Publica" published a good summary about Troopergate with further links. The "Anchorage Daily News" has a whole page with articles about Troopergate. An excellent summary of Troopergate is also available here.
In July 2007, the ADN published a key article about Troopergate, called "Is Wooten a good trooper." In order to fully understand the extent of the vindictive behavior of Sarah and Todd Palin, we have to look at the situation which existed when Sarah Palin became the AK Governor in December 2006. Lisa Demer in the ADN outlines what happened up to this point:
In August 2005, nearly four months after the investigation began, Palin wrote a lengthy e-mail to Grimes about Wooten that included some new accusations and new witnesses. She wrote that she was writing not as his sister-in-law but to express concern over the lack of action about a trooper whom she said many described as a "ticking timebomb" and "loose cannon."
In October 2005, Palin announced she was running for governor. Sgt. Wall, who is now a lieutenant over patrol in Fairbanks, finished his investigation the same month. The following March, (Colonel) Grimes handed out the punishment.
The union's Cyr says that ultimately Wooten was treated fairly by the Department of Public Safety.
"Clearly the folks have the ability to file complaints, and the state has the obligation to investigate them and that is what was done. He was disciplined, appropriately so we believe in the end. And you know, basically end of story. The only question in our mind would be has this pattern continued and has pressure been brought on anybody, I mean, after this whole sorry mess."
Wooten and McCann's divorce was finalized in January 2006. They continue to have disputes over custody and visitation.
So the situation was the following:
1. The divorce between Sarah's sister Molly and Mike Wooten was finalized in January 2006.
2. The investigation against Trooper Wooten was closed in March 2006 after Wooten received a punishment.
So why did Sarah and Todd Palin continue to bother with the case after it was apparently a non-issue?
Well, according to the available, extensive documentation, the answer is obvious: Because they were simply obsessed with Trooper Mike Wooten, and tried everything they could to bring him down.
One of the key documents of this scandal is the Branchflower-report, which was published on October 10, 2008. This report was the result of the decision of the bipartisan AK Legislative Council in July 2008 to hire a special investigator. The AK Legislative Council at this time consisted of ten Republicans and four Democrats. The key finding of the report is the statement that Sarah Palin abused her powers by violating the AK Ethics Act.
To start with, Sarah Palin fully supported the decision to begin this investigation, as the ADN documented in this video clip. On September 1, 2008, however, Sarah Palin filed an ethics complaint against herself in order to bring the matter also before the AK Personnel Board, whose members are appointed by the Governor and which then later published the Petumenos report.
Let's take a look at 10 lessons to be learned from the Troopergate-scandal.
1. Only punish the enemy, and let my friend go free. The tale of the illegal moose-kill: Just punish Trooper Wooten, but not Chuckie Heath, please!
From pages 24/25 of the Branchflower report:
"And he said, I didn't want that. I only want Wooten charged."
Of course Todd doesn't want Chuckie Heath to be charged! After all, Chuck is part of the Palin clan and therefore has to be granted immunity automatically. It's "Sarah's law."
Vindictiveness at its finest.
2. The correct application of the law is the lower priority - Sarah Palin orders: Please deny Mike Wooten's workers' compensation benefits claim! Who cares whether he is entitled to it?
"She had mentioned or said something to the effect that either the Governor or the Governor's office wanted this claim denied."
Sarah doesn't seem to care too much whether Mike Wooten was entitled to receive the benefits. Anyway, suits him right, after all, he dared to cross the "Gov" and violated Alaska's first unwritten law: You do NOT upset Sarah and/or Todd Palin.
3. If she doesn't get her way, Sarah Palin tries to go the direct route - for example through displaying "passion and frustration":
"Well, again, I think she kind of said the same things that Todd did,
in regards to that this is just not right."
Yes, it's just not right if poor Sarah doesn't get what she wants.
If she was President of the USA, she would surely think that she should always get what she wants. Just like so many other dictators we have seen in history. ;-)
4. Sarah Palin doesn't like it when her "enemies" just receive "a slap on the wrist."
Sarah Palin also shows her unhappiness that her wish is not being granted in an email to Walt Monegan:
"This trooper was 'investigated' for over a year
and merely given a slap on the wrist."
Please note that an investigation is not finished until Queen Sarah approves. If she doesn't approve, the subject needs to be investigated until the desired result has been reached.
5. If the State authorities are not conducting their job properly and do not present enough evidence against the "enemy", Sarah and Todd Palin will take matters into their own hands.
At this point, I would like to introduce a document which has been mentioned at some point in the past, but just like many other things has been largely forgotten. However, it's an important document, as it provides for example deep insights into the "working relationship" between Sarah and Todd Palin. I am talking about an affidavit which Todd Palin provided on October 8, 2008.
Rachel Maddow even mentioned this affidavit in her program back then:
This 25-page affidavit is a fascinating document. An example:
"My wife and I had to retain a private investigator
in order to conduct interviews to preserve
witness accounts of Trooper Wooten misconduct."
Yep! Their desire to destroy Mike Wooten went so far that they even instructed their own private investigator. The AK State Troopers were apparently just not "good enough." It seems that the Palins didn't receive the preferential treatment they desired. Well, as the President of the USA, Sarah Palin would have her very own "Department of Law", dontcha know? I guess Trooper Wooten's case then has to be re-examined for federal crimes. Surely we can find some of those...?
6. Don't ride a snowmachine without the approval of Todd Palin.
From Todd's affidavit:
"Wooten (...) was supposedly on worker's comp for months. I (...) by coincidence saw Wooten there one day, and took photos."
The evildoer at work again! Defrauding the state! Good that Todd is on the case.
Unfortunately, it turns out that Wooten was not really doing anything wrong - from the Branchflower report:
"Wooten had discussed the planned trip beforehand with his doctor who had given Wooten permission to make the trip."
What a shame, another "dud"! But at least Todd tried, didn't he?
7. Sarah Palin is not on her own - you can only get Sarah and Todd Palin as a "double pack." You vote for "Team Palin", not Sarah Palin.
Due to the leaked email which was published by Mudflats, Todd's close relationship to Sarah Palin and the fact that he likes to play the "enforcer" for her received fresh attention. However, this should surprise nobody. Todd himself made a very frank statement about his role in his affidavit from October 8, 2008. You never vote for "Sarah Palin" - you always vote for "Team Palin":
Todd Palin - Sarah Palin's "best friend" and enforcer (click to see video)
"My wife and I are very close. We are each other's best friend."
Strictly professionally speaking, of course. ;-)
8. If Sarah and Todd are obsessed with an "enemy", they just cannot let go.
Todd himself testified that he had "hundreds of conversations over the last several years" with "just about everyone" regarding Mike Wooten. Although this statement seems to me as an obvious attempt to shift blame from Sarah (which was successful in the end, as the investigator Petumenos concluded that Todd had just acted as a "private citizen"), it's still very telling. If you annoy Sarah and Todd, they just cannot let go.
"All of this upset me."
Please note: A "Palin" is always the victim.
9. Don't accuse Sarah Palin of having neglected Trig.
Ok, this is a slightly bizarre one. ;-)
From Todd's affidavit:
"I want to know who said otherwise - pls provide me that info now."
Remember, everyone: Trig and Sarah's care of him are OFF-LIMITS. ;-)
10. If you are in mortal danger and call Sarah Palin for help, please make sure that she doesn't have a meeting scheduled soon.
I left the best point for the end.
Some of you will already have heard of this story, but I am sure that many of our readers won't be familiar with the details, as Troopergate mainly ceased to be a topic of discussion after 2008.
Sarah Palin gave a witness statement at some point in early 2005. I don't know the exact date of the statement, as it's not mentioned on the document. However, the original copy of her witness statement is fortunately available.
It's a memorable statement indeed. The story that Sarah describes in this conversation is quite convoluted. Basically, she was called by her sister Molly because her husband Mike Wooten was "in a rage", and then later, with quite a sophisticated technical setup, Sarah Palin was able to listen to the conversation over the phone. In this conversation, Mike Wooten apparently made death threats against Chuck Heath. Alarmed, Sarah then drove to Molly's house, but then just stood outside (!) and watched through the windows...
Anyway, Sarah Palin didn't bother to call 911, which might have been appropriate in this situation. Even worse, she left the scene after 15 minutes, because she had a meeting.
Guess it wasn't so dangerous after all.
Very Palinesque, this episode.
"I had ah a meeting that I couldn't miss."
Final lesson: Sarah is all about Sarah.
One of our invaluable readers sent me a document I have never seen before - a summary of the witness statements from 2005 regarding the "incidents" surrounding Mike Wooten. This document contains the summaries of the statements for example from Sarah, Todd, Track, Bristol, Chuck, Molly etc.
One part of the statement by Track caught my eye:
So wait a moment. In her statement shown above, Sarah Palin said that she told Track to listen to the phone conversation in order to "stand by in case I need to run over to Molly's. Molly needs some help. You listen in on this."
However, Track testified that the "main and only reason they were listening to the conversation" was to find whether Mike Wooten had an affair!
I guess we can add another lesson:
"If you execute a wicked plot, keep in mind that your accomplices could testify differently in the end." ;-)
By the way: Did you notice that Track said that he used the "house phone?"
Didn't Bristol testify in April 2010 in Knoxville in the David Kernell trial that the Palins have no landline?
Well, I guess one of them must be lying! ;-)
Oh, what a tangled web we weave...
In the discussion, several additional points about Troopergate were mentioned. Another incredibly damning detail regarding Sarah Palin is the fact that she and her sister Molly went to the Palmer courthouse in 2005 while Mike Wooten was absent, and obtained a domestic violence restraining order against Mike Wooten. However, it turned out later that there was no evidence whatsoever for domestic violence. The judge then called this order an "abuse of the legal system."
The moderate AK Republican and Palin-critic Andrew Halcro reported in 2008:
In a statement released on September 2 through her attorney Thomas Van Flein, Palin once again shows how her propensity for a misrepresentation of the facts got her into trouble to begin with.
Palin is attempting to get the investigation moved into the executive branch so it is reviewed by the personnel board.
In her statement, Palin writes, "In 2005 and early 2006, State Trooper Mike Wooten was the subject of a court-imposed Domestic Violence Protective Order."
As has been the governor's history with this issue, she offers up another twisted fact.
In 2005, Palin and her sister Molly went to the Palmer Courthouse while Mike Wooten was in Portland with his stepson. They convinced a judge to grant Molly a domestic violence restraining order against Wooten. This was done so Molly could retain full custody of the children.
When Wooten returned from Portland, he realized that there was a order prohibiting him from seeing his kids. Three weeks later, Wooten was granted an appearance in front of the couple's divorce judge.
In front of Judge Suddock, Molly testified that Wooten never hit her or never physically abused her or ever touched the children. She told the judge she was feeling pressure from her family to file the order.
Suddock immediately dissolved the order because there was no proof of any domestic violence and called the order an abuse of the legal system. He then scolded Palin's sister for keeping Wooten's kids away from him.
This appears to be Palin's classic approach to deflecting attention away from situations she has created; blame the other person.
The governor's futile attempt to get the legislature to abandon their ongoing investigation goes completely against what she promised when this process began.
More daming facts were also reported in 2008 by Newsweek - Sarah Palin and her family "lodged up to a dozen complaints against Wooten with the state police." The judge in the divorce trial was shocked by the attacks on Wooten:
Court records obtained by NEWSWEEK show that during the course of divorce hearings three years ago, Judge John Suddock heard testimony from an official of the Alaska State Troopers' union about how Sarah Palin—then a private citizen—and members of her family, including her father and daughter, lodged up to a dozen complaints against Wooten with the state police. The union official told the judge that he had never before been asked to appear as a divorce-case witness, that the union believed family complaints against Wooten were "not job-related," and that Wooten was being "harassed" by Palin and other family members.
Court documents show that Judge Suddock was disturbed by the alleged attacks by Palin and her family members on Wooten's behavior and character. "Disparaging will not be tolerated—it is a form of child abuse," the judge told a settlement hearing in October 2005, according to typed notes of the proceedings. The judge added: "Relatives cannot disparage either. If occurs [sic] the parent needs to set boundaries for their relatives."
Furthermore, two audio-recordings regarding Troopergate were mentioned in the comments, and in order to make the material available, I would like to post them here.
In August 2008, two weeks before Sarah Palin's nomination, a "notorious" phone call by Frank Bailey came to light. Sarah Palin then famously denied that Frank Bailey made the call on her behalf.
I do hope that Frank Bailey will give more details in his upcoming book. We are certainly eager to hear the full story. ;-)
The recording is now hard to find online, but it has been preserved:
You can download the transcript of the phone call HERE.
In addition, Sarah Palin gave a memorable press conference over the telephone on October 11, 2008, the day after the Branchflower report was published. Despite the fact that the Branchflower report concluded that Sarah Palin "abused her power", she claimed in the press conference (in what we now might call "Christine O'Donnell-like-fashion") that the report found no wrongdoing on her part whatsoever.
From the Branchflower report:
So the wannabe President of the United States of America doesn't think that the abuse of power is to be considered wrong behavior. This should tell you everything about Sarah Palin you need to know.