UPDATE on Trooper’gate: Desperate left falsely accuses Palin of “refusing to testify”


First of all, a H/T to Allahpundit at HotAir for posting the PDF link to Palin’s Ethics Disclosure. And a thank you to Curt for giving me the heads up, as I was buried under work today.

For historic foundation, read
Trooper’gate: Beating MSM distortions to the truth.


We learn much from Sarah Palin’s “Ethics Disclosure Form”, filed Sept 1st by her Anchorage attorney, Thomas Van Flein. But before I go into details on her story of Trooper’gate, let’s address the latest leftist smears perpetuated by Talking Points Memo, and some of his merry band of gullible followers … dutifully falling in line here on Flopping Aces.

The goal? Spam the internet with with the lies so that the faith in Palin will be shaken enough that the truth – when it finally surfaces – will no longer matter. It will merely be a page A-23 one line correction… damage done.

That spam of lies happens to be that Palin is refusing to testify. Per TPM mudracker-in-chief, Josh Marshall:

It didn’t take long. We’ve already brought you news of the official investigation into Gov. Palin’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Steve Branchflower, the lead investigator, began trying to arrange a deposition of the governor days before her veep selection. And despite claiming executive privilege to shield requested emails, up until that point Palin had promised full cooperation with the probe.

Now, however, she is refusing to submit to questioning by Branchflower unless he and the legislative committee that appointed him agree to relinquish control of the investigation and turn it over to a state review board made up of three Palin appointees.

In one of those yellow journalism scandal headlines, “Palin Wants Independent Trooper-Gate Probe Called Off”, TMP goes on to mischaracterize the legal process for the Trooper’gate investigation.

In the latest sign that Sarah Palin’s promised cooperation with the Trooper-Gate investigation is failing to materialize, her lawyer is now demanding that the entire case be taken out of the hands of the independent prosecutor hired by Alaska lawmakers, and given over to a state personnel board — whose three members were appointed by the governor herself.

In an unusual “ethics disclosure” filed last night, along with related documents, to the state Attorney General, Palin’s lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, asked the personnel board to look into the firing of Walt Monegan, the former public safety commissioner at the center of the case. Van Flein also asked the legislature to drop its own investigation, contending that only the personnel board has jurisdiction over ethics. And he suggested that if the legislature didn’t agree to hand the matter over to the personnel board, Palin would not be made available for a deposition.

“Unusual” ethics disclosure?? It is part of procedural law. Perhaps it’s “unusual” in that it’s not common to have these ethics investigations. Especially since Governor Palin has made it her prime business to end corruption by cleaning house. But Marshall is disingenous to suggest this is some unique and questionable approach to Alaskan law governing ethics violations.

I, personally, don’t see anything wrong with following Alaskan law, pursuant to AS 39.52.210(a), for for jurisdiction in the investigation. This statute states that a public employee, when faced with what “may” (remember that innocent until guilty bit?) be faced with charges that they violated Alaska’s ethics laws are required to disclose the matter, in writing, to the AG.

And under that same Title section, AS 39.52.310(c), legal jurisdiction for the investigations are mandated to a personnel board to oversee the proceedings. This is, to quote the attorney’s brief, “the only body in Alaska with the legal authority to do so.”

Naturally, this legal mandate is rather inconvenient for Branchwater, and Alaskan Dem legislator in charge of the investigation, Sen. Hollis French. Branchwater is the independent prosecutor hired by the Alaska legislators (via French), despite his questionably close relationship to the “victim” in the investigation, Walt Monegan.

But legal procedure is legal procedure.

Sen. French vows to proceed anyway… damned be those pesky laws, I guess. Palin’s attorney has said if they do, since they are not following proper procedure, Palin will not be available for deposition.

However leave it to the desperate left, scared out of their undersized willies at the appearance of the dynamic Alaskan governor on the election scene, to spin it as a “dodge” by Palin.

To the contrary, Palin is quite willing to cooperate in legal procedure – using the proper jurisdiction – for the ethics complaint. The current three person board are all appointees by Palin’s predecessor, Murkowski. One, however, Debra English, was re’appointed by Palin.

Per Alaskan law, the personnel board has the choice of the independent counsel retained, acting in place of the AG in the investigation. They may well choose Branchwater… or not. However the legislature has no authority to foist Branchwater onto the board as the counsel.

AND… Palin is on record in her Ethics Disclosure that she has no position on who the personnel board chooses as a prosecutor.

This puts to rest the “refusing to testify” charges. That may be a half-truth for those that aren’t sure what “the meaning of is… is”. But what is factual is Palin will refuse to be deposed in a proceeding with no legal jurisdiction. And who could blame her?

However truth matters not to the leftists scandal-mongers. Their goal is to blanket the internet with lies and half truths. If they can put the question into the minds of the voters hard and fast enough before the truth comes out, the damage will be done.

But the truth is, it is Palin who wants to follow Alaskan law in this investigation, and the legislators and their complainants who want to blaze their own path for the procedures in an all out vendetta.

Now, to the more interesting parts of the “Ethics Disclosure” brief. I’ll summarize, but there is no excuse for those seeking truth to read the 13 page disclosure in it’s entirety at the link above.

The brief starts out with a shocking truth, and repeated elsewhere in the brief:

“For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff….”

former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan
Anchorage Daily News, Aug 30, 2008

To pull the entire Monegan quote from ADN story mentioned in the brief above:

For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff,” Monegan said Friday from Portland. “What they said directly was more along the lines of ‘This isn’t a person that we would want to be representing our state troopers.’ “

To express an opinion of a Trooper on a short leash by superiors because of a history of exhibiting “a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable, and at times, illegal activity”* is a far cry from “pressure” to fire the trooper. In fact, personal issues aside, Palin has long opposed government corruption, and most especially troopers and legislators who feel they are above the law.

* quoted from Col. Julia Grimes investigation of Mike Wooten, and reproduced in the Ethics Disclosure brief

Ironic that the entire investigation is based on supposedly an abuse of power by applying pressure on Monegan to fire Wooten – and all brought to bear publicly and officially by his personal cheerleader, Andrew Halcro. One would think this statement alone should make the entire endeavor just a waste of time and money. But we have more interesting tidbits under the disclosure subheadings which may explain why they are so willing to waste time and money….

The Palin Administration, Walt Monegan and Mike Wooten

As I mentioned, the man driving the accusations, leading to the investigation, is Andrew Halcro – the former “also ran” gubernatorial candidate against Palin on the Indy party. What is even more interesting is that Halcro revealed to the press that his source of information is none other than Mike Wooten himself. Also, according to the Disclosure, Halcro was less than pleased that he wasn’t offered a position in the Palin administration.

Either way, people are reading. Halcro, who lost to Palin when he ran as an independent in the 2006 election for governor, said visits to andrewhalcro.com exploded starting about a month ago. That’s when he first detailed the feud between the Palin family and an Alaska State Trooper that’s now part of an investigation of the governor and her staff.

“I think it’s fair to say he got the ball rolling, at least on this issue,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French, D-Anchorage.


Palin fired former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan on July 11.

Less than a week later, Halcro — who had been blogging nonstop at the time about Palin’s gas pipeline legislation — said he got a phone call suggesting he talk to Trooper Mike Wooten, the governor’s ex-brother-in-law.

Halcro and the trooper met at the Sheraton hotel bar for three and a half hours, he said. At 1 a.m. the next morning, Halcro posted a blog item titled “Why Walt Monegan got fired: Palin’s abuse of power” that described Palin and Monegan disagreeing over the public safety budget before detailing a list of complaints the Palin family made against Wooten.

Halcro won’t say who gave him Wooten’s cell phone number.

The motive for vengence grows…. and Halcro has clearly chosen the more questionable moral character for his side of the argument.

And it also comes out that the Palin family did not learn until just recently about the scant discipline Wooten received. Monegan never informed them.

The Bailey Phone Call

Bailey is on record, under oath, that he acted on his own initiative, and did not apply pressure to fire Wooten. Period. Subject closed. My opinion? Don’t like his testimony under oath? Prove him wrong, and charge him with perjury. Oh, right… not many get charged with perjury anymore. Most especially high level public officials.

And BTW, Palin put him on administrative leave for acting without authority.

No Plausible Allegation that there has been a violation

If Walt Monegan believes there is a violation of Alaska’s ethics laws, he is required to file an Ethics Disclosure, just as Sarah Palin has done. He has not done so.

In fact, again from an Anchorage Daily News article on July 22, 2008, Monegan specifically stated to KUDO that he “was not accusing the governor of anything”. But he was curious as to why he was fired.

The direct quote from the ADN article is:

On the KUDO show, Monegan said: “Am I accusing the governor of anything? … No. I think the biggest thing that keeps me up at night is why.”

Which again brings us to the reasons Palin did fire Monegan, as laid out in her Ethics Disclosure.

Walt Monegan was the former chief of police in Anchorage. He had been terminated from his job by Mayor Mark Begich in 2006.


When Governor Palin took office later in 2006, she appointed Monegan to be the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

Over the course of eighteen months, Monegan took actions and positions that contradicted Governor Palin’s beliefs that taxpayers are entitled to efficient and cost-effective government. These were good-faith disagreements about appropriate government policy, and the governor and others in her administration saw it that way.

You can continue reading about her disapproval of Monegan’s performance at the PDF linked above.


This is an investigation based on a complaint by third parties. Monegan – the supposed victim – has not filed a formal complaint in the form of an Ethics Disclosure. He has repeatedly stated no one pressured him to fire Wooten.

This is, in essence, an accusation without a victim… and brought about by those with personal reasons to stir the Governor’s pot. Disgruntled election losers, and Alaskan legislators finding their honey pots of corruption been encroached on by a tough governor who cares nothing about party affiliation.

Wooten – the disgraced trooper – is the source for Halcro, the man driving the charges. The legislature is determined to ignore ethic law procedures, and run a witch hunt that is outside their legal jurisdiction.

This is a non-story. Instead the real story is the mudrackers trying to trash the GOP veep. And why? She presents some serious competition to the DNC ticket.

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The MSM and tin foil hat brigade are frothing at the mouth…
I love it… the more they scream the more I know Palin is the right pick….

I would expect nothing less from them…. it’s what they are… PATHETIC LIARS.

Ah yes,,, the party of tolerance and inclusion…


Shameless. If Republicans were doing to this to a female Democrat, we’d never hear the end of it.

Barring FOX and a handful of others here and there, the media is full of disgusting, self-interested, hypocritical hacks.

you have to wonder why this is even news, it is a nothing event. if the msm can’t see that this about sour grapes, and not even legal sour grapes then there are to stupid to have their jobs. wooten would ahve been fired far before he was in any other state and city, the media is actually on a hunt for the bad cops. so this morn who is pissed because he lost an election, and wasn’t offered the consulation job is gonna back a lying, abusive, drunken asshole to try and bring down an ethical politician, nice. real nice. the media really needs to get their stories straight, why are they so scared of her also?

Borrowing a line from Bob Owens, Josh Marshall continues to spew his garbage in an integrity-free zone.

Great post.

I’ve have tried to explain this to people not from Alaska – because you have to really research what is going on. This whole situation was brought to “light” by the man (Halcro) that Governor Palin beat out for governor. Mr. Halcro has a blog set up to beat (destroy) Sarah Palin. And, let’s get a couple of things straight. 1. The trooper (Whooten) had tasered his 10 year old son; 2. He theatened to kill Governor Palin’s father; 3. He shot an illegal moose (a cow – or female) and 4. He drank alcohol while on duty in his trooper vehicle. Governor Palin’s husband was concerned (personally, my husband was born and raised here in Alaska and I am very impressed that he (Todd) did not beat the Sh_t out of him – the trooper) about her safety and that of his family. Commissioner Monegan was never told to fire Whooten (just felt pressure). What a wimp. The Commissioner was offered another position and refused. So, he was fired. It was his choice. There is no scandal here. It is totally partisan on the part of the Alaska legislature to check it out. Governor Palin is fantastic. She has fought for our State and continues to do the right thing. This is really a non-issue that the MSM (and her enemies here) are trying to promote. The real disappointing thing to me – an Alaskan – is that the former governor (Tony Knowles) people gave the MSM their data on Governor Palin including her ss#. Governor Palin in incredibly popular in Alaska. Research her. Learn about her. She is the real deal! And, if given the opportunity, would be a fanstastic VP!

This is a great summary. http://www.notwrightforamerica.com has also been all over the media’s distortions in this Troopergate witch hunt. They also point out, and this is important, that this legislative witch hunt is being led by a partisan democrat, Hollis French, and that he has already made statements about how the investigation report is going to be “damaging to Palin”. This is outrageous in what is supposed to be a fair and impartial investigation that is not even close to complete. In fact, they haven’t even heard the Governor’s side yet!

MH said,

“Unusual” ethics disclosure?? It is part of procedural law. Perhaps it’s “unusual” in that it’s not common to have these ethics investigations. Especially since Governor Palin has made it her prime business to end corruption by cleaning house. But Marshall is disingenous to suggest this is some unique and questionable approach to Alaskan law governing ethics violations.

It’s unusual in this sense, Palin requested her own three person ‘Personnel Board’ –that she appointed — review the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Monegan. She’s requested the matter be dropped by the state legislature, as her attorney argues, in the Disclosure, the Personnel Board has jurisdiction over ethics. So, in essence, Palin is making a case for the state not having jurisdiction on ethics complaints. Yet, in saying this she is saying ‘I am making out an ethics complaint against myself.’ Yet the state investigation involves more that just ethics, it is also investigating others in the Administration and is more than just about an abuse of power, they argue. Hence, that’s the oddity: she’s filing an ethics complaint against herself. Of course, she wouldn’t see it that way, but that’s how it can be construed.

Anyway, whereas Palin had agreed work with the state’s investigation, now she refuses to, claiming the state is involved in a jurisdictional over reach.


I got most the facts from wiki:
It’s heavily footnoted.

You are right about Palin not making the appointments; they were Murkowski’s. TPM is in error.

So, let’s return to the basics:

Palin is now refusing to testify to the state’s “bipartisan committee of the Alaska Legislature [that] voted 12-0 to hire an independent investigator to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal.(wiki)

Yet in August

Legislators … decided subpoenas aren’t needed in the investigation of whether the governor or her aides improperly tried to pressure the public safety department to fire trooper Mike Wooten.

…or here (WP): “Palin had promised to cooperate with the legislative inquiry, but this week moved to change the jurisdiction of the case to the state personnel board, which Palin appoints.”

Therefore, before attempting her new jurisdictional run-around to blunt the state investigation, she _was_ willing to cooperate earlier. Now she is refusing.

Of course, things have changed now; she’s in the big game. The investigation was to end in Oct., a terrible time for being in the game. So, this needed attention, and so it’s getting it.

I stand by my statement:

So, in essence, Palin is making a case for the state not having jurisdiction on ethics complaints. Yet, in saying this she is saying ‘I am making out an ethics complaint against myself.’

Here’s the media seeing it the same way:

French said he’s consulting with Republican legislative leaders. The process will be fair to Palin, he said.

Palin filed an ethics complaint against herself to get the matter in front of the Personnel Board.

http://www.adn.com/front/story/515508.html (local)

Gov. Sarah Palin wants a state board to review the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan — taking the unusual step of making an ethics complaint against herself.


Van Flein filed papers Monday night with the state attorney general’s office to request the investigation be taken out of the hands of the Legislature — effectively amounting to the governor filing an ethics complaint against herself. Van Flein said the matter belongs before the Personnel Board, all three members of which were first appointed by Palin’s predecessor.


Again, that’s why it’s “unusual”.

MH says,

Well now, Doug, if it’s more than about Sarah abusing her power as governor, exercising pressure on Monegan to fire Wooten, why don’t you tell us what those charges are?

As I said, her and her staff, or administration, is being investigated as well:

Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday revealed an audio recording that shows an aide pressuring the Public Safety Department to fire a state trooper embroiled in a custody battle with her sister.

Palin, who has previously said her administration didn’t exert pressure to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, also disclosed that members of her staff had made about two dozen contacts with public safety officials about the trooper.


Here we find it more to the point:

The Legislature has hired Steve Branchflower, a retired state prosecutor, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Monegan firing. That includes looking at accusations that Palin, her aides and her husband had pressured Monegan to fire a state trooper who went through a divorce with the governor’s sister.


MH says,

Or do they have to run an investigation before they can find out what those other charges are? That’s not an investigation. That’s a Salem witch hunt.

Well, it’s Palin that ordered her own investigation:

n July, Palin came under a state ethics investigation and critics have said Palin’s claim that she did not know of the political pressure being placed on Monegan was a “little too convenient.” One fellow lawmaker, state Sen. Hollis French, a Democrat, told The Wall Street Journal that Palin could face impeachment. After French’s comments, Palin ordered the investigation into Monegan’s firing and told CNBC last month that lawmakers were unfairly targeting her.

“It’s cool. I want them to ask me the questions. I don’t have anything to hide,” she said during the interview. “Didn’t do anything wrong there.”

The investigation is expected to cost about $100,000 and last at least three months, according to The Associated Press.


Call it what you want, but Palin was under pressure to act, so she really had no choice.
Remember, it was Palin that ordered

MH says,

She said she had nothing to hide, and would cooperate with a investigation. However she should NOT cooperate with an investigation that is conducted outside of legal jurisdiction.

No, she never, until now, said she would disregard the state legislature’s investigation. Now she claims, as you do, it’s up to the ‘Personnel Board’:

John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has asked the state’s personnel board to review allegations that she improperly ordered the firing of the former public safety commissioner.

The move, which her office announced Tuesday, aims to blunt a probe already ordered by the state legislature. Palin is accused of firing Walt Monegan for failing to dismiss a trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin’s sister before she was governor.


MH, are you going to do an update on the more recent event of her leaked emails?

I’m glad to see that this has finally been explained. I did my own research and it didn’t take long to get to Halcro and see that Andy was all behind this. I listened to the recorded phone call – which was supposed to be “pressure” to fire Wooten. One thing I didn’t see mentioned (which, ironically, is clearly stated on the “secretly” recorded phone call) is that Wooten lied on his application for the job as trooper to start with. He should never even have BEEN a trooper, and yet he still IS at trooper.

Consider this: what if there was no “troopergate” investigation? The MSN would run a different smear: “Gov’s ex-brother-in-law Tazers Nephew – Gov. Does Nothing” and then they would challenge her credibility as a reformer. LOL!

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, does it?