Trooper’gate witchhunt finale: $100K+ cost to taxpayers… no $5000 fine? No impeachment??


I cannot tell you how bored I am with Trooper’gate. And frankly, I’m glad at least one of the two investigations has had some nebulous and inconclusive conclusion.

I say “inconclusive conclusion” because, as Branchwater was quoted in the ADN today:

Branchflower writes that his investigation did not take into account late-arriving statements from several administration officials who, on the advice of Attorney General Talis Colberg, resisted subpoenas. They agreed to provide written statements this week, however, after a state judge upheld the subpoenas. Information from those statements was provided to the Legislative Council separately.

In fact, there were 10 witnesses not included in Branchwater’s investigation. Branchwater promises a separate report. Oh goodie.

I say nebulous since the only count from which they can extract a semblence of a scandalous headline is by Branchwater’s (legally erroneous) determination that Sarah Palin abused her power, in violation of the Executive Branch Ethics Act. How? By *not* telling her husband, Todd, to stop talking, or asking, about Trooper Wooten.

Huh? Okay… lemme ‘splain.

Personally, I’d rather just recant Theresa C’s comment from another thread, and quit there. Dang… the girl nailed it in 14 words!

Governor Palin abused her power because she didn’t put a leash on her spouse??

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. But of course, to get away with such a short quip, and not be accused of “drinking the kool-aid”, or some other sophomoric hep expression, one has to show how Branchwater managed to turn something so absurd into a headline that screams “Palin Abused Power” in the Anchorage Daily News.

BTW.. here’s the two biggies for reading. I’ll get the hotlinks out of the way now. Go to the source material, and ignore the reporters behind the curtain…

The Branchwater 263 page PDF Report
… or try here if that server is busy.

…and, Counsel for Palin’s Response

From the beginning. Remember, this was all about supposedly Palin firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he refused to fire Trooper Mike Wooten… Palin’s ex brother in law. (gawd, I’m bored already…) So keep in mind, this is where it all started. Or refresh your memory by REVIEWING ALL TROOPER’GATE POSTS HERE

UPDATE: To those of you who have rightfully commented below that Monegan was not fired, but had quit after refusing reassignment to the ABC division… yes, I know that. I am, however, carrying on with the oft repeated ADN headlines… i.e. Subpoenas expected in Monegan firing case. Since the Alaskans call this a “firing”, and call the affair “Troopergate”, I stick with their language for consistency. End UPDATE


Count One: the “abuse of power” which has the Obama camp salivating

Note: These PDFs do not allow highlighting text for cut and paste.. thus the jpgs. Saves a boatload of typing



Okay… Count 1 is about whether Palin abused her power under the Executive Branch Ethics Law by she, or her administrative staff, pressuring Monegan and/or other government officials to fire Wooten. This is not to be confused with Count 2… which addresses whether the actual “firing” (or actually, offered reassignment) of Monegan was yet another abuse of power…

Confused already? Hey… hang in there. This cost Alaskan taxpayers $100K, plus more that we don’t know about yet. Might as well give this fodder it’s due, yes?

And frankly, we only have to address Count 1. So let’s clear out the other counts here in advance….

On Count 2: Branchflower found that Monegan’s reassignment/termination was “a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.” As for Wooten INRE this charge, he stated that altho “Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired”, Branchwater said it was “likely” a contributing factor.

For more of those reasons why Palin had a problem with Monegan, read Randy Ruaro’s affidavit.

Woof… strong language by Branchflower there. There was other reasons, but Wooten was “likely” a contributing factor to Monegan’s reassignment?? Shall we ask for the chair? Lethal injection now? zzzzzzzz

Count 3: Hey… this was the one most the Obamabots were hanging onto… did Palin or anyone in her administration violate Wooten’s medical records? Certainly the most serious of charges, IMHO.

So sorry to disappoint. Nope. Nothing improper. Apparently an ex-employee, Johanna Grasso did a “she said” routine – alleging Murleen Wilkers (owner of the Harbor Adjustment Service Co) mentioned the Governor’s or her office had called and asked Wooten’s claim be denied.

Only problem is, Wilkes’ testimony revealed she had frequent contact with the usual representative in the Governor’s office that she does on all claims. And she was not directed to do anything differently, or unusual with Wooten’s claim.



This lack of impropriety was confirmed by former Alaskan AG, Joe Cooper (who represented the State in the Wooten workman’s comp case), Cooper’s former supervisor, Chief Asst AG Gail Voigtlander, and Wooten’s own Anchorage attorney in his workman’s comp case, Chancy Croft.

…. so much for that charge.

The last Count 4 appears to have nothing to do with Palin herself, but with the AG’s office. Apparently, Branchwater’s a bit miffed about the delay in the AG’s office providing him with the emails and data he demanded… er, requested… for his witchhunt… er, investigation.


The evidence supports the conclusion that Governor Palin, at the least, engaged in “official action” by her inaction [emphasis added] if not her active participation or assistance to her husband in attempting to get Trooper Wooten fired [and there is evidence of her active participation].

Uh… which is it? “If not” her participation or “evidence of her active participation”??

She knowingly, as that term is defined in the above cited statutes, permitted Todd Palin to use the Governor’s office and the resources of the Governor’s office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired. Her conduct violated AS 39.52.110(a) of the Ethics Act. That statute provides that:

“the legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust”.

Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired. She had the authority and power to require Mr. Palin to cease contacting subordinates, but she failed to act.

Or, as Theresa C said, she didn’t keep Todd on a leash… :0)

The problem with Branchflower’s interpretation of the Ethics Law is his overly broad vision of “benefit” and “personal interest” in the statute…. not to mention his lack of regard for precedents that clarify vague legalese. What he constitutes as “abuse” fails to meet the standards required by the Ethics Act. However Branchflower references no precedents. He merely creates his own interpretation of what meets the level of scrutiny.

As Thomas Van Flein states in his five page response (linked above), the Ethics Law “addresses financial conflicts of interest”, as precedents have defined.



Other precedents have also clarified “only substantial and material conflicts” violate the ethics law, and distinguishes between minor and inconsequential conflicts of interest that do not. Certainly, not asking Todd Palin to stop asking officials about Wooten classifies as the latter. And since any perceived interest Sarah Palin had in Wooten played little or no (i.e. “likely contributed) role in Monegan’s reassignment/termination, Palin is exonerated.



Since Branchwater goes on for pages with multiple events about conversations Todd Palin had with officials in his report, it’s even more interesting that Branchwater finds the First Dude is not in violation of anything… and therefore he makes no finding as to Todd Palin’s conduct. This is because Todd Palin is not an employee of the executive branch.

Uh… but isn’t he supposedly the culprit doing the dastardly deeds, while Sarah is guilty of just not stopping him??

Branchwater doesn’t explain how the six events of the 18 that involved Todd Palin (after she took office) are, as he said, use [of] the Governor’s office and the resources of the Governor’s office, including access to state employees. Frankly, I’m not even sure how six conversations over two and a half years even gets classified as serious pressure. But breaking it down, five of those were phone conversations. One was a conversation with Glass in a government building. However Palin did not bring the subject of Wooten up… Glass did.

There was only one conversation with Walt Monegan in the Governor’s office in all these events. However, if you will remember, Todd Palin was ordered to speak with Monegan by Special Agent Bob Cockrell INRE threats to the first family. Where did that meeting take place? In, perhaps, the governor’s office? And does this single meeting constitute abuse of government resources?

And one more thing that had “access to state employees” charge … is Todd Palin not allowed to speak to elected and administrative officials? Are these officials not available to the public at large?

So why did Todd Palin keep pursuing Wooten?


You’ll remember that the Palins filed a complaint against Trooper Wooten. The Administrative Investigation of that complaint ended March 1, 2006… over nine months prior to Palin taking the Governor’s office. Wooten appealed his meted out discipline with the help of the PSEA, his union. They settled the appeal on Sept 5th, 2006… reducing his 10 days suspension to 5 days. This is still four months before Palin takes office.

The problem here is the AST wouldn’t give the Palin’s any information as to whether the investigation had occurred, ended or if there was any discipline rendered. Alaskan State law prohibits feedback about status and outcome of any complaint against peace officers.

According to Frank Bailey’s affidavit on Aug 27th, 2008 with Thomas Van Flein, the Palins did not find out about Wooten’s complaint investigation, and the reduced suspension, until the summer of 2008… just shy of two years after the complaint was finalized in appeal, and three years after it was originally filed. They learned the results after Wooten’s personnel file was made public in the media.

Throughout that time, all they knew was that Trooper Wooten was still running around as an Alaskan State Trooper. His uninterrupted status lent the impression that nothing had been done. A five day sojourn (the suspension) could have been interpreted as a week’s vacation, for all they knew.

This is also confirmed via a 21 page legal analysis of the Branchwater report, available on the McCain campaign site. I am unaware of the author of this brief, and possibly a member of McCain’s legal team. It is, however, substantive to note that the Palins were unaware of any action on their complaint years ago.

Todd Palin was not aware of the Grimes Report until July 2008, after Monegan left the government. The DPS never informed the Palins that Wooten had been disciplined. All the Palins knew is that Trooper Wooten would repeatedly tell Ms. McCann that no one would ever punish him because he was a trooper, and that Trooper Wooten continued to be assigned to patrol the Palins’ neighborhood, even after he had threatened to kill Sarah Palin’s father.


After the expenditure of $100k of Alaskan taxpayers cash, Branchwater made two recommendations. One, to amend the request for medical and rehabilitation records by any government agency require a relationship be established between the request for the records, and the purpose for obtaining the records.

And second? That those who file complaints against peace officers to receive status and outcome of those complaints. As Branchwater himself said in his report, the Palins’ frustration was genuine, and their skepticism that an investigation or discipline had ever occured was warranted.

Gives a new perspective on all that talking Todd Palin was doing, eh?




So what about that impeachment Sen. Hollis French so readily bandied about in the press? Or at least one of the $5000 maximum fines for such serious crimes and misdemeanors as not reining in a hubby, attempting to find out what’s going on with the Trooper who threatened his family members?

Again, from today’s ADN:

The chairman of the Legislative Council, Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, said he agreed with Branchflower’s findings but wasn’t ready to suggest there should be any consequences for the governor.

“We don’t charge people, we don’t try people as legislators,” Elton said. Any further action or disciplinary measures, he said, would be up to Palin’s executive branch, the attorney general or the state Personnel Board.

So here we are – $100,000 later – back to the Personnel Board investigation. Right where the dang thing belonged to begin with….

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Two thoughts.

First, IIRC, Monegan wasn’t fired, he quit. Palin was going to shift him out of the position he was currently in to a position he didn’t want to be moved and he chose not to accept the other position she offered. Or am I wrong with that understanding?

Second, if Palin “fired” Monegan for not firing Wooten, then it stands to reason that her litmus test for the next public safety director would be canning Wooten, right? So then why is Wooten still a trooper?

Excellent recap to this sorry mess, Mata, you gave us many hours of your time and effort on this, thank you for seeing it through to the end.

I also appreciate the jpg’s, pdf freezes the Vista(aaarrrggghhh) program on my computer, I miss out on pdf info.

Anyway, it looks like the investigation cost almost twice as much as the 100 grand figure.

“Alaska Sen. Hollis French, head of the Troopergate investigation, is spending $100,000 in public funds plus forcing the Department of Law to spend another $95,000 to investigate.”

This source also questions the wrongdoing on the part of agencies involved— editorial, worthy read:

My turn: Troopergate allegations expose new corruption
By Jim Crawford


You may have seen this blog in your travels, it’s obviously supportive of Gov. Palin, he includes part of the above editorial and a brief discussion, Troopergate might not be over yet:

“Crimes are not personnel matters. “Troopergate” confirmed Wooten’s multiple crimes. The cover-up of crimes is the foundation of public corruption, just as it was long ago in Watergate.

After a lengthy internal investigation, these crimes were just footnotes in his personnel file. The accusations that he committed crimes were covered up and papered over by his union and supervisors at the Alaska Department of Public Safety.

Former prosecutor and “Troopergate” investigator, Steve Branchflower, must investigate the alleged failure to prosecute crimes and their cover-up. Former prosecutor and “Troopergate” man-in-charge French must find out on whose authority Wooten’s supervisors allegedly consistently hindered prosecution of accused crimes and obstructed justice. Just how far did this poison reach?

And French must disclose his findings on these matters to all Alaskans.

French is spending $195,000 from the public purse on “Troopergate.” “Troopergate” has been used to bludgeon Palin and her staff for rooting out the corrupt ‘Good Old Boy’ practices in Public Safety. Wooten was the tip of the iceberg. If troopers, supervisors and union representatives participated in hindering prosecution, or conspiracy to cover up the alleged crimes of Wooten, they also violated the law. Those responsible must be removed from office and stand trial for their crimes. And it must be done quickly.

Palin was elected Governor of Alaska to find and remove corruption. Firing Commissioner Walt Monegan, who possibly protected Wooten and his supervisors from prosecution, is apparently only the first step in rooting out corruption in his former department. Let’s get it done quickly. After removing the stain of “Troopergate” from Alaska, Palin can start a similar job in Washington, D.C. “

The agencies she is attempting to clean up wind up looking worse than anything she is accused of, but that’s not the way this will be spun.

baise l’amerique bande de fils de pute vous vous prener pour le centre du monde mais vous ete ke d grosse merde crever bande de salope

What a waste of time and taxpayer’s money.

Not an election year, and Gov. Palin wasn’t Sen. McCain’s running mate, there would have been an investigation.

Nico, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

First, IIRC, Monegan wasn’t fired, he quit. Palin was going to shift him out of the position he was currently in to a position he didn’t want to be moved and he chose not to accept the other position she offered.

In fact this is what I read in the Alaska newspapers. .. Monegan was to be reassigned, he chose to quit. HE WAS NOT FIRED.

Just so I have this straight. Someone who has personal knowledge of wrongdoing by one of their employees ISN’T supposed to do anything about it? Man, if NeObama gets elected, I guess I’m going to have to rewrite my business’ policy manual.

This was a bogus investigation… the so called “independent” investigator turns out to be a long time collegue of the so called victim for over twenty years.

Also both Wooten and Moneghan were wife beaters. Stellar guys.

There were eight Republicans on the panel. So, we are supposed to believe these are Obama supporters? Keep spinning – maybe you don’t get dizzy but I sure do. Tired of crooked unethical politicians like Palin and McCain. Now I’m definitely voting for Obama. We need a fresh start.

“Tired of crooked unethical politicians like Palin and McCain. Now I’m definitely voting for Obama.” (Finally swayed)

Hahahahaha! I think you are making some projection here. It is Obama the Crooked unethical politician… get your facts right you dumb Bozo. And don’t think for a second that we believe you ever wanted to vote for McCain… lol

How telling that the angry conservatives here would attack a political moderate not with strong rebuttals but with insults and ridicule. Good to see your belief in political discourse is alive and well. I liked McCain very much, as a matter of fact, and was voting for him, pre-Palin. But no longer – his supporters sound increasingly like an angry lynch mob, kind of like you do, screaming insults instead of rationally making winning arguments. Good luck keepng other moderates on McCain’s team.

Finally Swayed,

Nice try, but I don’t believe you. You were always an Obama’s fan. Your comments has Obama’s fingerprints all over… lol

Do you think we’re idiots, or what? But do go and vote for Obama and get yourself a nice little communist country, that should suit you well.

“feeling swayed” does not have “a bizarre persepective,” or “a very thin skin” or anything else of its own; it has a puppet master and ventriloquist in David Astroturfer Axelrod.

Finally Swayed has made it’s decision. So let’s give it a big send off. Hope he finds comfort with the Code Pinkos, looks pretty in pink, and knows where to smear the fake blood. Also be sure to learn the chants that are yelled at our wounded warriors on picketing day. Then there’s always ANSWER, get your ghoulish t-shirt and face mask ready, not to worry, you will eventually fit right in. Peace.

Hey Finally Swayed…I’m sure you’re a concerned Christian Republican who’s distressed at how corrupt the Republican party is and now believe that the messiah, the lord Barack Obama the Most Merciful is the answer.

ORRRRR…. (and this is the option I’m banking on)

You’re a pathetic attempt at astroturfing.

Boy…Axelrod sure is dropping the ball these days for his minions to be so transparent!

Question — the report release on Friday has Branchwater’s opinion. But has the legislative council “signed off” or formally agreed with that opinion? Or is that still to come?

Here is a video interviewing various members of the Legislative Committee that shows the report is just a conclusion of Branchwater and the committee members do not necessarily agree with it

A paraphrase of Kim Elton (D) — This report is not a report the legislative council has issued. If you talk to each of the individual members of the legislative council, some agree with every element, some agree with some, and maybe there are some that don’t agree with any of it.

Senator French’s October Surprise was the equivalent of sneaking up behind Palin and yelling, “Boo”. A Halloween prank that costs Alaska at least $5000


More in the neighborhood of $100,000 actually.

Ok, slogging thru the actual report, this quote sums up for me what was really going on:

“Shortly before the annual celebration of Police Memorial Day on May 15, 2008, Commissioner Monegan had dropped off a color photograph at Governor Palin’s Anchorage office with a request that she sign and present it at the ceremony. The photograph was of an Alaska State Trooper who was dressed in a formal uniform, saluting. He was standing in front of the police memorial located in front of the crime lab at AST headquarters in Anchorage, partially obscured by a flagpole. The picture to be signed by the Governor was to be used as a poster to be displayed in various Trooper Detachments around the state.”

“Shortly after he returned to his office from dropping off the photograph, he received a call from Kris Perry, Governor Palin’s Director of her Anchorage office who asked [according to Walt Monegan’s testimony] “Why did you send a poster over here that has a picture of Mike Wooten on it?” Until that moment, Commissioner Monegan never realized it was indeed a photograph of Trooper Wooten. Governor Palin cancelled her appearance and sent Lieutenant Governor Parnell in her place.”

So, someone at the Alaska State Troopers was trying to rub the Governor’s nose in the fact that Wooten was still a trooper and there was not a d*mn thing she could do about it. Probably not Monegan (he seems like a dolt). But this certainly backs up the Palin family’s contention that the troopers were laughing over the fact that Wooten got off with a slap on the wrist for serious infractions.

OK, here is my last post on this thing because I am starting to become borderline obsessed. What really angers me about the legislative council’s report is that the MSM gives the impression that the published report represents the opinion of the whole legislative council rather than just one person — Branchwater. The fact that the legislative council agreed to publish the findings apparently does not imply agreement with the findings as stated in the video linked above by none other then Kim Elton (D, Obama supporter, witch hunter). If that is the case, then the other members of the legislative council should clearly and publicly state that. The fact that they don’t seems pretty limp-wristed and cowardly to me. I though Alaskans were supposed to have more backbone than that?