Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarah Palin Abused her power - amateurism and cronyism abound

The release of the 263 page report (available in .pdf format here) compiled by investigator Stephen Branchflower on the orders of the state of Alaska Legislative Investigation committee has been authorized by a unanimous vote of the 12-member Legislative Council. The vote followed a daylong closed meeting. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the report has found that "Palin violated the state's executive branch ethics act, which says 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."

The Anchorage Daily news also reports that Alaska Department of Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason, but was a "contributing factor" in his firing by Governor Palin. Additionally, the report finds that the Alaska Attorney General did not cooperate with the investigator's requests for information.

From the report:

"Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda ... to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired," Branchflower's report says.
"Compliance with the code of ethics is not optional. It is an individual responsibility imposed by law, and any effort to benefit a personal interest through official action is a violation of that trust. ... The term 'benefit' is very broadly defined, and includes anything that is to the person's advantage or personal self-interest."

Update: Time Magazine analyzed the "Troopergate" report, and came up with a finding of its own: the Palin administration in Alaska is amateurish and heavy into cronyism. Time reports:

"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 . . . The state's head of personnel, Annette Kreitzer, called Monegan and had to be warned that personnel issues were confidential. The state's attorney general, Talis Colberg, called Monegan and had to be reminded that the call was putting both men in legal jeopardy, should Wooten decide to sue. The governor's chief of staff met with Monegan and had to be reminded by Monegan that, "This conversation is discoverable ... You don't want Wooten to own your house, do you?" Monegan consistently emerges as the adult in these conversations, while the Palin camp displays a childish impetuousness and sense of entitlement. "

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