Sounds like a silly headline, but when you read the report, in a nutshell that is exactly what it claims.
The Media is going nuts saying “Palin Abused Power” – but they are not giving you all the pertinent details that are in the report. Before I get into the details a few things need to be understood.
1. The report is the finding of just one man, Steve Branchflower. Who is the so called “independent investigator” who colluded with Democrats Hollis French and Kim Elton to keep some of Palin’s witnesses from testifying.
2. Hollis French, the Senator leading the investigation, is a strident Obama supporter and said unabashedly that he intended for the UPCOMING investigation to be used as an “October Surprise” for the election.
4. Monegan worked with Hollis French to try and get funding for projects that Governor Palin had previously vetoed.
…insubordination from Monegan from the official documents:
- 12/9/07: Monegan holds a press conference with Hollis French to push his own budget plan.
- 1/29/08: Palin’s staffers have to rework their procedures to keep Monegan from bypassing normal channels for budget requests.
- February 2008: Monegan publicly releases a letter he wrote to Palin supporting a project she vetoed.
- June 26, 2008: Monegan bypassed the governor’s office entirely and contacted Alaska’s Congressional delegation to gain funding for a project.
Even after all this, Palin didn’t want to fire Monegan, she just wanted to reassign him. She offered him another job on the spot. If Palin was personal and wanted to “get even” with Monegan she would have fired him.
Here is our previous coverage with the evidence of French’s, Monegan’s and Kim Elton’s politically motivated misconduct in the investigation—> https://iusbvision.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/a-picture-is-worth-1000-words-here-are-your-troopergate-investigators/
5. The 12-0 decision was not a unanimous finding of any guilt. It was a vote on whether or not to release Branchflower’s report to the public… so the Anchorage Daily News, who we have said before is often biased in its reporting against Palin, got it wrong when they said that the legislature found her guilty.
6. The press says that it was bi-partisan because the legislative committee has Republicans and Democrats on it. Lyda Green, the Republican leader of the Alaska Senate, who sits on the committee hates …and I mean HATES Governor Palin. Why do we say that? Lyda Green, as we reported HERE, is a part of that good old boys corruption network in the Alaska Republican Party that Palin brought down. Green tried to get revenge against Palin repeatedly, including trying to get the State of the State address schedule changed so that Palin would miss her son’s graduation. Lyda Green became very unpopular for opposing Palin’s reforms. So unpopular that she is not running for re-election.
It is important to remember that the Republican and Democrat party machines both hate Palin and would certainly be more aggressive towards her if she did not have an 80% approval rating. She ended their billion dollar corruption ring with the energy companies that owned the state government. Lets face facts, lots of people have been killed for less money. Palin refuses to endorse Republican Senator Ted Stevens, and it was Palin’s outing of the corruption ring that got the FBI interested in investigating Ted Stevens to begin with.
Here is the Branchflower Report.
The report states clearly:
Governor Palin’s firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.
The conspiracy theorists and partisan pundits said that the only reason Palin fired Monegan because he would not fire Alaska State Trooper Wooten (we will get to Wooten in a minute). Which, if true would have been a technical violation of state ethics laws. This has now proved to be false. This is an important lesson in the unintended consequences of passing sweeping legislation. As we will start to cover in a moment, if anyone on Earth deserved to be fired and have his right to own a gun taken away, it is Trooper Mike Wooten. Wooten has amassed quite a history of illegal, violent and reckless behavior, including threatening the lives of members of Palin’s family while in uniform. If the ethics laws prevent a governor from getting a threat to the public like Wooten off the street with a state issued firearm, the law has a problem.
The law should not be written in such a way as to prevent a governor from protecting the public from a threat such as a rogue cop like Wooten.
The report also states that Palin abused her power and violated ethics laws by not preventing her husband, Todd Palin, from trying to get Wooten fired. A stretch for many reasons with the most obvious reason being that husbands protect their families and good luck deterring Todd Palin from doing what he thought was best under such a threat and Todd Palin’s under oath statement states clearly that Sarah asked him to stop. What is she going to do, have her husband arrested to put an end to it? Its silly.
The reasoning that Branchflower uses to make this finding is here:
I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides
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.
The problem is that this is a wholesale misreading of the law and it takes a great deal of tortured logic to get there. We were preparing to explain why this is in detail, and while our previous legal analysis here at the IUSB Vision has ALWAYS proved accurate, trial attorney Bill Dyer was kind enough to publish his own analysis which we find to be spot on.
Hugh Hewitt published trial lawyer, Bill Dyer’s analysis HERE.
Excerpts – read this very carefully:
Instead, Branchflower has piled a guess (that the Palin’s wanted Wooten fired, rather than, for example, counseled, disciplined, or reassigned) on top of an inference (that when the Palins expressed concern to Monegan about Wooten, they were really threatening to fire Monegan if he didn’t fire Wooten) on top of an innuendo (that Gov. Palin “fired” Monegan at least in part because of his failure to fire Wooten) — from which Branchflower then leaps to a legal conclusion: “abuse of authority.” Branchflower reads the Ethics Act to prohibit any governmental action or decision made for justifiable reasons benefiting the State if that action or decision might also make a public official happy for any other reason. That would mean, of course, that governors must never act or decide in a way that makes them personally happy as a citizen, or as a wife or mother or daughter, and that they could only take actions or make decisions which left them feeling neutral or upset. This an incredibly shoddy tower of supposition, and a ridiculous misreading of the law.
This is exactly the entire point right here, in order for what Branchflower says to be true, the law would have to be read in a ridiculously broad manner. No serious judge (granted there are judges who ignore legal ethics routinely) would allow such a broad interpretation. In fact the number one reason why most laws are shot down by the courts is that they are overly broad. For example: when Palin returned a portion of the states energy revenue to every citizen of the state, including members of the Palin family who are citizens, according to Branchflower’s reading of the law this would have been a violation of the states ethics law. It’s silly.
Branchflower puts under a microscope every direct and indirect contact that can possibly be claimed to come, directly or indirectly, from Gov. Palin or her husband, Todd. In none of them did either Sarah or Todd Palin demand or request that Wooten be fired. Some of them date back to before Gov. Palin was even a candidate for governor. All of them are equally well explained by legitimate concerns that Wooten was a potential threat to the Palin family (having already made death threats against Gov. Palin’s father) and/or an embarrassment to the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the entire state law enforcement community. That the Palinsalsohad strong — and entirely understandable! — negative feelings about Trooper Wooten does not make any of these communications remotely improper, much less illegal.
Nevertheless, Branchflower leaps to the personal conclusion (page 67 of the .pdf file) that “such claims of fear were not bona fide and were offered to provide cover for the Palins’ real motivation: to get Trooper Wooten fired for personal family related reasons.” Well, here’s another memo to Mr. Branchflower: When the family is question is the family of the Governor of Alaska, and when her security detail is charged with protecting her from threats, and in the process of that, the security detail actively seeks out information as to who may have previously made death threats against the family, that’s no longer solely a “personal family related reason.” And when someone like Trooper Wooten threatens to bring ridicule and shame to the entire state of Alaska, that’s no longer solely a “personal family related reason” either.
Branchflower, I’m told, is an attorney and a former prosecutor. If he thinks this kind of nonsense could support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, or even a finding of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, then he may be the worst lawyer I’ve ever encountered — and I’ve met a lot of awful ones in almost three decades before the bar.
We are thrilled the most respected bloggers on the internet such as Hotair.com and Hugh Hewitt have come to similar conclusions as we did when we finished reading the report. After seeing Hugh Hewitt’s report from Bill Dyer, we were also thrilled to see Hotair.com feature Bill Dyer’s spot on analysis in their own report.
Now lets move on to Trooper Wooten:
Way back on September 3rd we published an analysis of “Troopergate” sometimes called “Tasergate” with this headline:
Ending the Biggest Lie Against Palin – Called Troopergate: Hey Ladies How Would You Deal With a Violent, Reckless, Out of Control Rogue Cop Who Threatened Your Family’s Life and Stalks Your Relatives – All While His Fellow Cops are Covering for Him.
This is the situation Palin’s sister faced. An abusive and violent cop for a husband that she was trying to divorce. A cop with a history misconduct…. including the tasering of his own 10 year old son.
Palin’s sister obtained a domestic violence protection order against Trooper Wooten. Wooten said in uniform that if Palin’s father helped Palin’s sister obtain an attorney, “I will make him eat a f**king lead bullet”.
Unfortunately, any women who has been a victim of domestic violence by a police officer knows how hard it is to get justice. When the family reported what was going on the Alaska State Police was none too keen on investigating one of their own and the Palin’s were forced to hire a private investigator just to take statements to submit to the investigation because the state police simply refused to do it.
After it was all over, the state police suspended Wooten for 10 days and reduced that punishment to five days. Wooten taunted the Palin’s saying that he got away with it and that there was nothing they could do to stop him. Wooten even threatened Governor Palin’s daughter Bristol at a Wasilla football game.
Be sure to read our analysis HERE and read official documents on Wooten’s behavior HERE.
The Palin’s offer no apology for any of their actions and any person with any sense at all would have acted the same. See the video HERE.
The mistake that Palin and the campaign did make.
The mistake that the campaign made was not getting ahead of this problem and trusting the media to be fair about reporting it. When you are a governor or a president you cannot afford to let your enemies or the press define the issue for you. All you here from Democrats and the elite media is “abuse of power” with almost no context.
The Campaign should have started calling this issue “Fathergate” or “Tasergate” at every opportunity. The campaign should have sent Sarah Palin out to blast Hollis French, Steve Branchflower, Walt Monegan and Trooper Wooten very publicly for what they did and kept the focus on them.
After the fact (now) I would find an ally in the legislature and file an ethics complaint against Hollis French. Why?? Because by Steve Branchflower’s own far overreaching and over broad interpretation of the ethics law, French personally benefited from this investigation and personally benefited because he said before the investigation got underway that he intended this to be an October surprise for the election. It’s politics and you gotta play rough, honest, but rough.
The documents in the case so far: