The case for the impeachment of Governor Sarah Palin

by twit

On August 30, 2008, I reviewed online court records for the McCann/Wooten family court cases and created a timeline to help make sense of the news reports related to the “Troopergate” scandal.  At this point, a narrative version seems appropriate to help make sense of that timeline, particularly in light of how the court cases provide a telling backdrop to the scandal.

2005

In February 2005, Molly McCann confronted her husband Michael Wooten about “attending a trooper-sponsored event with another woman.” McCann called Sarah Palin and reported that Wooten was “headed home in a rage.”

McCann had Palin listen by speakerphone, “so Palin could listen when Wooten got there and get help if things got bad.”  According to McCann and Palin, Wooten said “if their father got a lawyer for her “he would eat a f’ing lead bullet. I will shoot him.”

At some point during this episode, Palin drives to the McCann/Wooten residence.  Palin reports that she thought that Wooten was “gonna blow it.”  In an August 2005 email to the chief of the State Police, Palin writes that the threat left “no doubt he is serious about taking someone’s life who disagrees with him.”

In response to the apparent danger, Palin “left for a meeting without calling police.”

On April 11, 2005, Molly McCann files for an Order of Protection against Michael Wooten, with allegations that include “Extreme verbal abuse & violent threats & physical intimidation,” and the judge issues an ex parte order, based only on her affidavit, granting McCann twenty days of legal protection from Wooten.  McCann also files for divorce on April 11, 2005.

On April 27, 2005, the State Police begin an investigation of Wooten, eventually interviewing 15 people over several months.

A report of the May 5, 2005 investigation by the Department of Public Safety can be seen here (with thanks to tefta for the link).

The case gets transferred to Anchorage, and on May 9, 2005, there is a hearing on the Order of Protection, and the case is dismissed.  A “no contact order” is entered in the divorce, which is different than an Order of Protection.

In August 2005, Palin emails Col. Julia Grimes, head of the State Police, claiming that “she was writing not as his sister-in-law” but instead to “express concern over the lack of action about a trooper whom she said many described as a “ticking timebomb” and “loose cannon.””

On October 10, 2005, Chuck Heath, the father of McCann and Palin, writes to Grimes,  “saying that the investigation is dragging on too long,” and describes Wooten as “a dangerous person, a loose cannon, ready to explode.”

On October 18, 2005, Sarah Palin announces that she is running for Governor of Alaska.

The child custody trial in the McCann/Wooten divorce is held on October 27, 2005.  At the trial, the Judge remarks that “It appears for the world that Ms. McCann and her family have decided to take off for the guy’s livelihood — that the bitterness of whatever who did what to whom has overridden good judgment.”  A KTUU report and video, with audio clips from the divorce trial, can be seen here.

The October 29, 2005 findings made as a result of the investigation of Trooper Wooten can be seen here (with thanks to tefta for the link).

2006

McCann and Wooten are officially divorced on January 31, 2006.  Newsweek reports on the divorce order:

In monitoring how a joint-custody arrangement worked out, the judge said in his order that he would pay particular attention to problems noted by a “custody investigator,” specifically “the disparagement of the father [Wooten] by the mother [Molly Hackett, Sarah Palin's sister] and her family members.”

“It is the mother’s [Hackett's] responsibility to set boundaries for her relatives and insure [sic] they respect them, and the disparagement by either parent, or their surrogates is emotional child abuse,” Judge Suddock wrote. He added that: “If the court finds it is necessary due to disparagement in the Mat-Su Valley [the area north of Anchorage where Palin and her extended family live], for the children’s best interests, it [the court] will not hesitate to order custody to the father and a move into Anchorage.”

On March 1, 2006, the State Police investigation of Wooten concludes with a ten day suspension and stern warning.

On September 5, 2006, a union grievance results in the reduction of the suspension to five days.

In November 2006, Sarah Palin is elected Governor of Alaska.  In December 2006, Palin begins her term as governor and appoints Walt Monegan as the Commissioner of Public Safety.

2007

In January 2007, Todd Palin, husband of Sarah Palin, meets with Monegan in the governor’s office and presents information about Wooten, including reports from private investigators.  Monegan reviews the information from Todd Palin, but concludes that there was “no new evidence.”

Monegan reports that several days after meeting with Todd Palin, Governor Palin called him “late at night” about Wooten.  Monegan reports that Todd Palin and Governor Palin were not “happy” about Mongan’s conclusion that the case against Wooten was closed.

In February 2007, Monegan reports that Governor Palin again raised the Wooten matter to him, and he warned her to “stay at arm’s length.”  Monegan reports that despite his warning, Governor Palin continued to raise the issue of Wooten “indirectly” via email.

On February 7, 2007, Governor Palin sends an email to Monegan that includes a reference to shooting a moose without his own permit, including “He’s still bragging about it in my hometown and after another cop confessed to witnessing the kill, the trooper was ‘investigated’ for over a year and merely given a slap on the wrist.”  (This is interesting because Governor Palin now denies ever knowing the outcome of the State Police  investigation, which makes a certain amount of sense because it may be illegal for her to have access to information from Wooten’s personnel file.)

This email is also reported to say “”He threatened to kill his estranged wife’s parent, refused to be transferred to rural Alaska and continued to disparage Natives in words and tone, he continues to harass and intimidate his ex. — even after being slapped with a restraining order that was lifted when his supervisors intervened.” (emphasis added).  I would like to know what Palin is referring to when she claims that Wooten’s supervisors caused the restraining order to be “lifted,” since the online court records suggest the parties agreed to settle the case with a no-contact order in the divorce and dismiss the restraining order.

It is important to point out that in this February 7, 2007 email, Palin mentions that Wooten “refused to be transferred to rural Alaska.”  Of course he did, it would have made it extremely difficult to have regular contact with his children while they were in the residential custody of Molly McCann.  The key part is what is reported by the Wall Street Journal on September 17, 2008:

Mr. Monegan said some [Palin] staff members inquired whether Mr. Wooten could be transferred away from the Anchorage area where he lives. The commissioner said he replied that Mr. Wooten’s seniority made it unlikely he could be reassigned.

It does seem that there was either a lack of concern or a recognition that the union-protected Wooten was not going to be fired easily.  So it looks like another tactic was attempted – one that was not concerned with Wooten remaining employed as a trooper, but instead focused on keeping him away from his children.

It is interesting that in the same email, Palin raises concerns that Wooten disparages Alaskan “Natives” and appears to want to address that concern by giving Wooten greater access to the “native” community.  And by interesting, I mean “doesn’t make any sense.”

On July 17, 2007, Governor Palin sends an email to Monegan, including this: “We can’t have double standards. Remember when the death threat was reported, and follow-on threats from Mike that he was going to ‘bring Sarah and her family down’ — instead of any reprimand WE were told by trooper union personnel that we’d be sued if we talked about those threats. Amazing. . . .”  The Washington Post reports that this email was related to “a legislative proposal that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” and that Governor Palin wrote, ‘”No one’s above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone.” (Considering that there is nothing to suggest that Michael Wooten was ever legally determined to be mentally ill, Governor Palin’s attempt to connect the proposed law to Wooten seems either incredibly unfair or incredibly ignorant.)

In November 2007, Michael Wooten files a motion to modify child custody.  McCann, through her attorneys, files an opposition and a motion to modify child custody, and later asks for the child custody investigator previously assigned to the case to be reappointed.

2008

On February 7, 2008, the Court agrees to reappoint the child custody investigator.  Which sets the stage for Frank Bailey, while working for Governor Palin’s office, to contact the State Troopers office on February 29, 2008.

In the recording of the February 29, 2008 call, Frank Bailey states, “Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, why on Earth hasn’t — why is this guy still representing the department?

Coincidentally, after this call fails to stop Wooten from “representing the department,” the custody case reaches a settlement agreement that is approved by the Court on May 29, 2008.

It then looks like the custody case is closed, but Michael Wooten starts filing motions in July 2008, including a request for a status conference.  The online docket does not offer a lot of detail about what Wooten is seeking from the Court.

Coincidentally, Walt Monegan is fired on July 11, 2008.

On July 17, 2008, Wooten’s request for a status conference is denied.

On July 19, 2008, Walt Monegan goes public with the allegation that he believes that he was fired because he did not cave to pressure from the Governor’s office to fire Wooten.

In response to the allegations, Governor Palin claims that “after she took office in December 2006, she broached the subject of Wooten with her public safety commissioner, Monegan, just once, when they discussed her security detail.”

As her former political opponent Andrew Halcro points out, it apparently was a ‘little known fact‘ that the Alaska Department of Public Safety records all of its incoming calls.

In July 2008, the Alaska Legislature appoints an independent investigator “to review whether the governor or her aides abused their power by pressuring Monegan to fire the trooper, a probe that the Democratic chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee said could lead to Palin’s impeachment,” and Palin starts her own investigation through her administration’s legal department.

On July 24, 2008, former US Attorney Wevley William Shea writes a letter to Governor Palin that states, “Unfortunately, in my opinion, you have had very naive unprofessional counsel on the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Law.”  On July 26, 2008, former US Attorney Wevley William Shea writes a letter to the Anchorage Police Department, the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the FBI, stating “I firmly believe that Governor Palin recieved “incompetent counsel” on key law enforcement issues.”  Later on in this letter, he writes, “Governor Palin and her key advisors have made errors.”  On August 4, 2008, Shea writes to Governor Palin again, explaining the apparent limits of executive privilege based on various court rulings and legal analysis, including what appears to be a broad hint that Governor Palin is in a similar predicament to what President Nixon faced before his resignation. (The Wall Street Journal reports, via TPM).

On August 13, 2008, Governor Palin admits that an initial investigation has found “14 members of her administration made more than 20 calls to Monegan and other public safety officials regarding Wooten since she became governor in 2006.”

On August 30, 2008, Monegan reports that since she became Governor, “Palin sent him two or three e-mails that referenced her ex-brother-in-law and his status with troopers.”

Monegan also reports that he “warned each caller about exposing the state to litigation from Wooten.” Monegan reports that he told Mike Tibbles, Palin’s chief of staff at the time, “every time we talk about this, it is discoverable. Do you want this trooper to own your house?

There is a lot going on here.  As an initial matter, there is the allegation that Governor Palin used her office to inappropriately attempt to exert pressure on the State Police to take further action against Wooten despite a lack of evidence to justify any further action.  It seems important to point out that even Governor Palin did not perceive a real threat from Wooten during the February 2005 episode that has become a central focus of her later allegations – she was at the scene and instead remaining there to help her sister or calling the police, she instead drove to a meeting.  She claims to have been at a dangerous situation but her actions suggest that at the time she did not actually consider it dangerous.  One doesn’t have to have years of experience practicing family law to see that Palin did not act as if she was truly scared for her sister’s safety in February 2005, and how much this seems to undercut her later claims about the danger presented by Wooten during that episode.

As a central issue there is the question of whether Monegan was fired because he would not yield to the repeated requests by Palin, her husband and her administration officials to fire Wooten.  One of the more bizarre aspects of this scandal is this statement by Monegan to McClatchy on August 30, 2008:

“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.’”

I don’t see the difference between asking for Wooten to be fired and stating that the Governor does not want Wooten representing state troopers.

update: From the Washington Post on September 4, 2008:

Monegan has said that Palin never directly told him to fire Wooten but that the message was clearly conveyed through repeated messages from Palin, her husband and three members of her Cabinet.

Referring to “representing state troopers” actually seems a little more threatening to Monegan, since it implies that his management of the image of the state troopers is in question.  It seems to suggest that the administration’s confidence in him as a leader is damaged and that there is work for him to do in order to restore it.  In some ways, it looks like Monegan was having his job called into question over the Wooten issue.

update: From the Washington Post on September 4, 2008, it is reported that the February 7, 2007 email sent by Palin to Monegan also says:

Palin wrote that the Wooten matter had contributed to “the erosion of faith Alaskans should have in their law enforcement officials.” She concluded by saying the e-mail was “just my opinion.”

Another issue that stands out is how Governor Palin appears to have lied to the people of Alaska when she claimed that she had only communicated with Monegan about Wooten “once,” as it related to her security detail.  It looks like a stunningly stupid lie to tell in the context of the documentation that exists.  In many ways, it seems to call Palin’s credibility into question for any statement she makes about the allegations.

It also sounds like a recognition that communication with Monegan about Wooten for reasons other than her security detail would be inappropriate.  Her first response to the allegations was that she had acted appropriately because she had not attempted any other communication with Monegan about the issue.  The failure to mention her calls, her emails, her husband’s meeting and calls, as well as the numerous calls from her staff to Monegan, seems to create the appearance of an understanding that these contacts were inappropriate.  As Palin recently said “I do now have to tell Alaskans that such pressure could have been perceived to exist.”

It appears that Governor Palin may have predicted the outcome of the current investigations, because her first response to the allegations appears to outline the limits of her authority as governor.  It seems likely that the investigations will conclude that her instinct to immediately deny her involvement was the correct one, because her actual involvement appears to be an abuse of her authority as Governor.

update: From the Washington Post on September 4, 2008:

“To allege that I, or any member of my family . . . directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous,” Palin said in a statement in mid-July after Monegan’s dismissal.

It looks like Governor Palin abused the authority of her office (and possibly violated state law) in an attempt to get Michael Wooten fired.  It also looks like she abused her authority by firing Monegan when he refused to yield to those attempts.  It further looks like Governor Palin walked herself into impeachment proceedings by claiming that she had only ever had one conversation with Monegan about Wooten.

The investigations continue and the report from the independent investigator is due to be presented to the Legislature in late October.

The original timeline can be seen here.

update: The report from the independent investigator is now due to be presented in early October.

However, Governor Palin now appears to be trying to stall the process:

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.

In addition, key witnesses are becoming uncooperative as well:

A key witness in the Alaska State Senate Ethics investigation of Gov. Palin has backed out of testifying today, the state senator in charge of the investigation tells NBC News. The senator — Democrat Hollis French — says Frank Bailey’s decision not to testify will slow down the “Troopergate” investigation into the current candidate.

… Since becoming the VP nominee, Palin has challenged jurisdiction of the ethics investigation. Bailey cites that jurisdictional uncertainty as his reason for not testifying.

At this point, it apears that seven potential witnesses are now refusing to cooperate with the investigation:

State legislators said Friday that seven “key witnesses,” all Palin administration members, cancelled appointments this week for interviews with Branchflower.

These seven could receive subpoenas compelling their cooperation, depending on decisions made at a joint hearing of the House and Senate judiciary committees next Monday in Anchorage.

update: The Associated Press reports on September 16, 2008 that Sarah Palin is refusing to meet with the independent investigator appointed by the State Legislature.

update: The Anchorage Daily News reports on September 16, 2008 that Palin is instead taking her case to the press:

“The last straw” leading up to Monegan’s firing, Van Flein wrote, was Monegan’s planned trip to Washington, D.C., to seek funding for a new, multimillion-dollar sexual assault initiative the governor hadn’t yet approved.

Monegan, in an interview Monday, said that the papers the governor’s lawyer filed are selective and he’s provided other documentation to the legislative investigator, Steve Branchflower, that will provide a more balanced portrayal of his time as commissioner.

update:  This “last straw,” as TPM points out, is a new reason for Monegan’s firing that contradicts earlier statements made by Palin:

But whatever the role of the sexual assault initiative in Monegan’s departure from state government, this is by now the third substantive explanation given by Palin for that departure. And, to one degree or another, all those explanations contradict each other.

In this interview from July, Palin said she fired Monegan because she was dissatisfied with his performance on filling vacant trooper positions and on bootlegging and alcohol abuse issues.

Around the same time, she told The New Yorker, for a story published this week, that she hadn’t actually fired Monegan, but rather had wanted to reassign him to combat alcohol abuse, and that he quit instead.

She said that one of her goals had been to combat alcohol abuse in rural Alaska, and she blamed Commissioner Monegan for failing to address the problem. That, she said, was a big reason that she’d let him go–only, by her account, she didn’t fire him, exactly. Rather, she asked him to drop everything else and single-mindedly take on the state’s drinking problem, as the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. “It was a job that was open, commensurate in salary pretty much–ten thousand dollars less”–but, she added, Monegan hadn’t wanted the job, so he left state service; he quit.

But the new line from the Palin camp is that Monegan was fired for his insubordination on budget issues, culminating in his effort to win federal money for the initiative to combat sexual assaults — an explanation that neither Palin nor anyone around her had raised until now, two months after the firing.

and it is interesting that Palin thought Monegan was doing a bad job addressing alcohol abuse in Alaska, so she decided to give him more authority to address the issue.  And by interesting, I mean “doesn’t make any sense at all.”

update: The independent investigation approved by the State Legislature is heading to court:

From an e-mail sent overnight by Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson:

Five Alaska Legislators, Rep. Wes Keller, Rep. Mike Kelly, Rep. Bob Lynn, Sen. Fred Dyson, and Sen. Tom Wagoner, will file suit in state superior court in Anchorage tomorrow morning (9/16/08) at 9:00 am (Superior courthouse 4th Avenue) against Sen. French, Sen. Kim Elton, Stephen Branchflower and the Alaska Legislative Council in order to halt the investigation of Governor Sarah Palin and others because the investigators have lost the appearance of impartiality required under the Alaska Constitution. The Legislators will ask for declaratory and injunctive relief in the investigation, stating that it is an attempt to use the Alaska Legislative Council to further partisan politics.

update: a round up of the various investigations that are currently pending against Governor Palin, including but not limited to Troopergate, can be seen here.

update: Extensive coverage of Troopergate by the Anchorage Daily News can be seen here.

update! Independent investigator Stephen Branchflower has released his report, which finds that Governor Palin abused her authority.  Highlights from the 263 report can be seen here.

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32 Responses to The case for the impeachment of Governor Sarah Palin

  1. mark farmer says:

    Has anyone looked into what the age difference is between Bristol Palin at the time of impregnation and the supposed father? If Governor Palin stands for law and order shouldn’t she be seeking charges against him for statutory rape or contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

  2. That doesn’t have anything to do with the possible impeachment of Governor Palin. And there is plenty in Governor Palin’s alleged conduct as a public official that raises questions about her commitment to “law and order.”

    I think that we should stay focused on the actual issues related to her candidacy as vice president, and not waste time with fantasy make-believe scandals.

    I suggest that we focus on Palin’s political career. It seems far more enlightening to examine how Palin herself potentially faces criminal charges, civil lawsuits and an impeachment proceeding.

  3. Republican says:

    It seems as though this investigation will be wrapped up shortly, as Sarah Palin doesn’t disagree with any other facts. On another note, who hides a pregnancy for 7 months. Her daughter Bristol is suddenly pulled out of school and kept in seclusion. That doesn’t have people talking. Now Bristol is pregnant, it certainly would be a coinsidence if this baby has has downs syndrom. That’s what McCain needs, some excitment! Well it appears that the storm is brewwing, stay tuned. My money says she’s gone before the election, and Romney is on the ballot.

    Angry Republican

  4. Actually, Governor Palin appears to be trying very hard to stall the investigation that she previously agreed to cooperate fully with:

    Since becoming the VP nominee, Palin has challenged jurisdiction of the ethics investigation.

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/03/1334385.aspx

    A storm is brewing, but it has NOTHING to do with her pregnancy or her daughter’s pregnancy. So what if she hid her pregnancy? So what if her daughter was pulled out of school because she was pregnant? Those are personal choices, and while they function as “exciting” distractions, they are irrelevant to the questions related to whether Gov. Palin abused the authority of her office by attempting to get Wooten fired, whether she abused her authority by firing Monegan and whether she lied to the people of Alaska about her involvement.

  5. Leona says:

    Did Sarah Palin hide or lie to her Alaskins state that she was expecting; while running for office? She indeed comes off as is the problem. Why does media always interveiw only the 80% in her favor. Get the in put from the other 20% her unfavorable Alaskins.

  6. I agree that it would be nice to hear from Alaskans about their thoughts about Governor Palin, especially since Palin is so unknown to the rest of America.

    But I don’t think that her pregnancy is a relevant consideration of whether or not she is an honest politician that can be trusted. I believe that focusing on her pregnancy and family life is a distraction from the real issues in this election.

    The lies that seem most important are the ones Governor Palin appears to have told when she at first denied her involvement in what appears to be a gross abuse of her authority.

    Sarah Palin may be facing impeachment proceedings in the near future. It is the possible corruption and illegal activity by her office that may expose her as a corrupt and dishonest politician who cannot be trusted.

  7. Carl Hackert says:

    Has Wooten, who has been married and divorced for the 4th or time now, had any other complaints against him or violated the law since March 1, 2006?

    If so, he violated the “final warning” of 3/01/06 from Col. Julia Grimes and what wasn’t Wooten fired as per Col. Grimes order?

    Wooten is said to be currently on some sort of suspension or leave? Is he ill? Was he removed again? Is it a vacation? An injury? Personal time? Is he under investigation for incidents since 3/01/06?

    Why is the Union protecting Wooten?

    In New York State, we have a pair of Troopergate scandals of our own involving Sen. Bruno and the release of sensitive documents involving Congressman John Sweeney. The revelations were politically motivated and timed to embarrass these two Republicans to influence recent elections – former AG and Governor Spitzer and high ranking State officials including NYS Troopers were involved along with Congresswoman Gillibrand and the Albany Times Union newspaper. Is this the latest Democrat/Union “dirty trick|” tactic?

    Here’s the “final warning” letter from Col. Grimes which details the 13 incidents he’d been involved in (pretty bad for a guy who had only been on the force for 5 years at the time):

    http://media.adn.com/smedia/2008/07/21/16/Wooten_suspend_letter.source.prod_affiliate.7.pdf

  8. Carl,

    In response to your question “Is this the latest Democrat/Union “dirty trick|” tactic?” I’ll point out the Alaska State Legislature is dominated by Republicans* and that there was a unanimous vote to start an investigation into these allegations:

    The legislative investigation was approved by a unanimous vote of a joint House/Senate committee that essentially manages the administrative functions of the legislature. The committee — known as the Legislative Council — which consists of nine Republicans and five Democrats, entered a contract with Stephen Branchflower for $45,000 (plus per diem for travel days and other expenses) to investigate “the circumstances and events surrounding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and potential abuses of power and/or improper actions by members of the executive branch.”

    http://www.rollcall.com/issues/54_26/news/27918-1.html

    So it doesn’t appear to be a “Democrat/Union dirty trick.” It appears to be a Republican-endorsed effort to root out corruption in a state that has seen its fair share of political corruption.

    * update: The LA Times notes that the “The [Alaska] state Senate is controlled by Democrats, the state House by Republicans.” However, as noted above, the Legislative Council that authorized the independent investigation is dominated by Republicans.

  9. Pat says:

    As a woman, I’m thrilled to death to see the author(s) of this blog insist on keeping to issues where facts can be ascertained and evaluated, rather than smarmy innuendo and baseless rumor. Her pregnancy and that of her daughter are personal, private, and completely irrelevant issues to her candidacy for the upcoming election.

    I’m mesmerized by all of the great information you’ve posted here, along with the plethora of sources you have cited. Great job!

  10. EA Broughton says:

    In light of the emphasis put by the religious right on abstainence as the only form of birth control and their adamant refusal to sanction true birth control counseling, I think Sarah Palin’s lack of parental guidance of her daughter is fair game. I’m sorry for Bristol, but her mother’s lack of concern for the daughter’s plight over her ambition is appalling. I was happy to see the timeline of the Wooten-McCann controversy.

  11. I have a couple reasons for trying to separate Governor Palin’s children from the discussion of whether she is a suitable candidate for vice president.

    As a starting point, I think that people can be the best parents in the world and still have a child who becomes pregnant as a teenager. I think it is very hard to come to a firm conclusion about the parent based on their teenage child becoming pregnant.

    I also believe that Governor Palin’s support of “abstinence only” education is dangerously misguided. I see Palin’s desire to deprive teenagers of information about their health as a very relevant issue in this election. This issue effects all teenagers, not just Bristol. The point is that Palin wants every child to be ignorant about birth control, not just her own children.

    But I think that we should try to stay out of Bristol’s private life. I don’t want the government to dictate my private life, especially whether or not I bear a child, so in some ways this is a philosophical point.

    I think that we should extend Bristol the same respect that we demand for our own life choices.

    I realize that Governor Palin would not pay me the same respect. But I do not want to get dragged down to her level.

  12. Tom Doyle says:

    Excellent account of the “abuse of power” issue.

    Whether Gov. Palin acted wrongfully, and, if so, what the consequences should be depends on Alaska law, as does the process for making that determination.

    The matter arose before Gov. Palin became a Vice-presidential candidate. At the time, there was no claim that the investigation itself was improperly motivated, or that the legislative committee was acting outside the scope of its authority. The committee decision appears to have been unanimous, and legislators of both parties spoke favorably of the committee’s actions.

    While the outcome of the investigation remains uncertain, it is troubling that statements by the governor’s office regarding the extent of its communications were inaccurate, as demonstrate by email and phone records. It is also troubling that, contrary to earlier representations, officials in the governors office are now refusing to cooperate with the investigation.

    I agree that issues like the daughter’s pregancy should be irrelevant to Gov. Palin’s candidacy. The subject under discussion here involves Palin’s performance in office, and all aspects of it, including her statements and actions, and those of the McCain campaign, in the course of the investigation, are certainly relevant.

  13. tefta says:

    You forgot to include in your timeline:

    8/19/05 – Testimony of Track Palin to the investigator – he states that his mother called Molly on the evening in question – for the sole purpose of getting confirmation of Mike having an affair – Molly didn’t call her – also says that Sarah Palin called Molly after the conversation as well….

    In addition – testimony given by Molly McCanns neighbor – Paul Page states that Sarah called him to keep an eye on Molly one evening as they were having an argument – that he watched from outside the house (by himself – NOT with Sarah Palin) and that Mike didn’t appear assaultive and that Molly followed him through the home & upstairs – Wooten wasn’t in her face starting it with her – he walked away.

    Please also add that conveniently McCanns attorney has been fighting tooth and nail NOT to be heard under Judge Suddock – motion filed 1/22/08 – and many many alterations with unspecified reasons to the calendar vacating hearings scheduled before Suddock – This is the judge that clearly saw the intentions of the Palin/Heath family and warned that if any of their actions caused Wooten to lose his job or pay in anyway, Molly and her family would be held liable.

  14. I appreciate the additional information, but I need a source (preferably one that I can link to) before I can add it to this post.

    In this post, I have tried to focus on the abuse of power issue and describe the information that I have found about the McCann/Wooten divorce to fill in the background of the Troopergate scandal, to shed light on the possible motivation behind the allegations against Governor Palin.

    I’ve posted a commentary about additional details related to the McCann/Wooten divorce that were reported by Newsweek on September 9, 2008:

    http://apocalyptickiwi.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/new-details-from-the-mccannwooten-divorce-suggest-that-sarah-palin-is-an-abusive-scumbag/

    This new information also seems to shed light on the possible motivation for the alleged abuse of power that is being investigated in the Troopergate scandal.

    It also sheds light on the possible reasons why Wooten filed a motion to modify custody in November 2007, since it now appears that the judge made it clear that if Palin’s family continued to engage in disparagement of Wooten in front of the children, a motion to transfer residential custody to Wooten could be heard.

  15. Carl Hackert says:

    The real point you and the other writers seem to be missing is why is Wooten still on the force? As his reprimand and final warning shows, in the opinion of the his superiors following an investigation, he threatened members of the Palin family, tasered his stepson, drank beer in his patrol car and while on duty, was stopped for drinking and driven home, killed a moose illegally, etc.,

    Readers, please click on the link before commenting further, Its very damaging to Wooten:
    http://media.adn.com/smedia/2008/07/21/16/Wooten_suspend_letter.sourc

    Since the State Police act as a protective unit for the Governor, why shouldn’t the Palin family be concerned?

    The Palin’s hired a private investigator who furnished information about Wooten and Todd Palin presented this information to those in a position to dismiss Wooten. Nothing wrong with that, they are entitled to do so as citizens, and this sorry episode started long before Sarah Palin became Governor.

    After being cited for 13 area of misconduct, Trooper Wooten was given his final warning by Grimes. Is there any information that Wooten violated the terms of his final warning? If he did, he should have been fired or at least suspended pending an investigation.

    I mentioned the “dirty tricks” thing because in politics one can’t avoid making enemies, even in your own party, and in NY we have witnessed Democratic Party dirty tricks involving NYS Troopers used to try to smeer political opponents.

  16. I believe the Anchorage Daily News explains it well:

    It is not about whether Wooten should be removed from the force. He clearly should have. Troopergate is about Gov. Sarah Palin using the power we entrusted her with to go outside of the law to get her way in a family matter. Something the rest of us would not be able to do.

    Troopergate is about power, privilege and undue influence. Troopergate is the antithesis of equal protection under the law. Troopergate violates the very fabric of our judicial system.

    … in America we operate within the confines of the law and we protect the rights of our citizens. Politicians can change laws but not break them. No matter how good their intentions are.

    http://www.adn.com/opinion/sarah-palin/story/518447.html

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  18. tefta says:

    link to source for wooten motion to avoid case assignment to Suddock:

    http://www.courtrecords.alaska.gov/pa/pa.urd/pamw2000.docket_lst?68657988

    01/22/2008 Opposition to Motion to Reassign Matter to Judge Suddock Attorney: Erwin, Roberta C (9411101) Molly J Mccann (Plaintiff); Case Motion #15: Standard Motion 0.00

    http://media.adn.com/smedia/2008/07/25/20/Memo_of_findings_10-29-05.source.prod_affiliate.7.pdf

    shows notes that state the drinking in his patrol car, taking steroids, starting an altercation and flashing his badge to get an innocent man ejected from the bar, drover his personal vehicle drunk, refused to pay a $5 fine, and illegally killed a wolf were UNFOUNDED/NOT SUSTAINED (not proven).

    lINK TO FILE WITH TRACK INTERVIEW W/INVESTIGATOR, PAGE INTERVIEW AND MCCANN & PAYTON INTERVIEWS –

    http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site163/2008/0717/20080717_061848_639.pdf

    I also wanted to point out that Wooten wasn’t found guilty of 13 offenses – he was found guilty of 3- killing the moose when it was Molly’s tag, using the training taser on Payton, and making the threat against Heath – none of which warrant being removed from office – particularly since Molly was never scared for her Dad – neither was Sarah – or they would have been down at the police dept within minutes – and the kid was curious about the taser – lousy judgment, yes, mistake – damn right – but the kid didn’t even cry and it was NOT done in anger or as a punishment – which is how it is being made to seem. The moose thing is a joke – even the other Trooper Watchus told the investigator that he didn’t think it was a big deal because “they were husband and wife”.

    I truly feel sorry for this man and can not believe that he has managed to stay there through the onslaught that the Palin family has waged on his character, reputation and career. He must have skin of steel not to have buckeled under the constant pressure and scrutiny and surveillance they subjected him to. It’s the equivalent of a slow torture to be constantly beat down like they have.

    It’s one thing if she had done this out of genuiine fear – but she didn’t – she did it to wage her personal war and she and her family made false statements with not one based on personal – 1st person knowledge – as evidenced in her testimony to the investigator in an deliberate attempt not only to discredit him, but with the intent on depriving him of his job. There is no honor in that – no justification.

  19. Alnico says:

    I agree tefta. While Trooper Wooten might have used some minor poor judgement, he was adaquatly disciplined for his poor judgement and probably learned from it. I hope he gets more custody from of his kids since it is clear that his ex’s family continued to disparage his name even after warned by the judge. Shame on the whole lot of them for even suggesting Trooper Wooten should be sent to the outskirts of Alaska to patrol where he would have had limited involvement with his children. Koodos to the Trooper’s Union up there for putting Trooper’s dues to good use in preventing excessive discipline just because the ex was connected.

  20. tefta,

    Thank you very much for the links. I apologize for the delay in adding them to this post, but I do sincerely appreciate it that you added this information to the comments.

    I have been shocked to see the “tasering the stepson” story promoted with so little explanation generally offered by the media. Especially since the Anchorage Daily News made it so clear in the July 27, 2008 story “Is Wooten a good trooper?” that there was no malicious intent involved:

    One day — maybe a year or two before the investigation — Wooten showed his stepson his Taser. He had just been to Taser instructor school. Wooten told Sgt. Wall that the boy was fascinated and pleaded to be tased.

    “So we went in our living room and I had him get down on his knees so he wouldn’t fall. And I taped the probes to him and turned the Taser on for like a second, turned it off. He thought that was the greatest thing in the world, wanted to do it again,” Wooten told the investigator. The boy flinched but nothing more, he said. The boy was about 11 at the time.

    In his interview with troopers, the stepson said it hurt for about a second, according to Wall’s report. The boy said he wanted to be tased to show his cousin, Palin’s daughter Bristol, that he wasn’t a mama’s boy. The probe left a welt on his arm, he said. His mother was upstairs yelling at them not to do it, the boy said.

    As Bristol remembered it, the jolt knocked the boy backward, the trooper report says. She said she was afraid.

    The probes are attached by thin wires to the Taser cartridge. In the field, an officer fires the probes into a suspect’s skin or clothing and the suspect receives a jolt of electricity for five seconds, said Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Taser International, which makes the devices. They are only incapacitated during that time. In demos, the probes might be taped to a person so that they don’t accidentally strike an eye or injure the volunteer, he said. If the Taser is fired for just a second, it would feel like your funny bone was hit but the quick jolt wouldn’t knock you over, Tuttle said.

    http://www.adn.com/politics/story/476430.html

    As a matter of judgment, I do think it is questionable, particularly with the child’s mother objecting. But I do think that the context is very important, especially as Governor Palin continues to reference it as if it was some kind of heinous act. If all we hear is “tasered his stepson” it does sound like it could well have been an angry, violent act.

    I think that Alnico hits the nail on the head with the ultimate point – there appears to have been pressure from Governor Palin to have Wooten transferred to rural Alaska. This tactic undermines the credibility of Governor Palin’s claim that Wooten should not have continued to “represent” the state troopers. Transferring Wooten would have kept him on the police force, and simply made it far more difficult for him to see his children.

    And Alnico, you raise a very interesting point about the ongoing comments made by Palin to the news media, such as what she said during her recent interview with Sean Hannity:

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/palin_still_badmouthing_troope.php

    It does seem like exactly what the Judge in the McCann/Wooten case warned against.

  21. Bluedog aka Bash Budweiser Palin Jr. says:

    Thank you for this highly useful web site. I really appreciate that you’ve included links and stuck to the basic information.

    I’ve made it my mission to visit newspaper web sites wherever Palin appears. Wooten often comes up, with the tasering, etc., mentioned out of context, of course. I’m glad I have a good source to point people to.

    (Love your church’s name and motto, BTW)

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  25. WriteToBeHeard says:

    “She said that one of her goals had been to combat alcohol abuse in rural Alaska, and she blamed Commissioner Monegan for failing to address the problem.”

    How ironic it is that Sarah Palin claimed this particular issue of “combatting alcohol abuse in rural Alaska” being that in Wasilla while she was mayor, her police chief tried to encourage an ordinance where the local bars would legally have to close down at 3am instead of 5am, but Sarah insisted on allowing the Wasilla bars to be open until 5am.( Sarah Palin was getting a great number of contributions from bar owners and clearly didn’t care a less about alcohol abuse, drunk driving, rape, car accidents etc that resulted)

    What a hypocrite, liar, and manipulator Palin is…

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  28. dennis says:

    How come we don’t hear more about Track. Wasn”t he one of the kids that vandalized one of the schools. If he was, how convieninet he shipped off to Iraq..

  29. lestro says:

    dennis-

    i think you are referring to Track’s alleged involvement in the vandalism of 44 alaskan school buses in 2005, but that appears to be false; According to the boys arrested, Track was NOT involved in said vandalism.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/09/10/2008-09-10_reports_that_track_palin_vandalized_scho.html

  30. Pingback: Palin vs. Wooten: Palin wins another round « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

  31. Beautiful American Ladies: says:

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