A bombshell is coming out of the Alaska investigation into Troopergate, the scandal where Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is alleged to have committed abuses of power by using her office to try to fire her sister’s ex husband, an Alaska State Trooper.
The New York Times reports here http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/us/10trooper.html that the Alaska State Legislature’s bipartisan investigation is unearthing evidence that Sarah Palin and her aides pressed then Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire Trooper Wooten repeatedly and when he refused, he was fired. According to the Times:
…an examination of the case, based on interviews with Mr. Monegan and several top aides, indicates that, to a far greater degree than was previously known, the governor, her husband and her administration pressed the commissioner and his staff to get Mr. Wooten off the force, though without directly ordering it.
In all, the commissioner and his aides were contacted about Mr. Wooten three dozen times over 19 months by the governor, her husband and seven administration officials, interviews and documents show.
“To all of us, it was a campaign to get rid of him as a trooper and, at the very least, to smear the guy and give him a desk job somewhere,” said Kim Peterson, Mr. Monegan’s special assistant, who like several other aides spoke publicly about the matter for the first time.
Ms. Peterson, a 31-year veteran of state government who retired 10 days before Mr. Monegan’s firing, said she received about a dozen calls herself. “It was very clear that someone from the governor’s office wanted him watched,” she said.- Advertisement -
The Times goes on to talk about how Monegan’s successors were also pressured to take action against Wooten.
Yesterday, according to this AP article in Yahoo http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081010/ap_on_el_pr/palin_troopergate , Palin and the McCain campaign desperately tried to get around the upcoming findings of the investigation by, amazingly, issuing its own report on what happened without performing any real investigation. So, who needs official investigations and criminal trials? Just issue a report declaring yourself innocent!
When viewed against the McCain campaign’s efforts to attack and derail the investigation into Troopergate, the new revelations raised by witnesses are dynamite and raise additional questions.
Did McCain and his campaign obstruct justice, or conspire to obstruct justice because they knew that Palin was guilty of these abuses of power?
Here is what we know about the McCain campaign’s role in the investigation. According to this article http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/09/9840_palin_troopergate_mccain_green_ocallaghan_lyda-green.html :
Alaska Republican State Senator Lyda Green … believes the McCain-Palin campaign has undermined the rule of law in the Last Frontier. She says she has watched with outrage as McCain-Palin operatives have flown into her state and interfered with the so-called Troopergate investigation--the official, approved-by-the-legislature inquiry into whether Palin dismissed her public safety commissioner because he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin's sister.
Calling herself a "raging Republican," Green says, she is "absolutely disgusted, embarrassed, and ashamed" by the McCain-Palin campaign's intervention in the Troopergate probe. Over a week ago, McCain campaign aides began handling the investigation for Palin. The campaign dispatched Edward O'Callaghan, who recently had been a terrorism prosecutor in the Justice Department, to Alaska to oversee Palin's legal strategy. O'Callaghan then declared she would not cooperate with the inquiry. (Before becoming the GOP vice presidential nominee, Palin had repeatedly vowed to cooperate. At one point, she said, "I'm happy to comply, to cooperate. I have absolutely nothing to hide.") And last Thursday, O'Callaghan announced that Palin's husband, Todd, would not heed a subpoena to appear before a state legislative committee to testify about his role in Troopergate.
Ever since the McCain operatives became involved, the pushback against the investigation has been fierce. Five Republican legislators filed a lawsuit to stop the investigation, which had been unanimously endorsed by a bipartisan council of the state House and Senate. They claimed the probe was "a 'McCarthyistic' investigation" and was compromised because Democrats who supported the investigation were Obama backers. A Texas-based conservative legal outfit called the Liberty Legal Institute has been representing these lawmakers. Six Alaskan residents filed a similar but separate lawsuit. And the Republican Speaker of the House, John Harris, stepped back from his previous endorsement of the investigation.
If you examine the laws concerning obstruction of justice and witness tampering, it looks like the McCain campaign and the operatives it sent to Alaska may very well be guilty of these felonies. They did everything they could to impede the Alaska state legislature from performing its duties in investigating possible wrongdoing by Governor Palin.
What is coming to light in the Troopergate investigation may also explain why McCain and Palin are throwing so much mud at this stage of the campaign. They are hoping that attacking Obama will blunt the impact of the Troopergate findings. There are many sins the American people will forgive, but abusing the power of your office to carry out personal vendettas is not one of them. Obstructing justice in these investigations is also not something the people are likely to forgive. An independent Federal Counsel should be named to investigate the actions by the McCain campaign in the Troopergate scandal, people should take a close look at these actions by the McCain campaign, and decide if actions like these undertaken by Palin and McCain and the rest of the campaign show the character worthy of the highest offices in the land.
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