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Troopergate

By Da King Published: September 15, 2008

The Troopergate investigation was launched to determine whether or not Alaska Governor Sarah Palin(R) abused the power of her office by firing Alaska Safety Commissioner Walt Moneghan. The Safety Commissioner serves at the pleasure of the Governor, so Palin is allowed to hire and fire whomever she pleases for the job, but allegations have been made that Palin fired Moneghan because Moneghan refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten. Palin claims she fired Moneghan over budgetary matters and to move the department in a new direction. The investigation pre-dates John McCain's selection of Palin as his Republican Vice Presidential nominee, but is quickly becoming a political football as the presidential election nears.

Moneghan told the Anchorage Daily News on August 30 that nobody ever told him to fire Wooten. He said, "For the record, no one has ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff.”

Also for the record, trooper Wooten remains on the job, despite admitting to tasering his 10-year old stepson and illegally shooting a moose (this problem doesn't come up much in Ohio). Wooten has also been accused of drinking alcohol in his police car on multiple occasions. Wooten denies this charge, but multiple witnesses contradicted him and he was suspended from duty because of it. Wooten has also been accused of threatening to kill Palin's father. Wooten denies this too, but is contradicted by the Palin family. Wooten, who has been married and divorced four times, divorced Palin's sister in 2005 and engaged in an ugly child-custody battle with her. Moneghan has referred to Wooten as "not a model trooper" (Ya think ?).

So, if Palin never told Moneghan to fire Wooten, why do we even have an investigation in the first place ?

Because even though Moneghan said nobody told him to fire Wooten, he still believes not doing so was the reason he got canned. In early september, Moneghan said, "I believe I was fired because of, primarily the reason of her former brother-in-law. I think that my unwillingness to take special action against her former brother-in-law was not well received." A reason Moneghan believes this is because Sarah Palin, Todd Palin, and several Palin staff members spoke to Moneghan about trooper Wooten, expressing their concern about him.

As evidence, a taped phone call between a state police official and Palin staff member Frank Bailey surfaced, in which Bailey questions why trooper Wooten is still on the job. Bailey said, "The Palins can't figure out why nothing's going on. And here's the problem that's gonna happen is that, there is a possibility because Wooten is an ex-husband of the governor's sister, and there is a custody situation, there is a strong possibility that the Governor herself may get subpoenaed to talk about all this stuff on the stand. Right in the coming months, which would be, it would be ugly...I mean, you know, I don't think anybody wants that. But you know, Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, you know, why on Earth -- why is this guy still representing the department?...I'm telling you honestly, I mean, she really likes Walt [Moneghan] a lot, but on this issue, she feels like she doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. It's very, very troubling to her and the family."

I think asking questions about why trooper Wooten was still on the job despite his history of violations is valid, but the tape indicates there is more to this little soap opera than Sarah Palin has yet acknowledged. Palin responded to the tape, saying, "It seemed to be he [Bailey] just inquiring I think trying to process what do you do if there are complaints against a trooper and what is the status of this trooper. Though you will hear on the CD that it does sound like he's calling on behalf of the Governor [Palin]." I find it pretty unconvincing that Bailey wasn't calling on Palin's behalf, because there have been numerous discussions between Palin people and Moneghan regarding Wooten's status.

In summary, it appears beyond obvious that the Palin family wanted trooper Mike Wooten off the job, and they started talking to Moneghan about it before Sarah Palin even became the governor. The Palin family had very good reason. Moneghan didn't act on their wishes. Then Palin gets elected governor, and six months later, Moneghan loses his job.

So, did Sarah Palin fire Walt Moneghan because Moneghan wouldn't fire trooper Mike Wooten ????

I don't know, but this is not nothing. What I do know is that there is an investigation taking place, and it is being headed up by Senator Hollis French, a Democrat and partisan Obama supporter, who has promised to release a report "damaging" to Sarah Palin (interesting that French is promising a damaging report while the investigation is far from complete, and the key witnesses haven't even been interviewed yet. I told you, Troopergate is now a political football). The report is scheduled to be released FOUR DAYS PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, on October 31st (Surprise!). Palin has her own lawyer now, who is trying to get the entire investigation thrown out, on the grounds that the current investigation doesn't have "jurisdiction." This is a move to delay the results of the proceedings until AFTER THE ELECTION. I suspect a lot more footballs are yet to be tossed on this.

Stay tuned.

The sources for this post were:

ABC News reports

Propublica.org

Washington Post reports

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