Politics

About that Palin ethics investigation.

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Since this topic has been invoked several times in the comments, a quick and dirty search was in order. FWIW this is wikipedia’s entry on the matter. As with all things Wiki, it should not be considered authoritative without confirmation from other sources, but it’s the best summary I could find:

Governor Palin is currently under investigation by an independent investigator hired by a legislative panel to determine if she abused her power when firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. [44][45] On July 11, 2008, Palin dismissed Walter Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he subsequently turned down.[46][47] Monegan alleged shortly after his dismissal that it may have been partly due to his reluctance to fire an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin’s sister, Molly McCann.[48] In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was briefly suspended for ten days for threatening to kill McCann’s (and Palin’s) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson (at the stepson’s request), and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.[49]

Palin asserted that her dismissal of Monegan was unrelated to the fact that he had not fired Wooten, and asserts that Monegan was instead dismissed for not adequately filling state trooper vacancies, and because he “did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues.”[50] Palin acknowledged that a member of her administration, Frank Bailey, did contact the Department of Public Safety regarding Wooten, but both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan.[50] Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions. Commissioner Monegan received no severance pay, though at the same time another dismissed Commissioner, Charles Kopp (who served only 11 days) received $10,000.[51]

In response to Palin’s statement that she had nothing to hide, in August 2008 the Alaska Legislature hired Steve Branchflower to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal, though lawmakers acknowledge that “Monegan and other commissioners serve at will, meaning they can be fired by Palin at any time.”[52] The investigation is being overseen by Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who says that the Palin administration has been cooperating and thus subpoenas are unnecessary.[53] The Palin administration itself was the first to release an audiotape of Bailey making inquiries about the status of the Wooten investigation.[50][54]

First blush – They got nothin’.