ASSOCIATED PRESS: ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin is unlikely to speak with an independent counsel hired by Alaska lawmakers to review the firing of her public safety commissioner, a spokesman for Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday. Democrats charged that the McCain campaign was trying to stall the investigation.
“The partisan presidential campaign of McCain/Palin has interfered and is picking partisan targets to smear in order to make this investigation look like something it isn’t,” said Patti Higgins, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party. “Rather than cooperating with the investigation, the Republican presidential campaign is doing everything it can to stall and smear.”
The McCain campaign also said he did not know whether Palin’s husband, Todd, would challenge a subpoena issued Friday to compel his cooperation. Thomas Van Flein, the Palins’ lawyer, who has accepted service of the subpoena, did not return messages seeking comment. The governor herself has not been subpoenaed, but the Legislature’s investigator, Steve Branchflower, has said he hopes to speak with her. MORE
WASHINGTON POST: When the investigation was announced less than two months ago, Palin said she welcomed it and promised her full cooperation. The decisive vote in the committee’s 3 to 2 decision [to investigate the matter] was cast by Charlie Huggins, a Republican state senator from the Palins’ home town of Wasilla. He explained his vote by saying: “I say let’s just get the facts on the table; the sooner the better.” MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: The McCain campaign says it can prove Monegan was fired in July because of insubordination on budget issues, and not because he refused to fire a state trooper who went through a nasty divorce from Palin’s sister. To that end, the campaign released a series of e-mails detailing the frustration several Palin administration officials experienced in dealing with Monegan. The “last straw,” the campaign said, was a trip Monegan planned to Washington in July to seek federal money for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases. MORE
TROOPERGATE FOR DUMMIES: Here it is…what we in Alaska call “TrooperGate.” Sarah Palin’s sister Molly married a guy named Mike Wooten who is an Alaska State Trooper. Mike and Molly had a rocky marriage. When the marriage broke up, there was a bitter custody fight that is still ongoing. During the custody investigation, all sorts of things were brought up about Wooten including the fact that he had illegally shot a moose (yes folks this is Alaska), driven drunk, and used a taser (on the test setting, he reminds us) on his 11-year old stepson, who supposedly had asked to see what it felt like. While Wooten has turned out to be a less than stellar figure, the fact that Palin’s father accompanied him on the infamous moose hunt, and that many of the dozens of charges brought up by the Palin family happened long before they were ever reported smacked of desperate custody fight. Wooten’s story is that he was basically stalked by the family.
After all this, Wooten was investigated and disciplined on two counts and allowed to kept his position with the troopers. Enter Walt Monegan, Palin’s appointed new chief of the Department of Public Safety and head of the troopers. Monegan was beloved by the troopers, did a bang-up job with minimal funding and suddenly got axed. Palin was out of town and Monegan got “offered another job” (aka fired) with no explanation to Alaskans. Pressure was put on the governor to give details, because rumors started to swirl around the fact that the highly respected Monegan was fired because he refused to fire the aforementioned Mike Wooten. Palin vehemently denied ever talking to Monegan or pressuring Monegan in any way to fire Wooten, or that anyone on her staff did. Over the weeks it has come out that not only was pressure applied, there were literally dozens of conversations in which pressure was applied to fire him. Monegan has testified to this fact, spurring an ongoing investigation by the Alaska state legislature. But, before this investigation got underway, Palin sent the Alaska State Attorney General out to do some investigative work of his own so she could find out in advance what the real investigation was going to find. (No, I’m not making this up). The AG interviewed several people, unbeknownst to the actual appointed investigator or the Legislature! Palin’s investigation of herself uncovered a recorded phone call retained by the Alaska State Troopers from Frank Bailey, a Palin underling, putting pressure on a trooper about the Wooten non-firing. Todd Palin (governor’s husband) even talked to Monegan himself in Palin’s office while she was away. Bailey is now on paid administrative leave.
As if this weren’t enough, Monegan’s appointed replacement Chuck Kopp, turns out to have been the center of his own little scandal. He received a letter of reprimand and was reassigned after sexual harassment allegations by a former coworker who didn’t like all the unwanted kissing and hugging in the office. Was he vetted? Obviously not. When he was questioned about all this, his comment was that no one had asked him and he thought they all knew. Kopp, defiant, still claimed to have done nothing wrong and said to the press that there was no way he was stepping down from his new position. Twenty four hours later, he stepped down. Later it was uncovered that he received a $10,000 severance package for his two weeks on the job from Palin. Monegan got nothing. [via MUDFLATS]
MUDFLATS: Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn’t happen here. Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin’s rally that got all the national media coverage! MORE; PLUS MORE ‘REJECT PALIN’ RALLY PIX