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Friday, October 10, 2008

Trooper Gate

I heard last night and read today in the NYTimes that Todd Palin answered his interrogatories and that others involved, including the special assistant to the former Public Safety Commissioner of Alaska, are speaking out about how much communication there was between Governor Palin's Office and the PSC's Office. It is estimated that in 19 months, the Governor's Office, the Governor, or the Governor's Husband contacted the PSC's office 36 times regarding the Governor's former brother-in-law, Trooper Wooten.

I had no way of knowing whether Wooten is truly a present threat to the Governor or her family, I just think they went about dealing with it in the wrong way. He went through a nasty divorce with the Governor's sister. There were some allegedly nasty things said, having working in Matrimonial law, I would not be surprised if most of them were true. Divorce can be nasty, it brings out the worst in people. The was evidently enough for a Domestic Violence Restraining order to be filed, but it was quashed because of lack of evidence. The death threat was not even communicated to the target, Governor Palin's Father, until 2 weeks to a month after it happened. The threat was not even communicated to authorities immediately, something most people would do if they thought the threat was credible. If you tell the police 6 months after the death threat is made, they are not going to take it very seriously because they will not believe you took it seriously. Wooten does not seem to be a great person. Internal affairs found that he did threaten his ex-father-in-law's life, illegally shot a moose, drove with an open container in his squad car, and tasered his son. Honestly, with those violations of laws and trooper policy, it would not have been uncalled to either terminate him with cause or request his resignation.

There were other avenues that Governor Palin's family could have pursued without at least the appearance of using the influence of the Governor's Office to get Trooper Wooten fired. I honestly don't have a problem with the Governor's Office requesting that Trooper Wooten not be assigned to events she is attending with her family, but as Governor and a potential national leader, you should be able to deal with your Ex-brother in law. But if the Governor's office got involved beyond a possible threat to the Governor or her family, which there has been no indication of problems since prior to her becoming Governor, it was inappropriate. If there have been problems since, should have been handled through the legal system.

As for the investigation of the dismissal of the Public Safety Commission over his refusal to fire Trooper Wooten, Sarah Palin fed the fire for this investigation. When the legislative investigation began in July, Governor Palin welcomed the probe saying she had nothing to hide and pledged her and her staff's cooperation with the legislature in its investigation. Then she got tapped for McCain's VP. All of the sudden, not 2 days after her and the McCain campaign's most recent statement of cooperation, Governor Palin requested that the personnel board review the dismissal, not the legislature, and directed her lawyer to get the legislature to drop the investigation. That is why we have Trooper Gate. That sent a signal to every blogger, newspaper reporter, and non-republican (and probably some of them too) that something was wrong here. If not actually impropriety, then at least the appearance of it and these people want to know what happened before they decide whether they want Governor Palin one heart beat from the presidency.

The question of whether as Governor, Palin improperly used her influence and fired a man who did not give in, is a valid one and should be investigated. It is not like Bay Buchanan's outrageous suggestion on CNN Election Center last night that there should be investigation into whether Barack Obama was a drug dealer on the streets of Chicago, something of which there is NO indication of anywhere (and if there was, someone would have come forward with it).

Note: Critique me or not, my rendition of what happened or allegedly happened in the Divorce and Investigation of Trooper Wooten came from Wikipedia.