Saturday, October 11, 2008
Palin's Unethical Family Value
Personal Vendetta: A special prosecutor concludes Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin violated state ethics standards by firing her public safety director although the sacking was legal. What we have is a draw in the so-called TrooperGate case. The bipartisan state Legislature committee which paid the prosecutor $100,000 filed the report with no comment. The state Personnel Board, all Palin appointees in her good graces, is continuing its investigation but not expected to rule until after the Nov. 4 election in which Palin is now Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate. In reading the entire 114-page report by Stephen Branchflower there is little doubt Palin, husband Todd and the governor's staff applied undue pressure on safety director Walter Monegan to fire state Trooper Mike Wooten involved in a bitter divorce battle with Palin's sister Molly. Monegan refused and ultimately was fired by what Palin contends were differences over budget issues. Monegan and the state trooper in charge of Wooten's classified personnel disciplinary hearing were both contacted by the governor and Todd that the findings against Wooten amounted only to a "slap on the wrist." Wooten had been accused of unlawfully killing a moose, drinking a beer in his patrol car, tasering his stepson and threatening the life of Palin's father. He received a five-day suspension. The Palin's believed Wooten was unfit for duty, according to Branchflower's report, half of it remaining classified because of privacy issues involving state employees. The case was a local matter until Palin was tapped for the national ticket by McCain. It then immediately developed into a political tinderbox. If McCain wins the presidential election, the investigation becomes moot. If they lose, Palin will face the music if the song plays out. The findings in the prosecutor's report blemish Palin's reform platform she highlights on the campaign trail. It's throwing a sour lemon into the sweet smelling success of her beating Alaskan oil barons and the corrupt state Republican leadership en route to the upset gubernatorial victory she relished two years ago. Still, this condemning report is mild compared to those accomplishments. It reflects more style of governance than criminal activity. It reflects pettiness and immaturity for someone who thirsts for power the vice president and president's offices represent. Is it any less damning than Barack Obama's 20-year association with the un-American vile spewed by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? A game changer it is not.