Skip to comments.Palin Accused of Violating "Scope", Not Law
Posted on 10/11/2008 3:50:47 AM PDT by SBD1
The ridiculously lengthy "PUBLIC REPORT" for the Legislative Council of Alaska, released October 10, 2008 by Stephen Branchflower, reached the following conclusions:
1. For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.l10(a) provides
"The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."
2. I find that, although Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin's firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.
As a preliminary matter, if I was in Governor Palin's shoes, I would have fired Monegan the minute I was given that Wooten Poster to autograph from him. In case you missed that little tid bit, here is a quote from Todd Palin's Deposition which included another outrageous accusation by Monegan.
In that same email, Monegan stated that he had heard a rumor from an unnamed source that Sarah was supposedly driving Trig, then around 9 weeks old, in her car without "an approved infant car seat" and that this situation could be "awkward."
This odd and offensive email was forwarded to me. I was in Dillingham at the time. She was not happy with Monegan's false accusation or his implied threat that it was "awkward" as if he now needed to issue a citation.
Sarah has always been a good mother and to accuse her of something like that was very offensive. Sarah responded that "I've never driven Trig anywhere without a new, approved car seat. I want to know who said otherwise-pls provide me that info now."(Emphasis added).
I am not sure Monegan ever responded to the Governor's direct order. The next day it was learned through Kris Perry that this false allegation of her driving was really about a group tour of a Point McKenzie farm and a big diesel truck that everyone rode in on a private farm road without traffic at low speed. Sarah was not driving, she was a passenger with others, and it was like taking a shuttle. Later, the same false rumor was repeated on an anti- Palin blog.
In May of 2008, the troopers issued a poster that featured Mike Wooten on it. I arrived at Sarah's office shortly after the Department of Public Safety dropped off the poster there. Sarah and I discussed this later. It seems odd to me now, after Monegan claims all this "pressure" about Wooten, that in May 2008 he did not know what Wooten looked like.
This is how this incident is described in the "Report".
The 2008 Police Memorial Day-photograph event
Shortly before the annual celebration of Police Memorial Day on May 15, 2008, Commissioner Monegan had dropped off a color photograph at Governor Palin's Anchorage office with a request that she sign and present it at the ceremony. The photograph was of an Alaska State Trooper who was dressed in a formal uniform, saluting. He was standing in front of the police memorial located in front of the crime lab at AST headquarters in Anchorage, partially obscured by a flagpole. The picture to be signed by the Governor was to be used as a poster to be displayed in various Trooper Detachments around the state.
Shortly after he returned to his office from dropping off the photograph, he received a call from Kris Perry, Governor Palin's Director of her Anchorage office who asked [according to Walt Monegan's testimony] "Why did you send a poster over here that has a picture of Mike Wooten on it? Until that moment, Commissioner Monegan never realized it was indeed a photograph of Trooper Wooten. Governor Palin cancelled her appearance and sent Lieutenant Governor Parnell in her place.
So the guy was given a file and photos of Wooten by Todd Palin as confirmed by Monegan during his testimony, yet he did not know Wooten was on the cover of the Poster?? And why would a Trooper like Wooten be chosen for such a photo in the first place for an event where it would be signed by Governor Palin??
In addition to all of the above, Monegan was not cooperating with the Palin administration and in particular with budget issues. Which when looked at from a personal perspective would have been more than enough to boot Monegan as far as her boot could boot him.
Yet, the predetermined investigation found could not find an actual law or statute that Palin had broken, so instead concluded that she violated the "scope of the code"!!
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF ALASKA File No. 663-87-0150 1986 Alas. AG LEXIS 171; 1986-2 Op. (Inf.) Atty Gen. Alas. 333 November 13, 1986
The legislative purpose of the Ethics Act is to prevent public employees from using their positions for personal or financial gain. AS 39.52.010(a). The legislature recognized, however, that it is impossible to entirely avoid all conflicts of interest, and it is therefore necessary "to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society (Like having a Lunatic Ex Brother-In Law), and those conflicts of interest that are substantial and material." AS 39.52.110(a)(3).
After setting out initial guidelines, the legislature outlined a number of specific activities which are henceforth prohibited for executive branch employees. One specific prohibition is potentially applicable to Mr. Jordan's case. AS 39.52.120(b) provides, in relevant part:
(b) A public officer may not
(4) take or withhold official action in order to affect a matter in which the public officer has a personal or financial interest . . . .
So the statute Palin supposedly violated is not a prohibited activity, but rather a guideline.
Here is another Alaska Case.
CHARLES D. EADDY, Employee, Applicant, v. STATE OF ALASKA, (Self-Insured) Employer, Defendant AWCB Case No. 9034019; AWCB Decision No. 98-0220 ALASKA WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD 1998 AK Wrk. Comp. LEXIS 2803 August 24, 1998
II. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act governs public officers in the executive branch of the state of Alaska. This includes the panel chairman, who is a Workers' Compensation Hearing officer, and the members of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board, such as panel members Ridgley and Williams.
AS 39.52.110(a) provides, in part:
The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust. In addition, the legislature finds that, so long as it does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge of an officer's public duties and responsibilities, this chapter does not prevent an officer from following other independent pursuits. . . .
The Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act at AS 39.52.120, et seq., provides a list of specific violations of the administrative code of ethics. A summary of the list of possible conflicts follows:
It the goes on to list the specific statutes starting with AS 39.52.120.
Here is a more recent decision.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF ALASKA AGO File No. 661-07-0014 2007 Alas. AG LEXIS 28 June 21, 2007
Employee has a "financial interest" in the companies whose stock he owns either directly or indirectly by definition under the Ethics Act. We are concerned with whether his action relating to a company could affect his own interest. Generally he must refrain from taking any action that may affect his interests under AS 39.52.120. When reviewing actions that have been taken or considering potential actions, we can determine that no substantial impropriety has occurred or will occur by applying the factors in AS 39.52.110(b). These factors require considering whether the value off his interest is insignificant and whether the action had or would have only insignificant or conjectural effect on his interest.
and here is another one
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF ALASKA
FILE NO. 661-07-xxxx 2007 Alas. AG LEXIS 4 April 3, 2007
II. GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR APPLYING THE ETHICS ACT
The Executive Branch Ethics Act is intended to ensure that public officers will not base their official decisions and actions upon their own personal or financial interests. A purpose of the Act is to ensure that "public officers conduct the public's business in a manner that preserves the integrity of the governmental process and avoids conflicts of interest."
The Act also acknowledges that public officers should be free to pursue personal and financial interests, and are valued for those interests, as long as the interests do not interfere or conflict with the officers' public responsibilities. (Like getting rid of a dangerous Trooper)
Alaska Statute 39.52.110 addresses the scope of the ethics code established by the Act as follows:
(a) The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust. In addition, the legislature finds that, so long as it does not interfere with the full and faithful discharge of an officer's public duties and responsibilities, this chapter does not prevent an officer from following other independent pursuits. The legislature further recognizes that
(1) in a representative democracy, the representatives are drawn from society and, therefore, cannot and should not be without personal and financial interests in the decisions and policies of government;
(2) people who serve as public officers retain their rights to interests of a personal or financial nature; and
(3) standards of ethical conduct for members of the executive branch need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts of interests that are substantial and material.
(b) Unethical conduct is prohibited, but there is no substantial impropriety if, as to a specific matter, a public officers
(1) personal or financial interest in the matter is insignificant, or of a type that is possessed generally by the public or a large class of persons to which the public officer belongs; or
(2) action or influence would have insignificant or conjectural effect on the matter.
The Ethics Act requires that we be guided by these statements defining the scope of the ethics code when evaluating a potential conflict of interest. The Act speaks principally to actual substantial conflicts of interest, not the appearance of conflict alone. It requires individual determinations regarding potential conflicts of interest on a case by case basis. Under AS 39.52.110(b), set out above, if a particular circumstance may result in a violation, we also consider whether there would be no substantial impropriety if the public officer participated in the matter. Where a potential conflict exists and the terms of AS 39.52.110(b) do not permit participation, steps must be taken to avoid the conflict.
I rest my case!!
Doesn’t have to be fair or factual, just has to enable the headline “Palin abused power.”
Is this a judges “opinion”?
I wonder how long ago this opin was prepared?
WHAT!?! He's a sneaky lying piece of slime.
Since the MSM has been running with the “Palin abused power” narrative anyway, there isn’t much more “damage” the MSM can inflict with this non-story.
There are 4 seperate opinions, November 13, 1986, August 24, 1998, April 3, 2007, and June 21, 2007.
So my layman’s reading of all this is that ‘tis much ado about nothing, yeah?
Apparently it doesn't even have to be internally consistent. The first conclusion says Palin abused her power in violation of a statute. The second says she acted within her authority. Nobody with an IQ in double digits can take this seriously.
Absolutely and of course this is this morning’s headline even Sky News in Britain is carrying this statement on the ticker at the bottom of the screen.
Those who have not followed the story or read the actually ruling will believe she is either corrupt or behaved in a biased manner.
Violate scope not law? Only someone with a law degree could reach such a conclusion.
Radio New Zealand is playing the same thing, too — as a quote from the BBC. They did not report the whole story (predictably) only that she had abused power.
No worries, that’s what talkback is for. Easy enough to correct... that’s my homework for tomorrow.
It was funny last night - they didn’t spend too long on Troopergate - economy was still major focus...
This was a desperate attempt by the Dems to get people’s minds off of Obama and his radical connections and voter fraud. Sorry - not going to work.
this was the political witchhunt we always knew it was.
The damn MSM of course treats it as an indictment, but we know there was nothing here to see.
At least the report broke on a friday. If it was REALLY bad, they would have released it on a Monday.
Do they really want to go there?
Just shows how desperate the dems are
> This was a desperate attempt by the Dems to get peoples minds off of Obama and his radical connections and voter fraud. Sorry - not going to work.
They are kicking and twisting like a felon hanged aloft trying to find a perch that just isn’t there. In due course they, too, will swing slowly in the breeze...
They fear her.
Here’s the bottom line: A group of political enemies announced that Governor Palin broke no laws but did things they didn’t like.
Anyone who says otherwise is a partisan liar.
That is the gist of a nationwide ad I’d immediately put on TV. Then I’d drop it.
What really does these people no good is that when people are curious and look into what was going on with the brother-in-law they find out about the death threat, tasering a 10 yr. old, drinking and driving his patrol car, illegally shooting a moose, etc. etc. I think this makes this all the more asinine and this ‘investigation’ was nothing but a sham by people who would have held high positions in the Gestapo.
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