Although much has been written about the Alaskan ethics investigation and the appropriateness of Governor Sarah Palin’s actions, there has been less coverage of the role her husband, Todd Palin, seems to be playing in the governing of Alaska. The 25-page deposition sent by Todd Palin on October 8th to investigator Stephen Branchflower in response to Branchflower’s request for information into the Troopergate investigation have received no mainstream media scrutiny. Since there is a great deal of evidence pointing to the possibility that Todd Palin may very well be the ‘shadow’ governor of Alaska, and his wife is running for vice president (one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the US presidency), much more needs to be known about this individual. Former Alaska Rep. Andrew Halcro examines in-depth the answers prepared by Toddy Palin and his (McCain’s?) attorneys.
After complaining for the last five weeks about how politics and the media had taken over the intended bi-partisan investigation into Governor Palin’s firing of former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, Todd Palin’s deposition was leaked to the media on the same day it was delivered to special investigator Steve Branchflower.
Apparently the first dude was trying to get out in front of a fast moving train.
In his 25 page response, Palin covers old ground about his concerns about State Trooper Mike Wooten and events that occurred years before his wife was elected governor. In fact what Palin’s deposition shows is a guy who isn’t concerned about the safety of his family, it’s about a guy who is trying to get even and trying to use the power of his wife’s office to accomplish the task.
We’ve broken down some of the more curious responses and half truths in his depositions, many of which we written about over the last few months.
Page 1, Line 17: “(Wooten) illegally shot a cow moose without a permit”
Palin of course leaves out the fact that his entire family knew the moose was shot illegally in 2003 but that didn’t stop him and his family from butchering and eating the meat, only to file the complaint two years later when Wooten was divorcing Sarah’s sister.
Page 2, Line 16: “In 2005 and 2006, State Trooper Mike Wooten was the subject of a court ordered domestic violence protective order.”
Palin of course leaves out the fact that the order was granted while Wooten was out of state taking his step son to Portland. While he was away, Sarah Palin and her sister went before a judge in Palmer and convinced the judge to grant the order without any evidence of domestic violence. Upon his return, Anchorage Judge John Suddock questioned Palin’s sister and immediately revoked the order, calling it an egregious abuse of the legal system.
Page 3, Line 1: “Threats against a public official, and his or her family, fall within the responsibilities of the Department of Public Safety.”
True. But the last complaint of any threat occurred over a year before Governor Palin was elected.
In fact, once the divorce was final in early 2006, there were no more complaints or concerns voiced officially against Trooper Wooten.
By the time Palin was elected governor, the Wooten issue was all over except for Todd’s obsession.
Page 3, Line 13: “I was not aware of the Grimes report until July 2008, after Monegan left the government.”
This is a blatant untruth. Monegan made it very clear that Wooten had already been punished and that is why he couldn’t take any further action unless Wooten made another mistake. This is exactly why Monegan kept pushing back when pressured because he legally couldn’t take any retro-active action against an employee who had already been punished because it would have violated Wooten’s employee rights.
Page 4, Line 3: “I had hundreds of conversations and communications about Trooper Wooten over the last several years with my family, friends, with colleagues, just about everyone I could including government officials.”
In a July 18, 2008 press release, Governor Palin stated; “To allege that I, or any member of my family….directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous.
But yet according to Todd Palin’s deposition he complained about Trooper Mike Wooten to Mike Tibbles, Randy Ruaro, Ivey Frye, Frank Bailey, Mike Nizich, John Bitney, John Glass and Audie Holloway.
In addition, during an interview with former Legislative Liason John Bitney last July, he said, “People don’t know just how much weight Todd’s words have. When Todd Palin makes a suggestion, it’s not really a suggestion.”
Having this many conversations, over two years after the last interaction with Wooten shows a pattern of Palin’s obsession with getting even with Wooten.
Page 5, Line 3: “I make no apologies for wanting to protect my family and wanting to publicize the injustice of a violent Trooper keeping his badge.”
This comment makes no sense when considered in the scope of his actions.
First, his family was never in danger. In fact a few months ago Governor Palin felt safe enough on her own to become the first governor to ever discontinue her security detail. Does that really sound like someone who is concerned about a rogue trooper patrolling the neighborhood?
Second, Todd Palin didn’t publicize anything. In fact this didn’t even become public until Monegan got fired and we broke the story on this blog.
If this really was a case of a “violent trooper keeping his badge”, why in the world hasn’t the governor done anything to protect the public? Why didn’t she hold a press conference and talk about the need to protect the public’s safety or introduce legislation or even offer an amendment to any number of suitable pieces of legislation that were making their way through the legislative process?
Why didn’t Governor Palin do something, anything, to change the way Trooper’s investigate their own to protect the public against future rogue troopers?
The answer is simple; this wasn’t about the public being at risk, it was about the Palin’s getting even.
Page 5, Line 18: “It is tragic that because Trooper Wooten told a false story to a blogger who repeated it, the legislature has allocated over $100,000 of public money to harass me and numerous other innocents.”
Other innocents? Like Frank Bailey who in a recorded phone call to State Trooper Rodney Dial was trying to get Trooper Wooten fired and inferred he was calling on behalf of Todd and Sarah Palin?
In a taped interview with Anchorage Daily News Reporter Kyle Hopkins on August 14, Governor Palin stated unequivocally that Frank Bailey acted completely on his own.
“No one ever directed him to make any calls, he never disclosed he made any calls,” Governor Palin said.
However this turned out to be not true.
On February 29, an email was sent from Frank Bailey to Ivy Frye just after Bailey’s recorded phone call to Trooper Dial.
“Leaving pretty quick for the airport…call me though I need to give you a heads up. Spoke to Rodney and he doesn’t get that kind of stuff since he’s a Lieutenant, but he’d definitely pass it on.”
Not only that, but Palin also told Hopkins that “Todd never told Frank Bailey or suggest he take on this mission to call a trooper.”
However according to state phone logs, Todd Palin called Ivy Frye three times between 1:45pm and 3:50pm on the afternoon of February 28, the day before Bailey’s call to Dial.
This set off a flurry of emails which included Todd Palin in the loop and only ended a little more than an hour after Bailey called to try and get Wooten fired.
Then, after all this, Bailey reportedly has testified that the confidential information he received regarding Wooten’s personnel file that he passed along to Trooper Dial came from none other than Todd Palin.
Page 12, Lines 1 through 14, Palin talked about how he and the governor were frustrated with Monegan because whenever they need to use the Department of Public Safety King Air, it was always busy.
“We were concerned that the Department of Public Safety was retaliating against Sarah for selling the Murkowski jet that Department of Public Safety officials enjoyed using.”
Just one big problem with this assertion; the jet was put on the block before any of Palin’s Public Safety Officials could use it. Ironically, Palin has been using the sale of the jet to promote her fiscal prowess on the national stage, telling Americans she sold it on ebay because the department and Alaska didn’t need it.
Page 12, Lines 22 to 25: There was an email on June 30, 2008 from Monegan that had the annual AST 2007 report. I was aware that Sarah was not happy with the report. Sarah was having difficulty finding out who had authored it and who was going to take responsibility for it.”
The report, which outlined the state crime statistics for 2007 was compiled by the public safety department. In an interview with the Anchorage Daily News in August, Monegan spoke about delivering the annual DPS crime report to Governor Palin where she replied, “This makes me look bad.”
It’s understandable why according to Todd, “Sarah was not happy with the report”, it showed crime was increasing significantly in Alaska under her watch as governor.
The fact that Todd states that she wanted to know who authored it and who was going to take responsibility for it shows just how out of touch she is as governor.
As governor, the buck is stops with her. She is ultimately responsible for the rising rates of crime in Alaska, especially since she has made a fuss about trying to cut the budget at DPS.
This again makes the point that some have made for two years; this administration has been focused more on public relations than public policy….or in this case, public safety.