Tag Archives: Steve Branchflower

Recap of Sarah Palin’s Many, MANY Lies

Sarah Palin

The many lies of Sarah Palin continue to emerge in "Going Rogue: An American Life."

The lies of Sarah Palin are different from any other politicians’. They are different because they assert things that are demonstrably, empirically untrue; and they are different because once they have been demonstrated to the entire world that they are untrue, Palin keeps repeating them as if they still were true or refuses to acknowledge that she was wrong.

Once again … here are the lies I mean. Go through them. See if you think they are Clintonian type parsings of the truth or artful political hedging or anything like what we find in most pols. They really are not. They are functions of delusion and a worldview that wants things to be a certain way and cannot absorb that they are not. If you find the slightest error or come across a fact that we should add to this list of current lies, please let us know. We want this list to be as accurate as Palin is delusional. We want to create some template of easily-accessible reality as some kind of guard against the fantasies and fabulisms of our post-modern and fundamentalist age.

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Trooper Mike Wooten Breaks His Silence On Palin’s Troopergate Lies

Former Alaska Public Safety Employees Association Executive Director John Cyr and Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, Sarah Palin's former brother-in-law and the Trooper at the center of the Troopergate Scandal.

Former Alaska Public Safety Employees Association Executive Director John Cyr (left) and Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, Sarah Palin's former brother-in-law and the trooper at the center of the Alaska Govenor Palin Troopergate Scandal.

The Alaska State Trooper at the center of Sarah Palin‘s so-called “Troopergate Scandal“–which impeded her run for the vice-presidency and stained her record as Alaska governor–has broken his more than year-long silence since his embattled divorce with Palin’s sister, Molly, became a cause celebre during last year’s presidential campaign.

After reading passages from Palin’s memoirs Going Rogue that deal with his marriage and subsequent divorce, a “fed up” Mike Wooten, 37, who still serves as an Alaska State Trooper in Anchorage, called the book “a pack of lies.”

According to Wooten, Palin and her father, Chuck Heath Sr., have “interfered with my life–and my children’s lives–for at least the last five years. And it is still going on. I’m done with it.”

Characterizing his adversaries as “snakes,” Wooten said he has kept quiet long enough. “From this point on I’m speaking my mind,” he declared. “I’m speaking the truth. Let the chips fall where they may.” He acknowledged that he is considering taking legal action against Palin on multiple fronts.

Although Palin would try to claim otherwise during the presidential campaign, an independent investigation ordered by the bipartisan Alaska Legislative Council (composed of ten Republicans and four Democrats) and conducted by former Republican prosecutor Steve Branchflower, resulted in the finding that Governor Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.”

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In Alaska, Exposure Changes Palin Image for Good & Bad

Palins image has changed, for better and worse, in the six weeks since she joined the McCain ticket.

Palin's image has changed, for better and worse, in the six weeks since she joined the McCain Republican presidential ticket.

Journalist Sean Cockerham, reporting for the Anchorage Daily News, looks ahead at Governor Sarah Palin’s political future after the presidential election, both in Alaska and on a national level.  Following her polarizing, negative campaign for the vice-presidency, Gov. Palin will be faced with a much more aggressive Alaska Legislature that will no longer be intimidated by her or the tactics of her financial backers.

Over the past six weeks, Sarah Palin has morphed on the national campaign trail from bipartisan small state governor to a conservative lightning rod. Even if she doesn’t win the vice presidency, her political career will never be the same.

Palin has always attracted controversy, but she is now a far more polarizing figure, both in Alaska as well as nationally, than before her nomination. If she returns, the Republican governor will face former Democratic allies furious at her campaign attacks. She will also face lawmakers from both parties ticked off at her handling of the so-called Troopergate investigation and her recent false assertions that the investigator’s report cleared her, according to interviews with a number of lawmakers and others who watch Alaska politics.

“We’ve seen her do and say things that are shocking to us, so it’s going to be different, to put it mildly,” said Juneau Democratic Rep. Beth Kerttula, the House minority leader. “We have a whole different way of looking at her.”

But Palin would also return as a national figure who excited huge crowds across the nation and is already being described as a potential presidential candidate four years from now. She continues to enjoy high approval ratings among Alaskans, and she would come back a seasoned campaigner with new political chops.

“The main thing is, if she comes back as governor and McCain didn’t win, I do not think she’ll be blamed for it all. She won’t come back as a loser,” said Anchorage political consultant and pollster Dave Dittman. “She’d come back, I think as a winner, or as a person who if McCain had paid more attention to her or followed her lead could have been successful. I think she’d come back strong.”

The McCain-Palin campaign is down in the polls, but nearly three weeks remain until election day. In the meantime, her unexpected rise to the national stage and her new political persona has Alaskans speculating about what happens if she doesn’t win and comes back as governor.

“It’s a question on everybody’s mind,” said Mike Hawker, a Republican state representative from Anchorage.

Gregg Erickson, former publisher of a publication on state government who has watched Alaska politics for decades, predicted a rougher road for Palin than in the past.

“I think things will be very, very different for her if she comes back,” Erickson said. “She’s done some things as vice-presidential candidate that are not favorable for her role as governor, her ability to govern.”

Dittman agreed that a returning Palin would face a more aggressive Legislature than before her turn on the national stage, one that probably wouldn’t be as intimidated by her as before.

Palin has always been much more popular with the public than with legislators. Back when pollsters measured her approval rating among Alaskans in the 80 percent range, it was tough for legislators to resist her. Her Alaska approval ratings have dropped since her nomination to as low as 62 percent, at least according to some pollsters. That’s still an enviable approval rating.

The strength of the opposition, Erickson said, would depend on whether she slid any more after the election was over.

A NEW PALIN?

Palin foes and allies agree she’s likely to seek another national office if she doesn’t win the vice presidency. While she has been ridiculed by some, she has a devoted base of supporters and there’s speculation a U.S. Senate run could be in her future, or even a presidential bid the next time the Republican nomination comes open.

North Pole Republican state Rep. John Coghill said if Palin returns to Alaska as governor, there will always be the question of whether her decisions are being made for the good of the state or to position herself for national office.

“If she comes back then she’s going to have to be very clear of what her motives are in her decisions,” Coghill said.

Coghill said, overall, he’d expect a returning Palin to be more experienced and a little savvier. He said Palin would have national horsepower that she could use to advance Alaska’s interests. He said it would put Alaska in a “nice, favored position.”

But Juneau Democratic Sen. Kim Elton suggested in his newsletter this week that Palin’s broadside about Barack Obama “palling around with terrorists” and other one-liners from rallies have potential blowback for Alaska if Obama is elected and Palin has to work with the Democratic administration.

It’s clear that Palin’s relationship with Alaska Democrats is in deep freeze. That’s a turnaround from pre-nomination days, when Palin’s fiercest critics in the Legislature were Republicans and she relied on Democrats to get through her two biggest bills — a tax increase on oil companies and a license for a Canadian firm to pursue a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48.

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski, one of the legislators who allied with her on those big issues in Juneau, said he “barely recognizes” the current Palin.

“It’s disappointing to see her bashing Democrats when her main political successes would never have passed without significant support from Democrats,” he said.

Anchorage Republican Hawker said Palin’s frostier relationship with the Democrats could have the effect of helping some Republican legislators warm up to her who weren’t Palin fans before. Hawker said Palin might also now realize that “just because you are a Republican in Alaska does not make you an evil person.”

Many Alaska Republican legislators have complained Palin has been too broad during her time as governor in suggesting that the state’s politics are corrupt.

REBUILDING TRUST

Kenai Republican Rep. Mike Chenault, considered to be a potential speaker of the state House when the Legislature convenes in January, said it remains to be seen how Palin’s new political persona plays with Republican lawmakers.

“It’s hard to say which if any Republicans would change their position on the governor based upon either her running for vice president or her handling of Troopergate,” Chenault said.

There’s resentment among some legislators of both parties for how Palin handled the Legislature’s investigation into her dismissal of her public safety commissioner and if she improperly pressured him to fire a state trooper once married to her sister.

The governor’s surrogates bashed the Alaska Democratic legislators leading the investigation, who were some of her biggest allies on oil and gas issues, saying they were Obama fans who made their bias clear. The investigation, though, was authorized by unanimous vote of the bipartisan Legislative Council, and some Republicans bristled at Palin’s refusal to cooperate in it as well as her attorney general’s failed challenge of the Legislature’s subpoenas.

Steve Branchflower, the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, released his report on Friday concluding that Palin abused her power and broke state ethics law in pressing for the trooper to be fired. But Palin’s response to the report was to say that she was vindicated and “I’m very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing … any hint of any kind of unethical activity there.”

The report said Palin’s removal of her commissioner, Walt Monegan, was not solely about his refusal to fire the state trooper but it was likely a contributing factor. Palin has the right to dismiss a commissioner for any reason she likes.

Legislators are far from united in their reaction to the report, with some Republicans agreeing with Palin it was a political circus. There’s no sign lawmakers are planning to take any formal action against Palin. But hard feelings abound.

“Those people who don’t believe and don’t support the governor, I think the events will perhaps exacerbate their outrage,” said Hawker, the Anchorage Republican. Likewise, he said, Palin supporters are likely to “express their moral outrage at what they feel is a persecution of the governor.”

If she comes back as governor, Hawker said, “It will be one of her immediate challenges to get through, rebuilding fences, rebuilding trust. Those issues will be there with both the Democrats and the Republicans.”

Exposure Changes Palin Image for Good & Bad

Palin Vindicated? Her Response is Either Astoundingly Ignorant or Downright Orwellian

"Country First" Governor Sarah Palin

Governor Sarah Palin puts "Country First"?

The Editorial Board of the Anchorage Daily News has published their critical take on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s ‘Orwellian’ response to the Troopergate ethics investigative report released on Friday, October 11, 2008.

Sarah Palin’s reaction to the Legislature’s Troopergate report is an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation.

She claims the report “vindicates” her. She said that the investigation found “no unlawful or unethical activity on my part.”

Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.

Page 8, Finding Number One of the report says: “I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.”

In plain English, she did something “unlawful.” She broke the state ethics law.

Perhaps Gov. Palin has been too busy to actually read the Troopergate report. Perhaps she is relying on briefings from McCain campaign spinmeisters.

That’s the charitable interpretation.

Because if she had actually read it, she couldn’t claim “vindication” with a straight face.

Palin asserted that the report found “there was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired.”

In fact, the report concluded that “impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired.”

Palin’s response is the kind of political “big lie” that George Orwell warned against. War is peace. Black is white. Up is down.

Gov. Palin and her camp trumpeted the report’s second finding: that she was within her legal authority to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. But the report also said it’s likely one of the reasons she fired him was his failure to get rid of her ex-brother-in-law trooper.

That’s not “vindication,” and surely Gov. Palin knows it.

Gov. Palin does have a defense. She could have said:

“I’m gratified that the report confirmed what I said all along, that I had the authority to terminate Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner.

“I absolutely disagree that I violated state ethics law. In repeatedly complaining about trooper Mike Wooten, Todd and I were not pursuing a personal vendetta. We were trying to protect the integrity of the Alaska State Troopers from having an arrogant, almost-out-of-control law-breaker in their ranks. Because the action we were seeking was in the public interest, not purely our personal interest, there is no ethics law violation.”

Gov. Palin and her husband felt so passionately about Wooten because the case was so personal to them. Their passion blinded them to any other considerations.

They had no sense that the power of the governor’s office carries a special responsibility not to use it to settle family scores. They had no sense that legal restrictions might prevent the troopers from firing Wooten. They had no sense that persistent queries from the governor’s office might be perceived as pressure to bend state personnel laws.

Gov. Palin and her husband were obsessed with Wooten the way Capt. Ahab was obsessed with the Great White Whale. No Wooten, no peace.

Has Gov. Palin committed an impeachable offense? Hardly.

Is what she did indictable? No.

But it wasn’t appropriate, especially for someone elected as an ethical reformer. And her Orwellian claims of “vindication” make this blemish on her record look even worse.

You asked us to hold you accountable, Gov. Palin. Did you mean it?

Bottom line: Gov. Palin, read the report. It says you violated the ethics law.

Palin vindicated? Governor offers Orwellian spin

Walt Monegan Wants Public Hearing to Clear Name in Troopergate Scandal

Former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan

Former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan

Alaska’s former public safety commissioner Walt Monegan, whose firing by Governor Sarah Palin lead to the Troopergate ethic investigation, is requesting a hearing by the Alaska Personnel Board in a effort to clear his name.  The Anchorage Daily News reports that Monegan on Monday, October 13, 2008 filed the hearing request through his attorney.  Walt Monegan seeks to clear his reputation from allegations by Gov. Palin and her various spokespersons that he was a “rogue” and “insubordinate” fired because of a demonstrated “rogue mentality.” 

Gov. Sarah Palin’s former public safety commissioner says the governor smeared him and he wants a hearing to clear his name.

Walt Monegan on Monday asked the state personnel board to allow him a chance to disprove the vice presidential nominee’s assertion he was a “rogue” and insubordinate commissioner. The board is investigating Palin’s July dismissal of Monegan.

“Governor Palin’s public statements accusing Mr. Monegan of serious misconduct were untrue and they have stigmatized his good name, severely damaged — and continue to damage — his reputation, and impaired his ability to pursue future professional employment in law enforcement and related fields,” said the hearing request filed by Monegan’s lawyer, Jeff Feldman.

Palin’s lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, said the governor didn’t defame Monegan.

“We welcome the opportunity to put on all of our evidence regarding Mr. Monegan’s performance,” he said. “Whether the personnel board will, or can, allow this, remains unknown.”

Monegan wants the board to hold a hearing and issue public findings on whether he demonstrated a “rogue mentality” and engaged in insubordination. If the board doesn’t grant the hearing, Monegan indicated he might take the matter to court.

The Legislature on Friday completed its investigation of Palin’s removal of Monegan and whether the governor improperly pressured the public safety department to fire a state trooper who was divorced from her sister. The investigator hired by the Legislative Council, Steve Branchflower, found Palin abused her power by allowing pressure on the department and that Monegan’s refusal to dump Wooten was likely a contributing factor, but not the only reason, she fired him.

Palin has the right to fire commissioners as she sees fit. Monegan said he accepts that but not false attacks made on him to justify the move to the public.

“The evidence, combined with the governor’s changing, inconsistent and implausible explanations, strongly establishes that Mr. Monegan was terminated because he refused to fire Wooten, not because of any supposed failing in his performance as a commissioner,” according to Monegan’s hearing request.

Palin at first would say only that she removed Monegan because she wanted the department to go in a “new direction.” But then, as the controversy grew, she gave other reasons, including budget conflicts with Monegan and his planning of an unauthorized trip to Washington D.C. to lobby for federal money.

Monegan said the governor never complained about his job performance. His filing with the personnel board includes documents backing up his arguments — that he was cooperating on the budget and that the trip to pursue funding to fight sexual assault was in close coordination with the governor’s office. He said much of that information was not included in Branchflower’s report.

Palin’s lawyer, Van Flein, said the governor’s aides have documented their serious problems with Monegan. Even Branchflower concluded Palin had reasons unrelated to Wooten for dismissing Monegan, Van Flein said in an email.

Van Flein said Palin released the reasons behind the commissioner’s removal only when Monegan made “incorrect claims” it was related to Wooten. He said Palin’s first explanation of a “new direction” was a polite euphemism to indicate change without airing all the details.

“Rather than take the cue, Monegan chose to air this laundry in public,” Van Flein said.

Monegan Wants Personnel Board Hearing

Troopergate’s NOT Over – Scope of Alaska’s Personnel Board Investigating Gov. Palin Will Include Other Ethics Complaints

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin faces additional ethics violations in Alaska Personnel Board investigation

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin faces additional ethics violations in Alaska Personnel Board "Troopergate" investigation.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Troopergate is NOT over for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  Investigator Tim Petumenos recently cited a consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as reasons for privacy by the Personnel Board during the investigation.  There are two other ethics complaints currently pending against Gov. Palin, involving hiring practices and illegally breached personnel files.  Additonal charges for harassment of state trooper Mike Wooten, Gov. Palin’s ex-brother-in-law will also be included in the investigation. 

The state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case.

The investigator, Tim Petumenos, did not say who else is under scrutiny. But in two recent letters describing his inquiry, he cited the consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as a reason for not going along with Palin’s request to make the examination of her activities more public.

Two other ethics complaints involving Palin are known. One, by activist Andree McLeod, alleges that state hiring practices were circumvented for a Palin supporter. The case is not related to Monegan’s firing. The other, by the Public Safety Employees Association, alleges that trooper Mike Wooten’s personnel file was illegally breached by state officials.

John Cyr, the PSEA executive director, said Monday the union plans to amend its complaint to be sure the board investigates “harassment” of Wooten as well.

Petumenos has not spoken to the press, in keeping with the secrecy of the state process. But he gave a rough description of the investigation’s course in two letters to an Anchorage attorney threatening a lawsuit over Palin’s effort to waive confidentiality.

Attention is turning this week to the Personnel Board — the state’s official avenue for investigating ethics complaints — after release of the Legislature’s Troopergate investigation last Friday. The Legislature’s investigator concluded that Palin was within her rights to fire Monegan as public safety commissioner, but abused her power and broke the ethics law in joining her husband to push for the firing of Wooten, who was once married to the governor’s sister.

Palin reversed an earlier pledge and refused to cooperate with the Legislature’s investigation, calling it politically biased. In an unusual twist, she filed the ethics complaint against herself before the board, saying she hoped to “clear the air” by an inquiry through proper channels. She asked the board to decide if she broke ethics laws or acted improperly in dismissing Monegan or in dealing with Wooten — basically the same ground Branchflower covered.

Petumenos has requested a copy of Friday’s legislative report, including confidential backup material, said Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, chairman of the Legislative Council. Elton said the council will meet Thursday to vote on whether to give Petumenos all the material gathered by its investigator, Steve Branchflower.

Petumenos was hired by the Personnel Board to handle the case because the state attorney general’s office, which normally investigates ethics charges, would have a conflict investigating the governor.

Under the state’s inscrutable system for investigating official ethics complaints, there’s no way to tell how long Petumenos’ investigation might take. The Personnel Board, made up of three gubernatorial appointees, has meetings scheduled for Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. Agendas for those meetings mention confidential ethics matters to be handled in executive session.

Nor is there any certainty, if the complaints are settled or dismissed, that the results of the investigation will ever be made public. A review of recent Personnel Board cases, however, suggests it’s likely most information will eventually be released.

Palin has been involved in Personnel Board investigations before — though not as a subject of complaint — and at the time complained about their secrecy.

In high-profile cases that established her statewide reputation as an ethics reformer, Palin helped with a 2003 investigation of Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich, who was working on a state oil regulatory panel, and she co-filed a complaint in 2004 against then-attorney general Gregg Renkes.

Both men were found by investigators to have crossed ethical lines. Details of the investigations were released in the end, as part of a settlement that stopped short of the full public hearing before an administrative law judge that the law requires in serious cases.

In the Ruedrich case, Palin resigned her state job in protest while the investigation was still secret, saying she felt implicated in a cover-up because of the shroud.

“I’d like to find a hero in the Legislature who can take on and change that law and make it more sensible,” Palin said at the time she resigned. As governor, she has supported changes to ethics laws, but the secrecy of board investigations has not been changed.

Palin fired Monegan in July and the legislative inquiry began later that month.

Four days after her Aug. 29 selection as John McCain’s Republican vice presidential candidate, Palin’s lawyer filed an official ethics complaint over the Monegan affair with the Personnel Board, urging the Legislature to give way. The Legislature refused, creating parallel investigations.

Judging from Petumenos’ letters on the case, he feels able to range as broadly as Branchflower into subjects related to the original ethics complaints.

One element will distinguish the Personnel Board inquiry: It will have Palin’s cooperation.

Sarah and Todd Palin have agreed to be interviewed by Petumenos at the end of next week, said Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign. She said Monday she has no other details of the arrangement.

There’s another distinction: While the Legislature’s inquiry ended last Friday with vague talk of further action, the official investigation can bring legal consequences under the state ethics law.

The three current members of the Personnel Board were appointed by Gov. Frank Murkowski. Palin reappointed one, Debra English of Anchorage, last January.

The three unsalaried appointees usually handle less momentous matters at quarterly lunch meetings, said Dianne Kiesel, deputy director of the Alaska Division of Personnel and Labor Relations in the state Department of Administration. The board approves changes to state work rules such as promotion, pay and leave regulations.

Meanwhile, many ethics complaints filed against state employees — accusing someone of driving a state vehicle after hours, say, or of providing rude service — get handled by ethics supervisors inside the different state departments. The Personnel Board gets a summary report but is not involved.

It’s the unusual case that becomes a big job requiring extra board meetings.

“Most all of these things get resolved before or at the accusation stage,” said assistant attorney general Judy Bockmon. “Very few matters have actually gone to hearing.”

Palin explicitly waived her right to confidentiality in her complaint to the Personnel Board. But days later, the McCain-Palin campaign said the investigation would remain secret at the request of Petumenos.

“The governor will respect that request, but will explore the means by which confidentiality may be waived once the investigation is complete,” said Stapleton.

In two recent letters to Anchorage lawyer Meg Simonian, who was threatening a lawsuit to force more public scrutiny, Petumenos said the investigation had spread to other officials and other complaints.

“The Governor does not have the right, under such circumstances, to waive the right of confidentiality for others,” Petumenos wrote. But he tried to reassure Simonian about the eventual release of the investigation.

“The Board is … mindful of the public interest and the interest in the credibility to its processes that public disclosure would provide,” Petumenos said.

Simonian, a registered Democrat who said she is pursuing the matter out of personal interest, said Monday she wants Petumenos to tease out the parts of his report involving Palin, so that those parts of the upcoming Personnel Board meetings can be public — if, indeed, the board is discussing that topic.

“I’m in this bind where nobody knows what the board is doing,” Simonian said.


 On the investigation’s scope “… (I)t has become clear that the conduct of other state employees or officials besides the governor will be the subject of inquiry. The Independent Counsel, while investigating a matter referred to it, must necessarily follow all investigatory leads, and consider the conduct of any person involved in matters referred to it. Moreover, the statute requires referral to other agencies of pertinent matters and advice to the State government where practices or procedures merit review. Thus, the inquiry is not necessarily strictly limited to the Disclosure filed before it, and in any case, this matter has been consolidated with another complaint.”— Tim Petumenos, state Personnel Board independent counsel, in a Sept. 29 letter to Meg Simonian

Board’s Troopergate probe casts wider net

Gov. Sarah Palin Makes Troopergate Assertions that Are Flatly False

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband Todd Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband Todd Palin

ABC News senior correspondent Jake Tapper addresses Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s reaction to the Troopergate ethics investigative report released on Friday, October 11, 2008 by the Alaska Legislature.  Seems she has an entirely different take on the findings of the bipartisan legislative body who concluded that Gov. Palin’s conduct “violated AS 39.52.110(a) of the Ethics Act…”  But, according to Gov. Palin, she is “very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing … any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.”  Just what ethics report did Governor Sarah Palin read to come up with that spin?

On Saturday, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin twice spoke to reporters about the so-called “Troopergate” scandal and the investigative report on whether she had abused her power in trying to get her sister’s ex-husband Mike Wooten fired as a state trooper, and for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan one year after she, her staffers, and her husband Todd began unsuccessfully pressuring Monegan to let Wooten go.

Palin spoke on the phone with Alaska reporters about the report. The McCain-Palin campaign only allowed one question per reporter. The journalists came from the Anchorage Daily News, KTVA-Channel 11 and KTUU-Channel 2. No follow-ups were allowed.

The call can be heard HERE.

“Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing,” Palin said, “any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.”

That’s just not the case.

One can make the argument, as Palin and her allies have tried to do, that this investigation — launched by a bipartisan Republican-controlled legislative body — was somehow a partisan Democratic witch hunt, but one cannot honestly make the argument that the report concluded that Palin was “cleared of any legal wrongdoing” or “any hint of unethical activity.”

The investigator did conclude that Palin’s firing of Monegan was within her power, that “although Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper 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.”

But it finds that Palin “knowingly, as that term is defined in … statutes, permitted Todd Palin to use the Governor’s office and the resources of the Governor’s office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired. Her conduct violated AS 39.52.110(a) of the Ethics Act…”

The report states: “I find that Governor Sarah Palin Abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act … Compliance with the code of ethics is not optional

The evidence supports the conclusion that Governor Palin, at the least, engaged in ‘official action’ by her inaction if not her active participation or assistance to her husband in attempting to get Trooper Wooten fired [and there is evidence of her active participation.] She knowingly, as that term is defined in the above cited statutes, permitted Todd Palin to use the Governor’s office and the resources of the Governor’s office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired. Her conduct violated AS 39.52.110(a) of the Ethics Act

Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda.”

Read the report HERE.

Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt explains that when Palin says she’s been cleared of any legal or ethical violations, “She was referring to the conclusion of the report that found that she acted properly and lawfully with regard to reassigning Monegan, which was the original purpose of the investigation.”

But Palin is seldom that specific.

When Palin first commented on the report she parsed.

Asked “Governor, did you abuse your power?” she said, “No, and if you read the report you’ll see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member. You gotta read the report, sir.”

It’s true that there’s nothing “unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member” in principle. And the report concluded that she had the power to fire Monegan.

But the report concluded that she had abused her power, and there was indeed something “unethical” about her behavior, insofar as it violated the state Ethics Act.

But now Palin has moved on from parsing to assertions that are not true.

“Governor,” asked a reporter with the Anchorage Daily News, “finding Number One on the report was that you abused your power by violating state law. Do you think you did anything wrong at all in this Troopergate case?”

“Not at all and I’ll tell you, it, I think that you’re always going to ruffle feathers as you do what you believe is in the best interest of the people whom you are serving,” Palin said. “In this case I knew that I had to have the right people in the right position at the right time in this cabinet to best serve Alaskans, and Walt Monegan was not the right person at the right time to meet the goals that we had set out in our administration. So no, not having done anything wrong, and again very much appreciating being cleared of any legal wrongdoing or unethical activity at all.”

Again, not true.

She was NOT cleared, certainly not of “unethical activity.”

In Altoona, Pa., at the flagship Sheetz gas station, Palin was asked to elaborate about her assertion that there was nothing “unethical or unlawful that was done.”

I’m thankful that the report has shown that, that there was no illegal or unethical activity there in my choice to replace our commissioner, so, now we look forward to working with the personnel board that the entity that is charged with looking into any activity of a governor, the lieutenant governor, or an attorney general,” Palin said.

That came closer to the truth. The report did in fact conclude that Palin had the power to fire Monegan.

“Governor, if I can follow up,” a reporter said, “the report says that you did abuse your authority in trying to get Officer Wooten fired. How do you respond to that charge?”

There was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired,” Palin said.

If she was stating that as her opinion, fine, but if she was stating that as the conclusion of the report, that’s false.

“In fact, remember, Officer Wooten is still an Alaska state trooper, which is up to the commissioner, top brass in the department of public safety to decide who is worthy of wearing a badge and carrying a gun in the state of Alaska,” Palin said. “And if they think that Trooper Wooten is worthy of that, that’s their decision. I don’t micromanage my commissioners and ask them to hire or fire anyone, and thankfully the truth was revealed there in that report, that showed that there was no unlawful nor unethical activity on my part.”

Again, not true.

Gov. Sarah Palin Makes Troopergate Assertions that Are Flatly False