Troopergate probe: Palin abused power but had the right to fire Monegan

posted at 9:55 pm on October 10, 2008 by Allahpundit

Look at it this way: If the race was close right now, this would be a killer. As it is, it’s just one more shovel blow to the back of the skull.

Feel better?

Finding Number One

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 39.52.110(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.

Finding Number Two

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.

Team Maverick’s statement:

Today’s report shows that the Governor acted within her proper and lawful authority in the reassignment of Walt Monegan. The report also illustrates what we’ve known all along: this was a partisan led inquiry run by Obama supporters and the Palins were completely justified in their concern regarding Trooper Wooten given his violent and rogue behavior. Lacking evidence to support the original Monegan allegation, the Legislative Council seriously overreached, making a tortured argument to find fault without basis in law or fact. The Governor is looking forward to cooperating with the Personnel Board and continuing her conversation with the American people regarding the important issues facing the country.

Here’s the PDF of the report. Don’t be daunted by the size; the crux of it’s only six pages long, spanning pp. 65-71. In a nutshell, she had legitimate and illegitimate reasons to fire him. The former means the termination itself was lawful, the latter means her compliance with the ethics statute wasn’t.

Political fallout? The base won’t care and left hates her already, so we’ll probably see a few more independents peel away and that’s it. This does give The One a handy reply, though, the next time she questions his character on the stump, and needless to say McCain’s rhetoric about cleaning up government will be highly nuanced indeed from now on. Should make for an entertaining topic during the next GOP primaries, too. For once, Hewitt’s immortal, much-mocked line from last winter is right on target. You know who really benefits from this? Mitt Romney.

Exit quotation: “Legislators, journalists and others were greeted at the elevator outside the meeting room by a group of McCain-Palin campaign volunteers who were dressed as clowns and who said, ‘Welcome to the kangaroo court.'”


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