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Palin Won’t Release Troopergate Deposition December 5, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Executive.
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ADN’s political blog is reporting that the governor’s office is refusing to release the deposition Sarah Palin gave to the Alaska Personnel Board.  Apparently Palin views the matter as over and done with, and wants to put it behind her.  She’s also refusing to release Todd’s deposition and a host of other related material.

Her promise to make the personnel board’s findings public, she says, didn’t apply to material which was not explicitly in the final report.  That promise notwithstanding, what does Sarah have to gain by refusing to make her testimony public?  Much of her side of the story has already been made public in the news media, and I don’t anticipate that her answers to the personnel board were substantially different than the ones we’ve heard, so she probably doesn’t have to worry about charges of her story changing.  Furthermore, the personnel board cleared her of wrongdoing, so nothing she or Todd said in the depositions can be that damaging, can it?  I’m baffled.

I will say this: the question of whether Sarah Palin acted improperly in
a) trying to get Trooper Wooten fired, and/or
b) in removing Walt Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety
completely aside, the one thing I’m taking away from this case so far as an Alaskan is that our governor, whose chief talking point in the campaign was that Alaska’s government should be transparent and accountable to the people, didn’t mean what she said.  

More than anything else, I’m disappointed.


State News Recap: Exciting Crimes Edition October 22, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Executive, Legislature.
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Thought I’d recap some Alaska politics stories that are getting a lot of buzz right now for those of you who don’t hang out in the same corners of the internet(s) as myself.

  • The Republican National Committee has reportedly spent $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family in the last seven weeks.  That’s almost twice what she makes in a year as governor (just over $81,000).  If I had known that being John McCain’s VP candidate would net me that kind of scratch to spend on clothes, I would have put my name in the hat.  I can explain the duties of the vice president better than Sarah can…
  • Ted Stevens’ fate is now in the hands of the jurors.  Here’s my prediction, which isn’t too bold but does disagree with a few political minds I’ve picked on this topic: If he beats the rap, he wins re-election.  If he is convicted of any charge, he loses.  Going out onto a limb a little further, my bet is that even if he is re-elected he won’t run again in six years.  The era of Ted Stevens as the Republican version of the “Lion of the Senate” is coming to a close.
  • Back to Sarah for a minute- she is scheduled to give her deposition in the Troopergate probe on Friday.  You may well be thinking, “Didn’t that whole thing wrap up a week or two ago?”  The answer is yes and no.  The Legislature’s probe is already over, and it found that she abused her power and acted in an ethically irresponsible way, but stopped short of accusing her of breaking specific laws.  The Alaska Personnel Board, at Palin’s request, is operating a second probe which is still ongoing.  Sarah will give her deposition to the APB probe; she declined to participate in the Legislature’s investigation.
  • In case you’re of a mind to believe that Republicans are responsible for all of the scandals in Alaska politics, think again.  John Brown, a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Jay Ramras for State House in District 10, ran into some trouble over the last week.  First, an old conviction for using cocaine surfaced.  This conviction is nearly thirty years old, so while it wasn’t great news for Brown and likely lost him a few votes, it wouldn’t have been a game-changer by itself.  Unfortunately for Brown, a few days later it came out that his campaign manager was making false accusations about Jay Ramras on the website of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, using an anonymous username to disguise his identity.  The cocaine conviction story was thereby resurrected and amplified, with the addition of a story which suggests that Brown’s campaign is in disarray.  At this point, Brown is dead in the water.
That’s all for now.  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Weekend Recap October 6, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Executive, Fairbanks Government, Legislature.
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It was a busy weekend in Alaska politics.  Here’s a summary of what went on:

  • State Attorney General Talis Colberg says that seven state employees will now cooperate with their subpoenas in the Troopergate investigation.  This is good news, of course, but I wish he and the McCain/Palin campaign hadn’t stonewalled the investigation in the first place.
  • The federal government is bungling the hell out of the Ted Stevens trial.  The defense is now attempting a second time to have the case dismissed.  My sister is already spinning conspiracy theories about how the case’s mismanagement is purposeful; I’m not quite there yet.
  • The VP Debate: The consensus of reaction appears to be that Palin handed in a better-than-expected performance, but Biden won the debate.  My two gripes with Palin’s debating style were her folksy Fargo-esque accent, which sounded overwrought, and also her willingness to completely ignore the questions in favor of whatever she wanted to talk about.  That said, anyone expecting her to leave the stage humbled and in tears was certainly disappointed.
  • Todd and Piper Palin were surprise guests at a Palin rally in Anchorage on Saturday.    There were also Obama rallies in Anchorage and Fairbanks.  At the Fairbanks Obama rally, City Council candidate Tonya Brown spoke.  Brown is facing off tomorrow against Jerry Cleworth and Kurt Gutzman for City Council Seat F.
  • Looking forward: the municipal election (for Borough Assembly, City Council, School Board, and local initiatives) is tomorrow.  I’ll post shortly with information on candidates and propositions.

Stevens Trial Will Proceed, Palin Investigation Under Fire September 17, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Executive, Judiciary, Legislature.
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The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is reporting that Ted Stevens’ lawyers have failed in their final attempt to get Stevens’ corruption charges dismissed without a trial.  Stevens is still hoping that the trial, now scheduled to start on the 22nd of September, will be over before the general election on November 4th.  Stevens must be well-convinced of his chances of not being convicted, as were he to be convicted prior to the election, the ramifications would reach beyond his own political career.  If Stevens is indeed convicted before November 4th, the Republicans will not be able to replace him on the ballot, and Mark Begich (the Democratic nominee) will win the race for Stevens’ seat in a walk.  Stevens may be convinced he’ll be found not guilty, but I’d bet there are some folks in his party getting ulcers about now.


In other scandal-related news, Sarah Palin has now completed her reversal of stance towards the State Legislature’s “Troopergate” investigation, as Palin’s allies in the Legislature have sued to block the investigation led by State Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage).  The investigation was initially given unanimous bipartisan support and the blessing of Palin herself, but after Palin’s nomination as John McCain’s running mate, both Palin and Republicans in the Legislature have complained that the probe has become partisan and even suggested that supporters of Barack Obama have “hijacked” the investigation.

CNN has the full story.

Breaking: Monegan Says Palin Is Lying September 16, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Executive.
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This isn’t exactly a big surprise, but I am surprised it came out already: ABC News conducted an interview with Walt Monegan (the former Public Safety commissioner whose dismissal is at the heart of the “Troopergate” scandal), his first in-depth interview since his departure from commissionership.  Monegan doesn’t beat around the bush.

In the interview, Monegan says he and Palin never discussed Public Safety priorities (Palin’s explanation for Monegan’s firing was that he didn’t see eye-to-eye with the administration on priorities like alcohol abuse), and that,

“She’s not telling the truth when she told ABC neither she nor her husband pressured me to fire Trooper Wooten… And she’s not telling the truth to the media about her reasons for firing me.”

It’s difficult to be more straightforward than that.

The interview story from ABC is here.

UPDATE (6:00 PM AK): Palin’s people just did an about-face: departing from her welcoming stance toward the investigation (her initial response), they are now blasting the investigation as overly partisan and saying she won’t cooperate as long as the investigation “remains tainted”.  Her aides are also giving Monegan both barrels, saying he displayed “egregious insubordination” during his tenure as the Public Safety Commissioner.  The full story is at KTUU.