First off, my apologies for not picking up this story earlier, I have been very getting ready to move and have had very little time for the blog. That said, the "Troopergate" story has reared it's head in the national media again, and lots of new information is being released. So I figure that now is the time to shove another nail into this story's coffin and make a concerted effort to get the facts out. The Associated Press article was relatively even handed, but it was not a full accounting of the facts, and the Alaskan media has been downright horrible. I will be updating this post this story to add detail. But for now, I wanted to give a quick rundown of of the developments that have occurred and the facts that I would like to see reported.
Gov. Palin held a press conference Wednesday announcing the results of her administration's internal audit regarding the situation. They did find several unauthorized calls made by Palin's staff regarding Trooper Mike Wooten, but no involvement by Gov. Palin, and all of the information will be willingly turned over to Investigator Steve Branchflower. This is an unprecedented level of openness and transparency for an official involved in such a situation.
The key item released was the audio of a recorded phone call by Frank Bailey, a member of the Governor's staff, to the Public Safety Department. The phone call was condemned by the Governor, and I will be detailing later how the audio clearly shows that Bailey was not authorized to make the phone call and not speaking for the administration. That said, Bailey raises some interesting concerns about Walt Monegan in the call, which I will detail later.
For now, I'll let you watch the press conference and listen to the phone call, I'm interested in hearing your comments. Personally, I think Palin is doing a bang-up job handling his.
Facts that have yet to be reported in any media
1. Investigator Steve Branchflower has a GLARING conflict of interest. Not only did he work closely with Walt Monegan's Anchorage Police department for years in the District Attorney's office, but his wife was a detective in that department, including after Monegan became chief. She was even quoted singing Monegan's Praises to the Anchorage Daily News when he was hired as chief. ("New Chief" by Lisa Demer, Anchorage Daily News, Jan. 31, 2001).
2. Todd Palin was ORDERED by the head of the Governor's secutity detail, Special Agent Bob Cockrell, to discuss Trooper Wooten with Walt Monegan, as Wooten presented a credible threat to the Governor's safety. Here's a direct quote from Special Agent Cockrell, who is now providing security for his sixth consecutive governor:
“When made aware of the security concerns regarding a state trooper, I instructed the First Gentleman to contact the commissioner of Public Safety. It is standard protocol to ask every governor about any threats they perceive or have realized. I will not hesitate to set the record straight in answering these false allegations by former Commissioner Monegan.” (emphasis added)
3. State records show that Monegan lied about the number of times he met with the Governor during his tenure. While Monegan claims that the Governor was inaccessible and only met with him four times, records indicate that he had more than two dozen meetings with Gov. Palin, including.