Vote 2008

Troopergate report: Palin “abused her power”

The Anchorage Daily News reports:

A investigation has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper, according to a report just unanimously released by the Legislative Council.

The report by investigator Steve Branchflower found that Palin violated the state’s executive branch ethics act, which says 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.”

Branchflower was investigating whether Palin abused her power by pushing for the firing of state trooper Mike Wooten, who once was married to the governor’s sister, and in dismissing public safety commissioner Walt Monegan.

Monegan has said he believes he was fired for refusing to fire Wooten.

The abuse of power conclusion was the first of four findings by Branchflower.

In the second, Branchflower says Monegan’s refusal to fire Wooten was not the sole reason for his dismissal, but that it was a “contributing factor.” Still, he said, Palin’s firing of Monegan was “a proper and lawful exercise” of the governor’s authority.

The third finding says a workers compensation claim filed by Wooten was handled appropriately.

Number four concludes that the attorney general’s office failed to comply with Branchflower’s Aug. 6 request for information about the case in emails.

If you want more details, you can find the 263-page public portion of the report here (pdf).

Anyone want to place bets on her press availability now? A few weeks ago, this probably would have been political dynamite. Now it seems like just another hole in the hull of a sinking Republican ship.

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