Posts Tagged ‘report in’

Troopergate Report: Sarah Palin Abused Power

A legislative investigation has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was once married to her sister. 4:52 PM

Alaska Politics blog: The report’s findings

PDF: The Branchflower report

Video: McCain campaign talks about Todd Palin statement,

Branchflower probe PDF: Todd Palin’s Troopergate statement

Alaska Politics Blog: Live reports and pictures from Legislative Council meeting

State scrambles to gather private e-mails 4:47 PM

Branchflower’s report contains four findings. The first concludes 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 was involved in a nasty divorce from Palin’s sister. Palin and her husband, Todd, have accused Wooten of threatening Palin’s father.

The investigation also looked into whether Palin dismissed public safety commissioner Walt Monegan because he resisted pressure to fire Wooten.

In the second finding, 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 e-mails.

The release of Branchflower’s 263-page report came after a unanimous vote of the 12-member Legislative Council, which authorized the inquiry last summer. The vote followed an all-day, closed-door meeting with Branchflower. Three members participated by telephone.

Branchflower also recommends the Legislature change the way complaints against peace officers such as troopers are handled. He says lawmakers should consider making it possible for people who file such complaints to get feedback about the status of their complaint and whatever action was taken about it.


The initial complaint against Wooten was filed by Gov. Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, before she was elected governor in 2006. Branchflower says the inability of the family to get information about what was happening with the complaint was frustrating to them.


“I believe their frustration was real, as was their skepticism about whether their complaints were being zealously investigated,” Branchflower’s report says. “The irony is that the complaints were taken very seriously, and a thorough investigation was under way. However, the law prevented the Troopers from giving them any feedback whatsoever.”


The law should try to balance the need for confidentiality with a recognition that feedback to the filer of a complaint is also important, the report says.