John McCain's new running mate comes with a potentially dangerous issue hanging over her head, specifically the allegation that she fired Public
Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan as punishment for his refusal to fire Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten- the ex husband of Palin's sister.
This issue has several twists and turns however, and frankly I do not trust the Mainstream Media and it's 2 minute drill approach to complex and
nuanced stories. So let's figure it out for ourselves here.
I am starting with the problem that Palin had with the State Trooper, her ex-brother-in-law. That will be this whole post.
In my next post I will address the issue from the Trooper's side.
And in my third post I will examine Palin's handling of the issue after assuming office.
This will take a while- the Alaska State Trooper Investigation generated over 400 pages of source material, a fair portion of which I obtained from
Anchorage Daily News (www.adn.com). So far I have a good deal of respect for their coverage of the matter and would encourage readers to choose that
as one source to familiarize yourself with the issue along with the posts that I will be creating.
The Trouble with Troopers
In early 2005, Trooper Wooten and his wife Molly McCann were having serious marital problems. McCann and her children claimed to be afraid of Wooten,
who they characterized as an alcoholic, steroid abuser, and domestic abuser. In a Department of Public Safety interview which took place March 5th
2005, Palin reported the following, as documented in the
report of that interview
A full transcript of the interview is available
In February of 2005, after Wooten allegedly threatened to kill McCann's father if he hired a divorce attorney for his daughter, McCann's family,
including her father, began efforts to get Wooten fired and/or arrested by reporting numerous alleged incidents of misconduct on his part, including
numerous DUI infractions, threats of armed violence and use of his position as a trooper while off duty to intimidate citizens during private
disputes- including showing his badge and having another man removed from a bar after arguing with that man.
The efforts became overt on 4/11/05- the day that McCann filed for divorce and a Domestic Violence Protective Order.
This prompted McCann's father to contact the State Troopers on the same day. This resulted in the following memorandum of complain within the State
Troopers, dated 4/11/05.
Complaint against Wooten
The Memo concludes that the complaints presented, if substantiated, would constitute violations of the following regulatons (laws violated are not
included as the document is not a criminal report).
If substantiated, these actions .wouldbe in violation of OPM chapters 101.070(A)- Unbecomingconduct,
101.070(B)- Personal conduct, 101.070(C) -Conformance to laws, 101.070(F)(2) - Use of alcohol,
101.070(i)(1) - Abuse of position and 103.030(A)- Operation to be prudent and lawful.
The following day the department issued Wooten a non-disciplinary warning in the form of
to obey the
Domestic Violence Protective Order pending a court hearing regarding that Protective Order which was set for 4/27.
There was an unexplained and thus far apparently undocumented lull in the investigation between Early May and Early August.
A letter from Palin on 8/5/10 addressed to Colonel Julie Grimes of the Alaska State Troopers does reveal that the DVPO was downgraded to a no contact
order at some point in the Spring, and complains of inaction by the Alaska State Troopers.
Followup interviews with Sarah Palin and her husband as well as others occurred on
, and then on
On 10/11/05 McCann's father wrote a letter to Colonel Julie Grimes of the Alaska State Troopers complaining of the lack of action on the matter over
the past 7 months. Although the letter can not be considered authoritative documentation of any of the facts presently missing, the issues raised in
the letter seem to suggest that no resolution of the more serious charges was ever made known to the involved parties.
Subsequent to this August round of efforts, the AST finally did release the following
which is an incredibly interesting
read in my opinion, in that it finds that the threats against the father's life were not illegal, because they were made to others outside of his
presence and he was not informed of those threats immediately (most laws require that a reasonable person would believe that the threat will be
carried out, and one could argue, though I believe incorrectly, that the threat SOLELY impacted the father, and that he could not possibly find it
plausible if he didn't know it even happened, and therefore no crime occurred. This disregards the fact that the threat materially and emotionally
targeted McCann, even though the victim of the direct recipient of the threatened violence was named as her father).
On that grounds the conduct unbecoming charge and poor personal conduct charges were upheld but failure to conform to laws charges were dismissed.
The report accepted the results of a drug test privately obtained by the accused despite acknowledging that they did not know if the test covered the
full range of illegal steroids. Thus another charge of failure to conform to laws was dismissed.
All charges related to the alleged altercation in a bar were dismissed based on inconsistent statements by the bartender, who both said that Wooten
was intoxicated and then said he was probably below the legal limit and showing no outward signs of intoxication.
Charges of domestic violence were dismissed on the grounds that they were not brought forward until divorce proceedings began, and the credibility of
Palin and her son was questioned based on inconsistencies between their respective stories unrelated to the actual threats and violence
- specifically the son giving a contradictory reason for listening in on the conversation in question.
The Tazering of his son was described as being done "in a training capacity" but still resulted in conduct unbecoming and a few other minor
Subsequently on Feb 1st 2006 Colonel Grimes overturned portions of that Report, deciding that Wooten probably did commit DUI.
Ultimately a 10 day suspension
was imposed by
Grimes, but that was reduced to 5 days upon appeal by the union.
It is alleged that Palin was dissatisified and upon becoming governor, began to pursue the matter through her official office. That will be covered in
my third post, after a fair say is provided for Trooper Wooten.