Democrats be warned, “Troopergate” may backfire.
The latest revelation in the investigation on Sarah Palin’s decision to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan reinforces her credentials as a reformer who strived to abide by her state budget and maintain dignity within the ranks of her law enforcement as Governor of Alaska.
Emails released by Palin’s lawyer in the evolving “Troopergate” investigation show Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he routinely undermined her on budget issues, not because of his refusal to fire Palin’s ex brother-in-law Trooper Mike Wooten.
While Monegan’s firing was unrelated to Wooten, Palin did make her concerns about the trooper, who admitted to “tasering” his stepson, threatening the Governor’s family with violence and who has had a restraining order issued against him by his ex-wife, known.
Thomas Van Flein, Palin's legal counsel, submitted a report to Alaskan lawmakers investigating whether Palin abused her power in firing Monegan that said the comissioner was terminated due to his “outright insubordination.” Fein cited evidence showing Monegan defied the Governor by making public requests for projects Palin did not support in her budget, such as an $1.8 million increase for the Anchorage Community Land Trust (a project Palin had previously vetoed) and by planning an unauthorized trip to Washington to lobby the Alaskan delegation for more money. Monegan wanted Washington to give him between $10 million and $20 million to rehire retired troopers to specialize in sexual assault cases. The Palin administration maintained Monegan needed to fill his 56 general enforcement vacancies that already had an existing funding stream before hiring specialized enforcement staff outside the budget.
Flein included an avalanche of 2008 emails from Palin’s staff that discussed Monegan’s, a political appointee who served at the Governor’s pleasure, disruptive agenda in his report. None of the emails mentioned Wooten.
Palin did, however, write an email to Monegan regarding Wooten in 2007. In it, she asked Monegan to provide comment about a bill to ban the sale of guns to individuals who are considered a threat to public safety. She said the bill raised concerns about her “ex brother in law, the trooper who threatened to kill my dad yet was not even reprimanded by his bosses and still to this day carries a gun, of course.”