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Tipsheet

Troopergate "Investigator" has Conflict of Interest

The more you dig into the “investigation” of Sarah Palin in Alaska, the more it looks like a kangaroo court. Amanda Carpenter pointed out yesterday that Hollis French -- the Democratic State Senator running the show -- has already pre-ordained the result, and now we find out that the “independent investigator” has a massive conflict of interest.  

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It turns out that Steve Branchflower, the former Assistant D.A. hired to investigate Palin’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, has a personal ties to the people he is investigating. For example, his wife, a retired detective for the Anchorage Police Department, was still on the force when Monegan became Chief in 2001. She even heaped praise on him in a 2001 interview with the Anchorage Daily News (subscription req'd):                

Monegan is a respected supervisor because he listens to his employees and isn't afraid to change course if something isn't working out, said detective Linda Branchflower.

''A lot of us see that as more courageous,'' she said.

Several detectives said they are hopeful he'll re-create the specialized detective units. In the current system, a detective investigating burglaries in one part of town may not realize similar crimes are happening in another part, Branchflower said.

''We've been a train on the wrong track going in the wrong direction for too long,'' Branchflower said.

According to a recent profile in the ADN, Investigator Branchflower himself has close ties to both the Anchorage PD (where Monegan rose through the ranks over 27 years) and State Senator Hollis French (the Democrat making wild predictions). The Daily News noted that Branchflower “ran the intake unit” at the Anchorage D.A.’s office, “evaluating cases submitted by police and troopers for prosecution”.  So, essentially, he dealt with the police more than anyone in the office and has tons of connections to the law enforcement establishment. The ADN also said that French is a “former prosecutor and colleague of Branchflower” and that Branchflower “asked for the job”.  

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So, if this wasn’t a partisan witch hunt, why the heck did Sen. French hire an old buddy from the D.A.’s office whose wife used to work for Walt Monegan? Why did Branchflower even bother to ask for the job when he knew that he had a glaring conflict of interest?  Either there is an extreme shortage of qualified lawyers in Alaska or something fishy is afoot.

Townhall's Adam Brickley contributed to this post.

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