“I believe their frustration was real as was their skepticism..”

Far be it for me to disagree with Will Crawley’s assessment that the “money quote” in Volume 1 of retired Alaskan state prosecutor Stephen Branchflower’s report to the Alaska Legislative Council, is

“Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110 (a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.”

The BBC report has more, and the Belfast Telegraph report seems somewhat premature.. Given that the full report has yet to be voted on, never mind endorsed, by the Legislative Council.. But I’d suggest the real ‘money quote’ is, as noted elsewhere

“I find that, although Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin’s firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.”

The first quote refers to Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) which provides

“The legislature reaffirms 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.”

Interestingly, leaving aside that it was, at most, a constructive dismissal of Moneghan, the first finding relates to an alleged breach of public trust in attempting to pressurise Moneghan to fire Trooper Michael Wooten, although Wooten was not fired, and corresponds with the ethics disclosure [pdf file] by Sarah Palin herself on 1 September this year. The detailed Wiki page on Troopergate provides the background, from Sarah Palin’s character reference for Wooten in 2000 to her overhearing a death threat against her father, Chuck Heath, in 2005 – a year before she became State Governor. In the aftermath of his divorce from Palin’s sister, Wooten was subsequently suspended for 10 days [pdf file], reduced to 5 days after a union appeal, and transferred to a different department. But the suspension letter made no reference to the death threat, despite an internal investigation concluding that – “Wooten violated internal policy, but not the law, in making a death threat against Heath. Wooten denied having made the threat, but the investigation decided that he had in fact done so. The investigation concluded that the death threat was not a crime because Wooten did not threaten the father directly; therefore, the investigator deemed the threat to be a violation of trooper policy rather than a violation of criminal law.”
The Conclusion of the explanation of the First Finding is also worth looking at from Volume 1 [pages 65-68]

As is the subsequent discussion to the Recommendation to the Legislature. [pages 79-81]

In this case, there has been much said about the level of frustration that existed on the part of Sarah Palin’s father Chuck Heath who filed the original complaint against Trooper Michael Wooten, and on the part of Sarah and Todd Palin, who attempted to learn the status of the investigation only to be told be Colonel Grimes that the matter was confidential by reason of AS 39.25.080. I believe their frustration was real as was their skepticism about whether their complaints were being zealously investigated. The irony is that the complaints were taken very seriously, and a thorough investigation was underway. However, the law prevented the Troopers from giving them any feedback whatsoever.