The investigator into the firing of Alaska’s Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan by Governor (and Republican vice presidential candidate) Sarah Palin issued his report Friday last week.x1 The firing came after Monegan had stood up to pressure from the governor to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper. The investigator was appointed by unanimous vote of a mostly-Republican council of the Alaska legislature.x2 The report’s first finding addressed the pressure from the governor:
… Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 126.96.36.199(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. [The statute] provides … that … any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of [a public] trust.
The second finding addressed the firing:
… Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Wooten … was likely a contributing factor to his termination …
The next day, Palin gave six minutes of her time to three Alaskan reporters in a phone conference:
Palin: Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing … any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.x3
Anchorage Daily News (ADN): Governor, finding No.1 on the report was that you abused your power by violating state law. Do you think you did anything wrong at all in this Troopergate case?
Palin: Not at all and I’ll tell you, it, I think that you’re always going to ruffle feathers as you do what you believe is in the best interest of the people whom you are serving. … So no, not having done anything wrong, and again very much appreciating being cleared of any legal wrongdoing or unethical activity at all.
ADN: Have you read the whole report?
But Palin did not seem to hear that question, and the handler of the conference moved on to the other reporters, who did not pursue the line of questioning.
So, how do we explain Palin saying she was cleared of unethical activity when the report says the opposite? Could she really be so incurious as to not have read the report’s first finding? Or has she wrapped herself in a fantasy world where such an unpleasant finding cannot enter? Or is she brazenly lying? The Washington Post‘s fact check column answers yes to that last question. It gives Palin four Pinocchios, the highest rating on its deceit scale.x4
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