Moore's article mentions statements by Alaska Senator Bill Wielechowski, made on Moore's Saturday evening KBYR-AM call-in program:
When Senator Bill Wielechowski came on my radio program this week, he dropped a bomb I wasn't ready for; in order for Alaska to avoid a constitutional crisis, "The real solution...is for the governor to say...'I will withhold my resignation until the legislature can meet.'"
Moore's essay goes on to try to unravel just what sort of a constitutional crisis Palin may well have left for Alaskans:
For some reason, nothing seems simple in Alaska. It would seem with the governor's resignation, the Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell, could simply take his seat. The appointed third-in-line would then slip into Sean's chair and we could get back to business.
Sorry. According to both parties, Alaska sits on the edge of a constitutional crisis because of the "chain of command vacuum" created by the governor's abrupt resignation.
The perfect storm of events lined up on February 6, 2009. Senate Resolution 5 passed 16 - 1. It found Todd Palin and the governor's aides guilty of contempt of the State of Alaska Senate. Their refusal to co-operate with subpoenas during the Branchflower Investigation came with no penalties; just the finding. Four days later, Attorney General Talis Colberg resigned. Colberg purportedly advised those found in contempt to ignore their subpoenas.
In February 2007, Palin appointed her AG, Talis Colberg, to serve as successor to the Lieutenant Governor. The legislative body confirmed him. His resignation called for not only a new AG, but a new successor as well.
On April 16th, the nomination of Wayne Anthony Ross for AG was defeated after a long, controversial hearing. Commissioner of Corrections, Joe Schmidt was confirmed as "third in line" in the event the governor or lieutenant governor were unable to fulfill their duties.
Hey, great, constitutional obligations met! Not so fast...
When the governor resigned, Joe Schmidt, who had lobbied for the job and sent thank you notes to those who voted for him, decided "Thanks, but no thanks." Schmidt, a high school friend of Palin's, was a controversial nomination after a 514-19 vote of "no confidence" by the Alaska Correctional Officers Association in 2008. Their lack of confidence had to do with cover up of a contagious bacterial infection, MRSA, among prisoners and guards. In May, the ACOA filed a lawsuit against Sarah Palin's administration for purposefully dragging its feet in getting the legislature to appropriate pay increases, thereby sabotaging new contract arbitration.
It's hard to know why Mr. Schmidt declined his previously sought duty, but a replacement was named by the governor quickly; Alaska National Guard Lieutenant General Craig Campbell.
Last August, just days after Sarah Palin's VP nomination, then Major General Campbell told the AP the governor had no control over the Alaska Air National Guard. He continued breaking down the meme of her experience in an interview with the Boston Globe. Two days later, on Friday, September 8th, Campbell flip-flopped on Fox news. He sang the governor's praises. The following Monday, Palin promoted him to Lieutenant General in the Alaska National Guarda rank only recognized in Alaska. Now she has promoted him for his loyalty again; this time to Lieutenant Governor.
Here is where the constitutional crisis has a head on.
With Palin's resignation, Joe Schmidt declining the Lt. Gov job, and Mr. Campbell not being confirmed by the legislative body...we are left with one leader, Sean Parnell, and no spares. According to the Constitution we have to have a spare. The only way to get a spare is to have a special session and confirm Mr. Campbell. Palin's newest attorney general appointee, Dan Sullivan, formerly of the Bush Administration, supports the unconfirmed succession of Mr. Campbell. Mr. Sullivan has yet to be approved by the legislature.
Moore goes further to attempt to add up some of the expenses to Alaskans this crisis may cost:
Let's do the math:
Branchflower Report: $75,000 (Legislative investigation that found Sarah Palin guilty of abuse of power.)
Palin's own ethics complaint: $187,245.58 (A political tactic filed in an attempt to de-rail the Branchflower Report.)
Special Session (Low estimate):$150,000
PALIN'S cost to the State of Alaska? $402,245.58
"FRIVOLOUS ETHICS COMPLAINERS" cost to the State of Alaska? $101,101.84
Additionally, some of the commenters to the article add in other costs. here's commenter meede:
Please note that the Special Session (Low estimate):$150,000 estimation Ms. Moore sets out is for I believe a One Day Special Session.
A Special Session to be called, would no doubt take more than one day, therefore each day would cost approximately $150,000.
The matter of the $28.6 million veto of federal stimulus funds for energy assistance and weatherization would be addressed within the special session. If there was ever a state that needed this section of the stimulus, it's AK. I also wonder whether the confirmation of the AG pick of Palin's would be dealt with instead of waiting fo the Legislative Session next year as Sullivan has not been confirmed in that position either, but has vocalized his idea that the LG could be an Acting LG meaning no confirmation.
And here's commenter SharpDressedMan:
The total cost of Sarah Palin's quitting grows because the ramifications aren't completely fathomed. Here are more foreseen costs related to the "community organizer with responsibilities" who acquiesced her responsibilities.
- Some ethics charges are still unresolved, new ones expected. Her legal bailout fund is in legal limbo.
- Unscrupulous accountants and other staff members in her administration issued information with discrepancies, errors and omissions. The spreadsheet showing ethics charges expenses isn't the first time information was released with errors. From now on, who will believe information issued by Parnell's administration if he won't purge Sarah loyalists? The cost of distrust in state government is immeasurable. Thanks to Sarah.
- Changes in letter heads, stationary, web site headings, computer network operations, and all other documents containing the governor's name, address, etc.
- Changes of portraits, signs, logos (except Arctic Cat), etc.
- Personnel changes, confirmations, background checks, and moving expenses.
- Placing new personnel in the Governor's line of succession.
- The upcoming swearing-in or quasi-coronation in Fairbanks.
- Security for Parnell and Palin. Her controversial nature necessitates more security at the state's expense.
- Will the soon to be ex-governor charge for consulting services when the state requires her input? Do you expect her to work for free? Think time, expenses, per diem, etc.
The total cost of Sarah's abandonment won't be known for sometime.
Indeed, the true cost won't be known for "sometime [sic]."
But maybe we can apply some of the formulae previously used by the Palin administration to compute administrative costs. I'll call it the Combo-AP-Steiner-(David) Murrow Rule.
Citizens and journalists who sought public records have been socked with huge bills. At one point, the Palin administration presented the Associated Press with a bill of $45 million for copies of official state e-mails sent to Palin’s husband, to the McCain campaign, and to federal agencies.
That practice predated Palin’s ascension to the national stage.
In December 2007, when University of Alaska marine scientist Rick Steiner sought reports detailing state biologists’ assessments about then-impending Endangered Species Act protections for polar bears, he received a $468,784 bill from the state. After a few months of haggling, Dr. Steiner turned to the Bush administration. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, which had its own copies of state biologists’ reports, readily complied.
“They didn’t charge me a dime,” Steiner says.
And here's how Palin's communications director, David Murrow comes in. First of all, as he has defended, you can count any expense twice. And secondly, you can bill up to $12,000.00 per hour for unexplained expenses. And you can bill up to half a billion, without any explanation, for things, others don't charge you for.
Using the AP-Steiner-Murrow rule, let's take up SharpDressedMan's itemization:
- Changes in letter heads, stationary, web site headings, computer network operations, and all other documents containing the governor's name, address, etc. - $45 million
- Changes of portraits, signs, logos (except Arctic Cat), etc. - $45 million
- Personnel changes, confirmations, background checks, and moving expenses. - $350 million
- Placing new personnel in the Governor's line of succession. - $5 million
- The upcoming swearing-in or quasi-coronation in Fairbanks. - $2.5 million.
So, by using the AP-Steiner-Murrow formula, just these few items in the Palin transition, added together, cost us $447.5 million dollars. I can't wait for Channel 2 KTUU News' Jason Moore and Lori Tipton to do as thorough of a story on this as they did on the $1.9 million dollar spread sheets.