I don't subscribe to some of the rumors and myths surrounding the Palin family. Although I've watched Sarah Palin since she was on the Wasilla Planning Commission, it was usually from afar, as we never lived in the city limits. But all along, we've had close friends who watched Sarah and her family very closely.
One of my best friends was Palin's first mentor, Wasilla mayor John Stein. We watched as she turned on him and on his wife.
I was close to Palin's second mentor, ex- Alaska Representative, Vic Kohring, when she climbed aboard his libertarian fantasy machine, that, for Kohring, ended in Federal prison.
I kept my own interests in her political activities, though, mostly to keeping track of her whenever her role in helping creationists get positions in local politics - particularly the Mat-Su District School board - came into play. And when Palin was chosen to be Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential race running mate, I initially kept my involvement in Sarah Palin and her family's local past to my knowledge on that set of issues. Partially, it was a promise I made to my wife and kids, as we've always felt there was more than enough on Sarah and the family to bring her political future to an end, should it be brought out, without my having to jump in there.
I still feel that way. But thinking about the way Sherry Johnston's bust came down, in the ambience of the Palin's relationship with that family, begs some scrutiny.
Reading through the public reporting on information provided so far by the Alaska State Troopers on Ms. Johnston's surveillance, reminded me of these excerpts from the Branchflower Report:
During the winter of 2007, Trooper Wooten sustained an injury in the course of his employment. He had submitted a workers' compensation claim with the Department of Public Safety, and was on light duty while recovering from his injuries.
Mr. Monegan testified that Todd Palin told him that he [Palin] had observed Mr. Wooten riding a snowmachine 100 miles off the road. Palin told Monegan he had taken pictures of Wooten and wanted to give them to Troopers to investigate because Palin believed Wooten may have been committing workers' compensation fraud.
Commissioner Monegan caused the matter to be investigated. It was determined that at the time of the snow machine incident, trooper Wooten had discussed the planned trip beforehand with his doctor who had given Wooten his permission to make the trip. [Branchflower Report - p. 29. Emphasis added by PA]
Todd Palin's call to AST Colonel Audie Hollowav during the fall of 2007 about MikeWooten's dropping off his children at school in a patrol car:
Todd Palin called Colonel Audie Holloway during the Fall of 2007 to say that Trooper Wooten was seen dropping off one of his children at school at 8:01. The complaint was investigated and it was determined that Wooten had obtained his supervisor's permission to do so.
Todd Palin's call to Colonel Holloway in October 2007:
Todd Palin called Colonel Holloway in October 2007 following a news event about a lawsuit involving another trooper. He wanted to know what AST was doing about the lawsuit. According to an email Holloway sent to Commissioner Monegan [who was out of state at the time], Holloway said that Mr. Palin claimed Trooper Wooten was a friend of the other trooper.
There is more stuff like this in the Branchflower Report. Not just on Todd's obsession with Wooten, but also on Sarah's. But these three examples of the mania should suffice, to sketch background for my question:
Why haven't we found evidence that the Palins were similarly interested in keeping close track of Track and Bristol over the past three or four years? I've been asking around for even anecdotal information on either of the adult Palins checking on the Johnston family's activities involving their daughter, and have only come up with blanks.
Why do the Republicans in the Alaska Legislature feel that such a fuckup of a weird, obsessive guy as Todd Palin should be able to run amok in government spaces, rifling through government files? As Walt Monegan put it to Branchflower:
[Commissioner Monegan arrived at the Governor's office at the appointed time and was directed into Governor Palin's office. Governor Palin was not present. Mr. Palin was sitting at a large conference table and invited Mr. Monegan to sit. Both men were wearing business attire. Mr. Monegan testified:
MR. MONEGAN: What I recollect was that Todd was sitting there.He had three stacks of paper in an array in front of him. The largest one was probably a quarter inch thick, and that was in the center. To his right, I believe what I recall was a stack of paper that looked like photos or copied photos on to typing paper, if you will. And on his left, I believe he had a smaller stack, as well, that had three or four pages in it. And it was — it had the letterhead and logo of the Department of Public Safety.
MR. BRANCHFLOWER: Okay. So the one stack that had the Department of Public Safety logo on it, could you tell what kind of documents they were?
MR. MONEGAN: That one appeared to be correspondence. It was —it looked like a letter that was sent, and presumably from the Alaska State Troopers. And it was text written ~ I think the date was somewhere in '05 or '06, I believe. I don't remember looking at the date. But it was older; I know that.
Why the hell does anyone let this vindictive asshole anywhere near Alaska Government documents, files, records, or for that matter, offices during working hours? Apparently there isn't a law against it, but after re-reading parts of the Branchflower report, there should be.
I've mentioned to several other officers of the Alaska Democrats, and to a couple of our legislators, that there should be legislation to keep Mr. Palin out of the peoples' business 24-7. Rep. Mike Doogan, in a weird e-mail reply to a query from a constituent, posted at The Mudflats, wrote to the concerned writer that:
I intend to move forward with legislation to prevent a re-occurrence of some of the problematic behavior that has arisen from the mess commonly called Troopergate. That legislation will define more closely what is a public document and seek to prevent public officials from shielding their communications by using private email accounts, and the state from stifling public access by charging an arm and a leg.
This is a decent start, but we also need to keep Alaska's biggest fuckup dad out of our government spaces.