Scandal: Palin ‘Troopergate’
Updated Oct. 16
Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and John McCain's vice presidential running mate, has been embroiled in a controversy -- dubbed ‘Troopergate' -- over the ouster of Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan.
Gov. Palin, her family and aides allegedly pressured Monegan to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, who went through a rancorous divorce and child-custody battle with Palin's younger sister in 2005. Monegan refused and was abruptly fired on July 11.
Six days later, Andrew Halco, a former state representative who lost to Palin in the gubernatorial election, was the first to allege that Monegan was fired in retaliation for refusing to fire Wooten. That same day, Palin called those allegations "outrageous."
The next day, Monegan told the press that he was indeed pressured by the Palin administration to fire Wooten, but he did not go so far as to say that it was the reason why he was fired. Monegan has since said that both Palin and her husband personally pushed the Wooten issue with him.
Palin initially denied that she or anyone on her staff pressured Monegan about Wooten, but she was forced to change her story after evidence emerged from an investigation by the attorney general that she requested in early August.
On August 13, she held a press conference announcing that the investigation had uncovered a tape (MP3) of one of her aides pressuring a state trooper on Wooten. On the tape, a Palin aide asked the trooper, "Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, 'Why on earth hasn't this, why is this guy still representing the department?'" Palin also admitted that members of her staff had contacted public safety officials two dozen times about the issue, but she maintains that many of these inquiries were entirely appropriate and denied all involvement. She said Monegan was fired because he wasn't doing enough to fill state trooper vacancies and control alcohol abuse. She later said that Monegan was insubordinate.
A bipartisan panel in Alaska's legislature voted to hire an independent investigator, Steve Branchflower, to probe the matter on July 28. He faced an onslaught of opposition from the McCain and Palin camps but finally released his report (PDF) on October 10. It concluded that Palin was within her rights to fire Monegan but had indeed abused her power by pressuring him on Wooten.
The Alaska Personnel Board is also investigating Troopergate, and has even widened its scope to include other ethics complaints against Palin. Palin had asked the Personnel Board to investigate the matter in September and refused to cooperate with Branchflower's probe, which her lawyers said had become politicized.
- Check out the Anchorage Daily News' coverage of the scandal for the latest updates and most thorough background stories.
- TPMmuckraker has compiled an in-depth overview of the scandal and positioned itself as an around-the-clock clearinghouse on the story.
- The Washington Post also has a good overview of Troopergate and the interview with Monegan.
Troopergate: Todd Palin Found in Contempt Politico, 2/9
This Year in Scandals: (Local) Pols Behaving Badly ProPublica, 12/29
Alaska Issues New ‘Troopergate’ Report, Exonerating Palin Anchorage Daily News, 11/3
Board’s Troopergate Probe Casts Wider Net Anchorage Daily News, 10/14
Probe: Palin Abused Power in Case of Trooper Washington Post, 10/14
Investigator Discounted Palins’ Fears as Motivation to Seek Removal of Trooper New York Times, 10/14
Palin’s Lawyers: Report is a ‘Smear’ Effort Los Angeles Times, 10/14
Todd Palin Was a Fixture at Governor’s Office Los Angeles Times, 10/14
Release of Troopergate Report Hangs On GOP Cooperation Talking Points Memo, 10/10
McCain Campaign Works to Discredit Coming ‘Troopergate’ Report ProPublica, 10/10
Palin Repeatedly Pressed Case Against Trooper The New York Times, 10/9
Despite Palin Resistance, ‘Troopergate’ Report to Come Friday Anchorage Daily News, 10/8
Todd Palin Will Take Written Questions on ‘Troopergate’ Anchorage Daily News, 10/7
Alaska Supreme Court to Hear Troopergate Appeal Anchorage Daily News, 10/4
Palin’s AG Yields in Troopergate; State Workers to Testify Anchorage Daily News, 10/6
This Week in Scandals ProPublica, 10/3
Troopergate Probe Challengers Head to Court ABC News, 9/30
Subpoenaed Palin Aides Could Be Found in Contempt Anchorage Daily News, 9/29
Alaska AG files suit to quash ‘Troopergate’ subpoenas Anchorage Daily News, 9/26
Alaska Lawmakers: Troopergate Suit ‘Political, Not Legal’ ABC News, 9/25
Alaska Legislators Lock Horns over Palin Inquiry Anchorage Daily News, 9/25
State Trooper’s Workers’ Comp Lawyer Saw No Intervention From Palin Anchorage Daily News, 9/25
Top Alaska GOPer Decries McCain Camp’s Interference in Troopergate Probe Mother Jones, 9/23
Sources: Palin to Help Investigation She Requested ABC News, 9/23
Subpoenaed Witnesses Fail to Show for Troopergate Hearing Anchorage Daily News, 9/22
Todd Palin’s Involvement in Gov’t Decisions Under Scrutiny Washington Post, 9/22
New Doubts Over Palin’s Troopergate Claims ABC News, 9/22
Alaskans Angered That Palin Is Off Limits Los Angeles Times, 9/22
Todd Palin Refuses to Testify in Troopergate Probe Anchorage Daily News, 9/19
Troopergate: Alaska State Sen. Accuses AG of Reneging on Deal Anchorage Daily News, 9/18
Palin’s Office Rebuffs Investigators, Press ProPublica, 9/17
Alaska GOP Lawmakers Sue to Halt Troopergate Probe New York Times, 9/17
Fired Official: Palin Team Implied Trooper Should Go Wall Street Journal ($), 9/17
Troopergate: Palin’s Shifting Stories TPMmuckraker, 9/17
Palin’s Two E-Mail Accounts Questioned Anchorage Daily News, 9/16
Opinion: Palin Lost Exec. Privilege When E-Mails Went to Husband Anchorage Daily News, 9/16
Some Troopergate Witnesses Agree to Testify Wall Street Journal ($), 9/16
Palin: Fired Trooper Was Insubordinate Anchorage Daily News, 9/16
AK Judiciary Committee Votes to Issue Subpoenas in Troopergate TPMmuckraker, 9/12
Troopergate FAQs Answered Time, 9/12
Alaska Legislature, Palin Face Showdown Over Troopergate Anchorage Daily News, 9/12
Sarah Palin’s Wasilla E-Mails: Did She Violate State Law? Mother Jones, 9/12
Palin May Move to Block Subpoenas in Trooper Case Bloomberg News, 9/11
Palin Praised Commissioner Before Firing Him ABC News, 9/11
Troopergate: Everything You Need to Know TPMmuckraker, 9/11
Palin’s Lawyer Investigates Troopergate Investigator TPMmuckraker, 9/11
Ethics Adviser Warned Palin About Trooper Issue Wall Street Journal ($), 9/11
‘Troopergate’ Update ProPublica, 9/10
Judge Warned Palin to Stop ‘Disparaging’ Trooper Newsweek, 9/10
Watchdog Files Appeal to See Palin’s Secret E-Mails Mother Jones, 9/10
Alaska Senator to Retain Oversight of Palin Probe Anchorage Daily News, 9/9
McCain Ally Moves to Curb Probe of Palin Newsweek, 9/8
Sarah Palin’s Secret E-Mails Mother Jones, 9/8
Palin’s Ex-Brother-in-Law Denies Death Threat Washington Post, 9/8
Trooper’s Union Files Ethics Complaint Against Palin Anchorage Daily News, 9/5
Ex-Alaska AG: Palin’s Legal Strategy is Bogus TPMmuckraker, 9/4
‘Troopergate’: E-mails Emerge, Palin Slow-Rolls Investigation ProPublica, 9/4
Palin E-Mails Show Intense Interest in Trooper’s Penalty Washington Post, 9/4
Fired Alaskan Official: Palin Hasn’t Been Truthful ABC News, 9/4
Palin Aide Bails on Talking to Legislature Anchorage Daily News, 9/4
Palin’s Record Tarnishes ‘Reformer’ Image TPMmuckraker, 9/4
McCain Aides: Team Interviewed Palin Late in the Process Washington Post, 9/3
Palin Files Ethics Complaint Against Self Anchorage Daily News, 9/3
Palin Lawyer, Legislator Tangle over ‘Troopergate’ Probe Anchorage Daily News, 9/3
Scandal Watch Update: Palin, Kilpatrick Jump In ProPublica, 9/2
In Depth: Palin’s Record as Mayor Time, 9/2
Palin ‘Troopergate’ Investigation Moves Forward ProPublica, 9/2
‘Troopergate’ Inquiry Hangs over Campaign Anchorage Daily News, 9/2
In Depth: Palin’s Family Wanted Trooper Fired Washington Post, 9/2
Questions Surround Palin’s Background Check Anchorage Daily News, 9/2
McCain Camp Asks Palin Friends to Shun Reporters Wall Street Journal ($), 9/2
Palin Draws Both Praise and Derision in Alaska Anchorage Daily News, 9/2
Palin’s Replacement for Fired Police Chief Faced Sexual Harassment Claims Anchorage Daily News,
GOP VP Pick Palin Rose With Reformer Brand ProPublica, 8/29
Alaska Gov: Staffer Pressed for Trooper’s Firing TPMmuckraker, 8/14
AK Legislature to Probe Gov’s Firing of State’s Top Cop Anchorage Daily News, 7/29