September 16, 2008

Monegan went off the reservation?

John McCain campaign tries to quell 'Troopergate'The presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain is trying to put to rest the ethical controversy that's come to be known as "Troopergate," releasing e-mails supporting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's contention that she dismissed her public safety commissioner over budget disagreements, not because he wouldn't fire her ex-brother-in-law.

And, the campaign says, Palin is unlikely to speak with an investigator hired by the state legislature to look into the matter.

The controversy erupted in the weeks following the firing, as it emerged that Palin, her husband, Todd, and several high-level staffers had contacted Monegan about state trooper Mike Wooten, who had gone through a nasty divorce from Palin's sister before she became governor. While Monegan says no one from the administration ever told him directly to fire Wooten, he says they didn't have to: There was nothing subtle about the repeated contacts.

In July, the four Democrats and eight Republicans on Alaska's Legislative Council voted unanimously to investigate the circumstances of Monegan's dismissal. Although Monegan was an at-will employee who could be fired for almost any reason, lawmakers wanted to see whether Palin tried to use her office to settle a personal score with Wooten.
And:Thomas Van Flein, a lawyer for the governor's office, cited the newly released e-mails Monday in asking the Personnel Board to find no probable cause for an ethics investigation.

In an interview Monday night, Monegan said Palin never raised concerns about his management. In fact, at an event in May, she singled him out and praised his efforts to reduce violence against native women.

"In my time as a commissioner, the governor has never talked to me about complaints about my efforts," Monegan said.

The e-mails made clear that some Palin staffers believed Monegan and the Department of Public Safety worked outside normal channels. One was written in May by Randy Ruaro, then a special assistant to Palin, to the governor's budget director, and concerned efforts to pay for and build a crime lab.

"I FEEL YOUR PAIN! DPS is constantly going off the reservation," he wrote.
Trooper-Gate:  Palin's Shifting StoriesIn this interview from July, Palin said she fired Monegan because she was dissatisfied with his performance on filling vacant trooper positions and on bootlegging and alcohol abuse issues.

Around the same time, she told The New Yorker, for a story published this week, that she hadn't actually fired Monegan, but rather had wanted to reassign him to combat alcohol abuse, and that he quit instead.

But the new line from the Palin camp is that Monegan was fired for his insubordination on budget issues, culminating in his effort to win federal money for the initiative to combat sexual assaults--an explanation that neither Palin nor anyone around her had raised until now, two months after the firing.
Comment:  Palin's third explanation (so far) for Monegan's departure is that he was insubordinate. In the words of her assistant, he went "off the reservation."

So a Native official left the "reservation" where he was supposed to stay, all docile and obedient? Nice bit of stereotyping there.

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