Report: Palin abused her power

The investigator looking into Sarah Palin's firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner comes up with one conclusion that will make the McCain camp cringe, but another that will help them.

By Alex Koppelman
Published October 11, 2008 1:00AM (EDT)

Steven Branchflower, the prosecutor who led the investigation into Sarah Palin's firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, concludes in his final report that she abused her power. However, another of Branchflower's findings makes the report something less than a complete disaster for Palin.

The investigation stemmed from Palin's firing of Walt Monegan, allegedly at least in part because he refused to fire Michael Wooten, a state trooper who also happens to be Palin's former brother-in-law.

Branchflower includes a list of findings in the report. The first reads:

Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides

"The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

The second reads:

I find that, although Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin's firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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