Yesterday, the McCain-Palin campaign engaged in what was a rather strange move; the Alaskan Governor essentially exonerated herself of wrongdoing in what has become widely known as the “Troopergate” scandal.

The scandal involved the firing of an Alaska state employee by the governor’s office.  While Mrs. Palin and surrogates including her husband offered multiple justifications for the termination of employment, including some that were mutually exclusive, the most consistent story was that the official, Walter Monegan, was fired due to his refusal to buckle under political pressure to in turn fire a state trooper and former brother in law of the Governer.

After multiple attempts to block the investigation and delay the findings of the report detailing whether or not the governor had in fact abused her office, that report has now just been released.

You can read the entire pdf right here (I’m going to have to wait until I get home this evening as my office computer is currently having a glitch with Adobe acrobat).  But the one bit of information sure to rock the political world, and most definitely have some sort of impact on an already heated and contentious presidential battle is that the probe has found that Sarah Palin “unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state’s public safety commissioner.”

As of the time of this writing, I do not know what, if any, punitive actions will be taken.  Nor do I know what the political ramifications of this report will be.  But there are two aspects to this alone that I think puts the McCain-Palin ticket in serious trouble.

The first is that this is not likely to put a lot of voters at ease in regards to how Sarah Palin will conduct herself as a potential Vice President.  Dick Cheney, a man credited with expanding the powers of the Vice Presidential office does not find a great deal of trust among the American people for just that reason.  In fact, a recent poll showed that disapproval of Cheney is in the seventy percent range.  Now that Palin has been found to abuse her office, there is likely to be a Cheney backlash against the Alaska governor which is likely to hurt given that her unfavorables are already skyrocketing.

The second major thing I think that will hurt the McCain-Palin ticket is that McCain has been launching a negative guilt by association campaign for the past week now.  Some polls are already showing that McCain is suffering some backlash for that, but now that his running mate has actually been implicated in wrong doing herself, not guilt by association, I think it’s far from unreasonable to believe that that backlash will only increase.

Still, there are a great deal of unknowns in this situation as the story is still breaking.

UPDATE: Mudflat’s got more detail.

UPDATE II: Justin Gardner points out, the vote to release the report was 12-0.  That effectively silences any and all attempts to paint this as a partisan witch hunt.  This was a bipartisan finding.

UPDATE III: Dr. Chusid nails it:

This report provides fair warning that the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party has abused her power and is unfit to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. John McCain and the Republican Party, if they have any honor and any concern about restraining the power of government, have no choice but to remove Sarah Palin from the ticket. Should they fail to do so they will be demonstrating that the abuses of power under George Bush and Dick Cheney are not an aberration from Republican views but that abuse of power is sanctioned by the party. Should this be the case, they are unfit to govern. This will also be a good litmus test of conservative writers and bloggers as we see which support principle and which support party over principle.

UPDATE IV: This update is a clarification.  As I get more information the details become clear.  The actual firing of Walter Monegan was actually legal–the probe found no wrong doing in its execution.  Palin still, however, broke the law, a law that is specifically worded, “betraying the public’s trust.”

This is important to pay attention to because the McCain campaign’s most feasible defense will be to cling to the portion of the report that says the firing was legal.  Still, Palin did break the law.


  1. J.S.Bridges says:

    1) The “Troopergate” report is one (clearly biased) investigator’s opinion – the members of the investigative commission merely voted to release the report, without expressing agreement or approval at this point – in fact, it appears (from preliminary statements) that there is substantial controversy over the validity of the report as released. At least one member of the Alaska Legislature has publicly expressed serious doubt concerning the veracity of the report as released – it seems likely that there will be more to come.

    2) The first two “findings” in the released report are directly contradictory, and it appears that the investigator has stretched his own interpretation of the statute cited in the first “finding” extensively beyond anything logical or even reasonable, purely in order to try to produce a conclusion that is unfavorable to Governor Palin. The second “finding” – that the Governor acted properly and well within her authority in reassigning (NOT “firing”, as the investigator alludes) Monegan – is clearly the substantially more important matter, and (despite the investigator’s expressed OPINION concerning motive, which is NOT supported by fact, and which is contradicted by Monegan’s own prior statement) is also clearly in the Governor’s favor.

    3) This report, as bloated and wordy as it is (all 263 pages’ worth), is NOT the whole report – there is much more which has not yet been seen – nor has it been reviewed, debated, agreed with, nor in any way, shape or form been accepted by any part of the Alaska Legislature; nor, in fact, has it even been approved of by the Legislative Council who voted to release it. It is entirely the work of one partisan and clearly-biased individual, motivated and paid for by one Alaskan Senator who is also clearly an advocate for Barack Obama, and an enemy of Sarah Palin. It cannot, therefore, be considered to be anything more than an attempt to besmirch Governor Palin as a purely political ploy by one or more advocates for Obama/Biden. The only useful part is the second half of the second “finding” – the rest is slanted, partisan dreck.

    Sorry to burst your little bubble – but them’s the facts.

    For reference, check out Beldar’s Friday post in Hugh Hewitt’s column at


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