Troopergate endgame

TROOPERGATE ENDGAME…. In all sincerity, I saw this headline this morning, “Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe,” and assumed it was satire. Those under investigation don’t get to clear themselves. I have this image in my mind of Nixon, in July 1974, issuing a statement: “I’ve looked into this whole Watergate thing, and I’ve decided I’ve done nothing wrong. Time to move on.”

And yet, here we are. With the final report of the independent investigation into Sarah Palin’s abuse-of-power scandal due today, Palin decided to release her own Troopergate report that exonerates herself from any wrongdoing. The word “chutzpah” comes to mind.

As for what we may learn later today, the New York Times has a detailed front-page report today on just how far Palin, her husband, and her aides went to pressure Alaska’s former public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who came to realize the Palin administration was “obsessed” with the governor’s ex-brother-in-law.

Ms. Palin has denied that anyone told Mr. Monegan to dismiss Trooper Wooten, or that the commissioner’s ouster had anything to do with him. But an examination of the case, based on interviews with Mr. Monegan and several top aides, indicates that, to a far greater degree than was previously known, the governor, her husband and her administration pressed the commissioner and his staff to get Trooper Wooten off the force, though without directly ordering it.

In all, the commissioner and his aides were contacted about Trooper Wooten three dozen times over 19 months by the governor, her husband and seven administration officials, interviews and documents show.

About a month ago, Josh Marshall had a good item on Palin’s scandal, and concluded, “We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It’s called an abuse of power…. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened. ”

As additional evidence has become available, those four points appear increasingly accurate.

We’ll know more after the legislature’s report is released, but I’m still unclear as to why Troopergate isn’t getting more play. We have a largely-unknown Republican VP nominee in the midst of a fairly serious ethics controversy. The evidence suggests she abused her power and lied about it. The evidence also suggests she broke her word about cooperating with an independent probe, and has taken multiple steps to obstruct the investigation. Usually, for the national media, this would be like waving red meat in front of a hungry dog.

Isn’t this a bit more important than Obama serving on a Republican-created board with some ’60’s-era radical?