Friday, September 05, 2008

Not Going Away

It seemed obvious to me at the time that nothing about Palin's speech would diminish the unflattering stories and scandals that continue to cling to her, and that has proven true. Far from going away, the story about her possibly retaliatory firing of an Alaskan public safety official only continues to grow. ABC reports that Alaska Senator Hollis French is moving up the date for the release of their investigation into Monegan's firing to three weeks earlier than the original date of October 31st. In addition, the Alaska Public Safety Employees Associaton, the state police union, has filed an ethics complaint with the state Attorney General alleging that aides to Palin improperly obtained her former brother-in-law Wooten's personnel records and used information from them to pressure Monegan to fire Wooten:

"It's apparent to us that the governor or someone on her staff had direct access to his personnel file, as well as his workers' comp file, and those are protected," said John Cyr, executive director of the Alaska Public Safety Employees Association.

In the February 29 call by Frank Bailey, Palin's boards and commissions director, to state police Lt. Rodney Dial, Bailey complained there had been "absolutely no action for a year on this issue." During the call, he said there was some "really funny business" about a worker's compensation claim Wooten had filed and suggested he lied about a health condition on his state police job application.

"That's extraordinary for them to reference that," Cyr said. Police application files contain results of background checks and reference letters, "and those are sealed. Even Trooper Wooten doesn't have access to those."

And during the February conversation, Dial questioned how Bailey had obtained information that was "extremely confidential."

"I'm trying to find out how it was determined by anybody that he had indicated something on his application that later was found to be not true," he said.

Bailey replied, "I'm a little bit reluctant to say." But he added, "Over in admin is where, you know, we hold workers' comp right in there."

That would appear to be an admission that they obtained information they probably shouldn't have access to, and the McCain campaign is admitting as much as well, arguing instead that Wooten's records were "in the public domain" because he authorized their release in his divorce proceedings, though I'm sure what Wooten had in mind was that the court or his now ex-wife's attorney might have access to those, and not so much that Palin or her aides would use them in an attempt to get him fired. Her aid Baiely, as well as another state official, are denying that they ever improperly accessed  the records and are now mum on how they might've gotten a hold of such information, though Bailey claims he obtained in from conversations with Palin's husband Todd Palin. That's hardly less incriminating though, as it makes it more likely that the information was obtained somehow in the divorce proceedings and used improperly, if not illegally. Palin is now stonewalling on the investigation, though it seems increasingly unlikely that stonewalling alone will somehow diminish the negative and highly distracting effect this is having on her VP candidacy and the McCain campaign in general.

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