Waiting for Troopergate report

We’re hoping, anyway, that it’ll be release today. The Alaska Legislative Council is apparently still in its meeting, which began at 9:00 AM. Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News is at the legislative offices in downtown Anchorage and posting occasional updates at the ADN’s Alaska politics blog. The latest:

12 noon: Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau and the Legislative Council chairman, stepped out for a bathroom break and was asked how it was going inside. “I’m not going to characterize it,” he said. “I’m tempted to, but I won’t.” None of the others coming and going from the room have had anything to say.

Then Jeff Turner, an aide to the Senate majority, came out and said it would be at least another hour until any official word emerges from within.

A bigger story on the hearing was posted by the ADN at 11:00 AM:

Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, chairman of the Legislative Council, gave no indication how long the secret session might last or when Branchflower’s report might be made public.

But two lawmakers who’ve stepped out of the meeting briefly say it could be hours.

Senate President Lyda Green, a Wasilla Republican, and Rep. Peggy Wilson of Wrangell said the session is moving slowly.

How slow? Wilson was asked.

“Slooowwww,” she said.

Each legislator, meeting at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage, had two big binders on the table in front of him or her – one green and a larger red one. They contain some 1,000 pages in all.

Before the meeting was closed to the public, Wilson said she hadn’t had time to read the full report after picking up a copy Thursday night and she said she might be uncomfortable discussing it until she had.

“I spent hours on it yesterday and didn’t have time to read it all,” she said.

Elton agreed with Wilson, telling her he could have spent four days on the report himself. But Elton added that he was able in just a few hours to get the gist of Branchflower’s findings and recommendations.

Tony Hopfinger at Alaska Dispatch posted on the scene in downtown Anchorage:

The council is composed of 14 legislators, 10 Republicans and four Democrats. Three Republican legislators—Senator Gary Wilkins and representatives John Harris and Ralph Samuels—did not show up today. Senator John Cowdery, who has been indicted on corruption charges, was on the phone at a meeting before the council went in closed session.

Outside the Legislative offices on Fourth Avenue, as many as 75 pro-Palin supporters were chanting early today “Go Sarah, go.” Some of them are holding balloons in the shape of kangaroos, implying that the council is nothing but a kangaroo court.

Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press also has a story about the meeting.

Meanwhile, Andrew Halcro, who was first to expose the Palinocracy’s pressure on Walt Monegan to (illegally) fire Mike Wooten, admits (with a great deal of irony) to being “The blogger on the grassy knoll:”

am to blame for the entire Troopergate scandal and the ensuing investigation into if Governor Sarah Palin abused the power of her office by firing former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he wouldn’t fire her ex brother in law, State Trooper Mike Wooten.

Me, me, me. The blog stops with me.

I am responsible for Governor Palin’s husband Todd’s weird obsession with his former brother in law State Trooper Mike Wooten, where he admitted in a deposition this week that he has spent years trying to get Wooten fired.

I am responsible for the “over two dozen phone calls” Governor Palin admitted her staff made to the Department of Public Safety to inquire about the status of her former brother in law.

I am responsible for the recorded phone call where Palin’s right hand man Frank Bailey is pressuring another State Trooper that Wooten needs to be fired, even though he hadn’t been able to convince anyone else in authority.

“Mike Tibbles (Palin’s former Chief of Staff) disagrees with me, Audie Holloway(a State Trooper Lt. Col.) probably disagrees with me and Walt does (Commissioner Walt Monegan)” Bailey said in the recorded phone call released by Governor Palin on August 13.

I totally put him up to it even though he said he got the confidential information he shared in the call from Todd Palin.

Also in that same phone call Bailey said, “She (Palin) really likes Walt a lot, but on this issue she feels like it’s, she doesn’t know why there’s absolutely no action for a year … it’s very troubling to her and the family. I can definitely relay that.”

So according to Bailey, the governor “really” liked Monegan’s performance, but just not his performance in responding to her wishes to see Wooten out of a job. This was on February 29, 2008…and then four months later Monegan is fired?

I admit, this is all my handy work.

Of course, not really. Because of course really the McCain/Palin report, released last night (though darned if I can find a copy) that purports to find Sarah Palin innocent of any wrongdoing, is a big pile of doggie doodoo. As Halcro goes on to explain.

The national press is paying attention. A story in today’s New York Times about Troopergate by Serge F. Kovaleski reports:

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.

Not only that, but the question even came up with Chuck Kopp, who briefly replaced Monegan as DPS commissioner before he was forced to resign due to a past sexual harassment charge:

Nor did that interest end with Mr. Monegan, the examination shows. His successor, Chuck Kopp, recalled that in an exploratory phone call and then a job interview, Ms. Palin’s aides mentioned the governor’s concerns about Trooper Wooten. None of the 280 other troopers were discussed, Mr. Kopp said.

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