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article image'Troopergate' Part 1: Sarah Palin and Mike Wooten

By Samantha A. Torrence     Sep 3, 2008 in Politics
The honeymoon is soon to be over and Sarah Palin will have to start answering questions about her past. One assertion floating around is an alleged abuse of power in the removal of a government official.
This is the first article in a two part news story.
Since Nixon's Watergate scandal every cover up, smear, and skeleton in the closet of a politician has been dubbed with gate as a suffix. In true tiresome media fashion Sarah Palin has a -gate of her own, "Troopergate."
The Democrats now have a Republican Vice President target on which to aim scrutiny. Sarah Palin's removal of Public Safety Commisioner, Walter Monegan, has been deemed an abuse of power by some. Indeed the action raised eyebrows and prompted an investigation.
Hold on to your seats as this two part article will be a lengthy review of the happenings in "Troopergate," that the mainstream media will most likely boil down to soundbites.
The whole debacle started back in 2005 when Sarah Palin's brother-in-law was involved in a domestic dispute with her sister. He was under investigation as of April 2005 with a two year old allegation of misconduct involving a family member. During the investigation Sarah Palin was interviewed about the verbal abuse of her sister as well as a threat made on her father's life.
Mike Wooten an Alaska State Trooper was described as being in a rage over a divorce he initiated with Molly (McCann) Wooten, Sarah's sister. The divorce was messy with a hugely contested custody dispute. Molly had called Sarah and told her she was afraid and said she would leave an open phone connection so Sarah could listen in on the fight incase it became physical. During the interview (troopers notes on interview) she relayed information about threats Mike made such as:
"If your dad helps you through this divorce he's gonna, he's gonna eat an F'n lead bullet."
"I'm gonna take your sister down. I'm gonna ruin your family. know people in all the right places, in high places. I know judges. I know attorneys. I have relationships with these guys. You guys are all going down."
The fight did not become physical and because of that no police officers were called in to investigate the domestic violence dispute. Sarah Palin said she also knew Mike's job would be on the line if she reported him. The death threat has not been substantiated by a neutral party and therefore has not been further investigated.
Another set of interviews conducted later in 2005 with both Todd and Sarah Palin showed more abuses of power, this time while he was at a bar with his "girlfriend." While at the bar and off duty Mike flashed his badge and demanded that another patron be removed. There were also instances of two different DUI's one for Mike and one for his "girlfriend" which were never charged.
Then on August 10, 2005 Sarah sent an e-mail to Col. Julia Grimes about the integrity of the Alaska State Troopers and how Mike Wooten poorly represented the office.
The investigation into Mike Wooten wrapped up in March of 2006. The investigation lead to a 10 day suspension. This suspension was not the first disciplinary action taken against Officer Wooten.
The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable, and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession,” Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers, wrote in March 1, 2006, letter suspending Wooten for 10 days. After the union protested it, the suspension was reduced to five days.
She warned that if he messed up again, he’d be fired.
The investigation into Mike Wooten began about two months before Sarah Palin launched her campaign for Governor.
More about Sarah palin, Troopergate, Scandal
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