There is nothing easy about politics – not state politics and certainly not presidential politics. Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was cited in a state investigators report today for abuse of power and a violation of state ethics law. Palin is accused of trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police.
Now, this investigation was already on track before John McCain made his surprise announcement that Sarah Palin was his choice as running mate. Palin certainly brings spice to the election as McCain (clearly a powerful and smart man) lacks in the spice department. But what McCain does not need at the crucial time in the election is to have any part of his campaign (which appears to be dying) fail.
“Gov. Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda,” the report states.
Now, let’s face it…Alaska is a small state when it comes to politics and perhaps without national media attention Palin could get by with attempting to exert undue pressure to influence who is hired or fired as the case may be. But, Sarah, this is the big league and every move you make will, no doubt, be under heavy scrutiny.
According to a CNN report:
Palin and her husband, Todd, have consistently denied wrongdoing, describing Wooten as a “rogue trooper” who had threatened their family — allegations Branchflower discounted.
“I conclude that such claims of fear were not bona fide and were offered to provide cover for the Palins’ real motivation: to get Trooper Wooten fired for personal family reasons,” Branchflower wrote.
The Branchflower report states Todd Palin used his wife’s office and its resources to press for Wooten’s removal, and the governor “failed to act” to stop it. But because Todd Palin is not a state employee, the report makes no finding regarding his conduct.
The bipartisan Legislative Council, which commissioned the investigation after Monegan was fired, unanimously adopted the 263-page public report after a marathon executive session Friday. About 1,000 more pages of documents compiled during the inquiry will remain confidential, the council’s chairman, state Sen. Kim Elton, said.
Here’s the question – did, in fact, Sarah Palin violate state ethics law. While she may have been vindicated of the allegation of an improper filing, that does not mean that she walks away scott free. Of course, the McCain camp says that this is a democratic ploy in a hotly contested election. Others, however, might say that the report is accurate – ethics laws were violated.
The full report can be found here.
With all that is taking place in America right now, one thing we do not need is a newly elected official being tarnished when entering office. As an ethics speaker, I am reminded daily of how easy it is to make the wrong choice in the heat of the moment – only to find that the consequences are far worse than you could every have imagined.
What do you think – Ethics Violation – or not? Your Comments are welcome!