An independent panel (emphasis this time on “independent”) has exonerated Sarah Palin of wrongdoing in the dust-up formerly known as “Troopergate.” The panel was convened by the nonpartisan state Personnel Board with an independent investigator, instead of by one of Gov. Palin’s most vocal opponents in the Alaska legislature with an investigator bought and paid for by him. (More here and here.)
Of course the first “investigation,” spearheaded by State Sen. Hollis French, did the damage it was designed to do. Exoneration now comes too late for the damage to be undone. But then again, that was the point of French’s crusade to begin with…it was never to punish wrongdoing, just to punish opposition (which, in French’s fevered mind, amounts to a distinction without a difference).
How else to explain why French’s entire set of findings rested on the perceived violation of an unenforceable non-statute (a violation which the more recent investigation found wasn’t worth the air Sen. French wasted on it)? How else to explain why no charges were filed? How else to explain why the French panel’s findings were never adopted by the Alaska Legislature, or any committee or subcommittee thereof?
There is no other explanation. Sarah Palin did her job, and abused no aspect of the office. Sen. French tried to dance around it, and fortunately nobody applauded, but then he wasn’t going for the applause, was he?
Newly convicted Sen. Ted Stevens is digging in his heels, and this blogger sees no sign of any intent to resign, before or after the election. The man honestly thinks he won’t spend day one in jail; I don’t think he’s capable of envisioning a Senate without him.
National Republicans are abandoning him, the state party is clinging to him, his fellow senators (of both parties) are talking openly about expelling him, and local political experts are still saying he might eke out one final re-election victory.
News developments, analysis, and more wonkery below the break.
The Branchflower Report is out. Obama supporter, Sarah Palin stalker, Troopergate investigation frontman, and Alaska State Senator Hollis French promised the world an “October Surprise” with this report on Sarah Palin’s firing of Walter Monegan (this promise, of course, was issued before a single witness had uttered a word). Technically speaking, he didn’t disappoint (that is to say, the report did come in October as promised). Substantively speaking, the report was lacking a certain punch.
Lots of us like Sarah Palin and have high hopes for her in this election and the next, but let’s resist the impulse to slough off this report. It means something.
She doesn’t say what that something is, and I must admit I’m at a loss to say what it means myself, at least regarding Palin. Link to the full report, highlighting of the nut graphs, and implications below the break.
U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), awaiting trial on corruption charges, has asked a federal judge if it’s OK if he skips out on the proceedings from time to time this week.
His reason? He says that the trial, in which a jury will decide whether he lied about $250,000 in home construction and other gifts courtesy of an oil company, makes it difficult for him to be a good Senator.
The gobsmacking details, and how it might reflect on Sarah Palin, below the break.