It’s official…. “A legislative investigation” in Alaska “has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was once married to her sister, or by failing to prevent her husband Todd from doing so.”
The report by investigator Steve Branchflower was made public late this afternoon by a bipartisan 12-0 vote of the Legislative Council, which authorized the investigation.
Branchflower’s report contains four findings. The first concludes that Palin violated the state’s executive branch ethics act, which says that “each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.”
The Troopergate investigation also “looked into whether Palin dismissed public safety commissioner Walt Monegan because he resisted pressure to fire Wooten.”
The report says Palin failed to reign in her husband’s inappropriate efforts to use the governor’s office to contact trooper employees in his attempts to have Wooten fired.
“Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda … to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired,” Branchflower’s report says.
“Compliance with the code of ethics is not optional. It is an individual responsibility imposed by law, and any effort to benefit a personal interest through official action is a violation of that trust. … The term ‘benefit’ is very broadly defined, and includes anything that is to the person’s advantage or personal self-interest.”
Alaskan Senate President Lyda Green said “the report doesn’t speak well for the governor.”
“The problem with power is that people pay attention to it,” the Wasilla Republican said. “And it’s very easy to get beside yourself and use it in the wrong way.
“And we do have to leave personal business at home,” she said.
The Fix reports that the DNC has “released a fact sheet containing a series of excerpts from the report and detailed information about the bipartisan nature of the investigation.”
The investigation has dogged Palin ever since she was selected in late August as John McCain‘s running mate. Republicans will now seek to put the matter behind them, insisting that there is nothing more to discuss. Democrats will continue to cite the report in an effort to undermine the idea of Palin and, by insinuation, McCain, as reformers.
No matter your partisan leanings, it’s hard to see this as a good headline for Palin with less than a month to go before the election.
We’ll see how this reflects in the polls for Palin in the next few days or so. It’s headline news and doesn’t reflect well on Palin at all that she abused her power, regardless of how the McCain camp and the Republicans want to spin this.
The four findings of the Branchflower Report are available here.