Here is a very interesting release from the spokesperson for the McCain-Palin Campaign. I think it's worth reading, as I haven't seen it released in the media yet.
OPENING STATEMENT AT MCCAIN-PALIN PRESS CONFERENCE
September 15, 2008
Good afternoon. I'm Meghan Stapleton spokesperson for the McCain Palin Campaign, alongside Spokesman Ed O'Callaghan.
We're here today to reveal compelling evidence that confirms what Governor Palin has stated all along that the reassignment of Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan had absolutely NOTHING to do with Trooper Mike Wooten and EVERYTHING to do with Commissioner Monegan's adamant refusal to join in Governor Palin's fiscal reforms.
After weeks of enduring Senator Hollis French's repeated, reckless statements in the press about a tainted, partisan, legislative investigation, that has been hijacked by Senator French and other Barack Obama operatives here in Alaska, the truth is finally laid bare. Today, we are here to release new information that exonerates Governor Palin, and demonstrates Commissioner Walt Monegan's egregious insubordination led to his early dismissal and nothing else.
We are not here today to rehash all the details of Trooper Wooten. We know his record: He was found guilty by a Trooper review board of tasering his 10-year old stepson; drinking while driving his patrol car; and illegally killing a moose. He also threatened to kill the Governor's father. You know the rest of the details. You know that he continues to threaten the Wasilla community with his poor judgment, and he is a constant threat to this family as the Troopers have continued to ensure that his Trooper post covers Wasilla and is within blocks of the family's homes.
But that's Trooper Wooten. Today is about Commissioner Walt Monegan. And why he was removed from his position as Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.
Today, the Governor's attorney filed a motion before the Personnel Board and included numerous emails which prove the Governor did nothing wrong.
The facts are really quite simple. From the Fall of 2007 through mid-2008, Commissioner Monegan repeatedly tried to undermine the Governor's authority by working against her and the administration over the Department of Public Safety's budget.
As everyone knows, this Governor came into office on a reform platform and one of her principal accomplishments has been to reduce wasteful spending. Commissioner Monegan refused to abide by this fiscal reform policy. One of the governor's top Department of Public Safety priorities was to fill as many as 56 trooper vacancies, but the Commissioner re-routed dollars away from these positions and into his own chosen areas of funding.
Last fall, Commissioner Monegan proposed a 10-year strategic plan that committed state dollars and removed the governor's constitutional budget authority; he also traveled to Washington, DC to lobby Congress for federal earmarks without the Governor's knowledge; and then finished off the year by engineering a press conference that included his friend Senator Hollis French to present the department's own budget, just days ahead of the Governor's reform budget.
Monegan continued his obstructionist conduct through the first half of 2008. Early on he publicly requested reinstatement of budget money the Governor previously vetoed. Think about that: One of the Governor's own cabinet members publicly contradicting her veto decision!? And in repeated emails among the governor's staff and the Commissioner's staff, Commissioner Monegan's brazen refusal to follow the appropriate interdepartmental channels to request more money was obvious.
The final straw came in late June and early July of this year when Commissioner Monegan arranged for yet another unauthorized trip to Washington, DC to request more financial assistance from Congress.
The bottom line is that Commissioner Monegan refused to comply with internal budget approval channels and lodged repeated requests for funding that were out of line with the other appropriation requests for every other commissioner and agency. Those are the facts leading to Walt Monegan's reassignment on July 11th. We have copied for you a set of relevant emails that were submitted to the Personnel Board today.
Make no mistake, as a political appointee, Mr. Monegan served at the pleasure of the Governor and was duty-bound to execute the Governor's policy objectives. After eight months of repeatedly ignoring the Governor's budget priorities, making public statements that directly challenged the Governor's policy agenda, and taking numerous unilateral actions in conflict with the Governor in support of his own policy agenda, his replacement in July 2008 should have come as no surprise and cannot now seriously be questioned. Absolutely no credence should be given to any Ethics Complaint against the Governor for her appropriate exercise of her executive discretion under this set of facts.
It is important to note that Commissioner Monegan and John Cyr, the head of the police union who filed a Complaint against the Governor before the Personnel Board, and who appeared with Trooper Wooten on a recent CNN interview, repeatedly changed their stories as to why Monegan was dismissed. While at first Monegan had no idea, John Cyr actually talked about budget differences.
And they stuck to those lines until Mike Wooten had another child custody battle a few days after Monegan's dismissal and threatened the Governor's sister Molly at that time, saying "You guys are going down. Get ready for the show." Molly called 911 that evening, but no one came to her aid, as Wooten actually predicted.
So the immediate assessments of Monegan and Cyr began to morph into an evolution of excuses and repeated retractions by Monegan, Wooten, and Cyr. And they enlisted blogger Andrew Halcro to launch their smear campaign against Governor Palin.
In fact, Mike Wooten met Andrew Halcro for drinks at a hotel bar for more than 3 hours, and concocted the malicious scheme to fulfill the threats made to Molly. Hours later, Andrew Halcro posted a blog that lodged the first accusation of Wooten's involvement in Monegan's reassignment. Later that day, John Cyr held a press conference, retracting his early insistence that this was budget related and switching to the Wooten story, though it takes Commissioner Monegan at least another day to retract his initial statement and blame Wooten.
The following Tuesday, July 21, 2008: Hollis French and Walt Monegan appeared on a radio show together and talked about getting an aggressive prosecutor to prove the existence of "a complex crime". French stated that he was "angry" that his friend Walt Monegan got fired. Remember, Hollis French was the same Senator who supported the budget proposal that sought to undermine Govenor Palin, and Walt Monegan was the Palin cabinet member who publicly sided with French against the Governor on that important policy decision.
And thus the genesis of what turned into a partisan effort to take down the Governor. The bar room banter turned into a full-blown Legislative investigation spearheaded by Monegan's friend and well-known Obama supporter Hollis French, and overseen by another Obama supporter Chairman Kim Elton, who contributed $2,250 to the Obama campaign.
Time after time, a new excuse, a new statement, more stories about what happened. And it only grew once Senator John McCain asked Governor Sarah Palin to join him on August 29th as his running mate.
That day, former Commissioner Monegan actually told the Anchorage Daily News during an interview. For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the Governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff.
But that same day, the Democrat machine also kicked into gear. This is when Obama and his campaign inserted itself into Alaska politics, and the political circus became even worse. Within no time, one-time supporters of the Governor who worked alongside the Governor to produce reform and accomplishments in Alaska, turned on her, alongside party lines. And Commissioner Monegan prepared to change his story yet again, saying for the first time that he was told his budget would be cut if Wooten retained his job. In early September, CNN reported that the Obama campaign reached out to John Cyr. During that time, Senator Hollis French appeared in the national media pre-judging the outcome of the investigation which had only just begun.
And as many of you heard last Friday, it was revealed that "independent" prosecutor Steven Branchflower allowed Senator French to tamper with the witness subpoena list, even though French pledged to not be involved. Branchflower now says that he will complete his "factfinding" by the end of this week and put out a report by October 10 at the latest. No serious, impartial investigator and no serious prosecutor would ever make such reckless predictions.
Having spoken to the Governor as recently as yesterday, I can personally tell you that Governor Palin is an open book and has absolutely nothing to hide.
This Governor is transparent and honest. I cannot emphasize that enough. This Governor has called for transparency and honesty, and the Democrats are on a smear campaign. The Personnel Board is the ONLY agency charged by law with addressing complaints concerning ethical issues, including hiring and firing matters involving the Governor. The legislature's investigation no longer resembles a fair inquiry and does not have proper jurisdiction. And given all that has developed, the Personnel Board is also the only place to go to ensure the facts are protected from the political circus that has come to Anchorage. And recently, even the Trooper union has acknowledged the role of the personnel board.
Governor Palin has been an open book in this case and has acted with the highest standards of ethics.
Ed O'Callaghan and I are happy to take questions now.