Footage Information

ABCNEWS VideoSource
US Palin - Inquiry finds that Sarah Palin abused power
NAME: US PALIN 20081011I TAPE: EF08/1033 IN_TIME: 10:16:19:16 DURATION: 00:02:11:04 SOURCES: AP TELEVISION DATELINE: Anchorage - 10 Oct 2008 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST: 1. Wide of committee 2. Cutaway of observers 3. UPSOUND: (English) Committee Member making motion to keep confidential portion of report secret "Mr. Chairman I make a motion for the council to release the public portion of the investigation report and direct the affairs agency to make the public portion of the investigation report available on request to any person but not to release any part of the confidential portion of the report to any person." 4. Wide pan from audience 5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Representative Peggy Wilson "I think to make decision you... it's unfortunate that there is some of what was highly confidential that we couldn't release to everyone because as I read that, it made a difference during the thought process that I was going through. I changed my mind a couple of times so I just want people to be aware that just reading this might not get you to the same place that some of the rest of us ended up because they don't have all of the information." 6. Medium of council 7. Clerk taking role call 8. Pro-Palin protesters outside shaking balloon sculptures 9. SOUNDBITE: (English) David Boyle, Alaskan with McCain-Palin campaign "Twelve years in Alaska and I've never seen anything like this. It's strictly partisan politics and if Governor Palin had not been put on the national ticket by wonderful Senator John McCain we wouldn't be standing here right now. We'd have some real news to report versus what's going to come out of room 220 the three-ring circus." 10. Exterior of building, tilt down to pro-Palin protesters 11. Pan of pro-Palin protesters 12. Close-up of "Go Palin Go" sign STORYLINE: US Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as Alaskan governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded on Friday. The politically charged inquiry imperiled Palin's reputation as a reformer on John McCain's Republican ticket. Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain. The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute. Monegan's firing was lawful, the report found, but Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making, even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed. In a statement, Monegan said: "I feel vindicated. It sounds like they've validated my belief and opinions and that tells me I'm not totally out in left field." Branchflower said Palin violated a statute of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Lawmakers don't have the authority to sanction her for such a violation, and they gave no indication they would take any action against her. Under Alaska law, it is up to the state's Personnel Board - which is conducting its own investigation into the matter - to decide whether Palin violated state law and, if so, must refer it to the Senate president for disciplinary action. Violations also carry a possible fine of up to 5,000 US dollars. Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein disagreed with Branchflower's conclusions, saying that they failed to identify a financial gain for Palin which he contended was what would have violated the ethics law. Palin and McCain's supporters had hoped the inquiry's finding would be delayed until after the presidential election to spare her any embarrassment and to put aside an enduring distraction as she campaigns as McCain's running mate in an uphill contest against Democrat Barack Obama. After a court fight to block the report failed, the panel of lawmakers voted to release it - though not without dissension. The panel didn't vote on whether to endorse its findings. Members cautioned that because certain portions that were considered confidential could not be released, that some might not understand why the council reached their conclusions. The Legislature could vote next year to censure Palin, but committee members appeared divided over the report and Democratic state Senator Kim Elton, the committee's chairman, gave no indication that would happen. The report notes a few instances in which Palin pressed the case against trooper Mike Wooten, but it was her husband, Todd, who led the charge. The report said Todd Palin had extraordinary access to the governor's office and her closest advisers and he used that access to try to get Wooten fired. Governor Palin knowingly "permitted Todd to use the governor's office and the resources of the governor's office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired," Branchflower's report reads. Wooten had been in trouble before Palin became governor over allegations that he illegally shot a moose, drank beer in a patrol car and used a Taser on his stepson. The Palins said they feared for their family's safety after Wooten made threats against them. In proceedings revealed by the report, former Alaska State Trooper Colonel Julia Grimes told investigators that Sarah Palin called her in late 2005 to discuss why Wooten hadn't been fired, and Grimes told her the inquiry was confidential by law. Grimes said Todd Palin also contacted her by telephone in late 2005 to discuss the confidential investigation of Wooten. Wooten's disciplinary case was settled in September 2006 - months before Palin was elected governor - and he was allowed to continue working as a trooper. After Palin's election, her new public safety commissioner, Monegan, said he was summoned to the governor's office to meet Todd Palin, who said Wooten's punishment had been merely a "slap on the wrist." Monegan said he understood the Palins wanted Wooten fired. "I had this kind of ominous feeling that I may not be long for this job if I didn't somehow respond accordingly," Monegan told the investigator. For months afterward, Todd Palin filed complaints about Wooten, saying he was seen riding a snowmobile after he had filed a worker's compensation claim and was seen dropping off his children at school in his patrol car. Monegan said Wooten's doctor had authorised the snowmobile trip and his supervisor had approved his use of the patrol car. Monegan said Alaska's attorney general later called him to inquire about Wooten, and Monegan told him they shouldn't be discussing the subject. "This was an issue that apparently wasn't going to go away, that there were certainly frustrations," Monegan said. "To say that (Sarah Palin) was focused on this I think would be accurate."