Troopergate opens up another can ‘o worms for Sarah Palin

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AlaskaHockeyMomsForObama.com has a LINK for folks to sign a petition about Troopergate.  All folks from all across the U.S. (not just Alaska) are encouraged to sign.  We have to get the word out that if the McCain Campaign can come into Alaska and take over our Department of Law, the same thing could happen to any state.

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Everybody was talking Saturday about the the Anchorage Daily News editorial because of it’s strong insistance that Palin should come home to “explain to the Alaskan people” about Troopergate.

However, it seems no one was paying much attention to another Op Ed piece by Conservative talk show host Dan Fagan.  I admit, I usually avoid his editorials as well but I’m glad I read this one.  It was probably the best summary I’ve read all week of the egregious ways the McCain-Palin people have taken over Alaska’s Department of Law.

Yes, I just paid that very large compliment to hard-core right-winger Dan Fagan…hell hath frozen over.  Sarah Palin’s idiocy is causing us to make very strange…errrr…bedfellows.

However, there was another very important piece in his writing that reflects what a number of us have been saying this week…with additional information:

Why do she and her new handlers in the McCain camp believe there is something in Troopergate that could cost them the election?

The real damage to Palin from Troopergate comes with an injury claim involving trooper Wooten when he hurt his back while in the line of duty.

Independent investigator Steve Branchflower testified recently he believes someone in the governor’s office tried to block Wooten’s workers’ compensation injury benefits.

Harbor Adjustment Services, the company hired by the state to process, evaluate and decide on workers’ benefit claims, had great financial incentive in bowing to pressure from the governor to deny Wooten’s injury claim.

Obviously, the state is Harbor Adjustment Services’ largest client. The owner of the company denies the governor’s office pressured her to deny Wooten’s benefits. Why wouldn’t she? Ratting out the governor could cost her the lucrative state contract.

But Branchflower says an employee with Harbor Adjustment Services contradicts the owner and has testified the governor’s office did apply pressure to deny Wooten his benefits.

Branchflower says the unnamed employee testified, “I don’t, you know, care if it’s the president who wants the claim denied. I’m not going to deny it unless I have the medical evidence to do that,”

We know which employee is testifying about this to Mr. Branchflower.

(more after the fold)

Per Marcy at Emptywheel:

Branchflower said he needed subpoenas to interview several Palin aides who had been in meetings about the matter. And in one case, he said, he needed to compel the interview of a state contractor whom he said may have lied to him.

Murlene Wilkes owns Harbor Adjusting Services in Anchorage, which has a contract with the state to process workers’ compensation claims, Branchflower said. She told him the governor’s office did not pressure her to deny a claim for Wooten, he said. But in August, one of her employees called a tip line and claimed there indeed was such pressure, Branchflower said.

“I remember at some point in the conversation she had mentioned or said something to the effect that either the governor or the governor’s office wanted this claim denied,” Branchflower quoted the tipster as saying. “I don’t care if it’s the president who wants this claim denied, I’m not going to deny it unless I have the medical evidence to do that.”

Wilkes may have had a financial incentive to cover up, Branchflower said. Wilkes did not respond to a voicemail left at her office Friday afternoon.

Wilkes showed up with a lawyer and answered her subpeona on Friday:

French stated that of the fourteen subpoenas that were issued, six were served and seven were not and the last was for cell phone records for Frank Bailey that had been turned over to the special investigator Steve Branchflower by the cell phone company.

In addition, French said that John Bitney, Palin’s former legislative liason, had already appeared and given a deposition to Branchflower and another person subpoenaed, Murlene Wilkes, an owner of a workers compensation claim adjustment firm that was allegedly pressured by the governor’s office, agreed to show up today with her attorney.

If this pans out to be what folks are suspecting, it’s quite possible the Governor could go from “energizing” McCain’s chances to being that 1000 lb weight around his neck.  (Can you say Geraldine Ferraro and her husband?)

In Troopergate Question #6, I discuss that in spite of all of their bobbing and weaving, O’Callahan and his high-powered team knew by looking at the Alaska Constitution and Alaska legal precedent they would most likely not be able to squelch the investigation.  Their intention was to try, but most importantly their goal was to muddy the waters as much as possible in order to discredit Monegan, Branchflower, the Legislature, the entire probe and the eventual report.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the day after this information surfaces is the day the righty blogs and press start calling Monegan a wife-beater.

It’s just another Jedi Mind-Trick.

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