September 15th, 2008
11:59 AM ET

Adviser warned Palin firing raised 'grave' concern

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/15/art.sarahpalin.jpg]
Program Note: U.S. Attorney General Wev Shea, also a former ethics adviser, warned Gov. Sarah Palin over the trooper firing. He talks exclusively with Randi Kaye. Watch the interview tonight 10p ET.

Randi Kaye
AC360 Correspondent

I’m here in Anchorage, Alaska as I have been for the last week and a half covering all things Palin.

The latest..

A prosecutor for Alaska’s state legislature wants to question Governor Sarah Palin’s husband.

He wants to know if Todd Palin pressured the state’s top police official to fire Trooper Mike Wooten.

Wooten, you may know by now, was Sarah Palin’s ex-brother-in-law. He had been married to her sister Molly and it ended in a bitter divorce including a custody battle. Governor Palin says Wooten had threatened her family, even threatened to kill her father. Wooten denied those threats to CNN. So now the Palins’ possible abuse of power, even perceived abuse of power, are at the center of a state investigation that could really impact the Palin administration. The prosecutor says he wants to find out if Todd Palin put pressure on the man in charge of State Troopers, Walt Monegan, to get Wooten fired. So he wants to interview him, along with 13 staff members who have been refusing to cooperate with the investigation.

But maybe this whole saga could have been avoided if Mrs. Palin had taken the advice of a fellow Republican.

I got my hands on letters that were sent to Sarah Palin in July, from former U.S. Attorney General Wevley Shea. He has advised Palin on ethics issues in the past and says he sent her two letters offering unsolicited advice on the trooper investigation this summer.

Shea warned Palin – whom he described as a “wonderful lady” – that he had “grave concern” for how this might impact her office. He recommended immediate action to “restore her credibility”. He told me, “If they would have done what I said, I think it would have been over.” Shea was also highly critical of the “naïve, unprofessional” advice Palin had received from her staff.

The governor has maintained she fired Monegan over budget priorities and Monegan says he was never directly told to fire Wooten, even though he believes that is why he was fired.

Some of the evidence we have obtained includes a flurry of emails from February about the trooper’s union, copied to both the Governor and her husband, also phone records showing three calls in one afternoon from Todd Palin’s cell to one of the Governor’s top aides. The next morning that aide called Wooten’s supervisor and said “The Palins can’t figure out why nothing is going on.”

All of a sudden a messy divorce has ballooned into a political showdown and a state squabble has found a place on the national stage. And it may get bigger. Now split along party lines, the legislature’s committee is accused by Palin supporters of staging a “political circus” to try to embarrass the Governor. Her opponents suspect the Palin administration’s tactic is to delay progress on the inquiry – at least until after election day.

Filed under: Randi Kaye • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Cheryl in Dallas

    Financially speaking: Please bring up the fact that John McCain had former Senortor Phil Gramm and wife (Wendy Gramm) of Texas as his Co-Chair of the McCain Presidental campaign. But now that Gramm was exposed for his "treachery of being a chief advocate for deregulation" there is no mention of them (him). Gramm was very much a part of the "deregulation debacle" that is now plagueing the country. with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Merrill Lynch and AIG. We all know as McCain trys to remove himself from the Republican Party he was very much a part of the current status quo that we are now facing that has been in control 8 yrs. HE IS NOT IN TOUCH wih Americans... TELL IT LIKE IT IS!!!!. The Republican Party is a part of the GREED and ACCESS that has funneled their influence into the stock market and now it is backfiring on the RICH.. Everybody is losing... wE ARE ALL LOSING, including "them".
    MISS C in Dallas

    September 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  2. Meisha

    That is one ambitious female. If I were McCain, I would hire a food taster if they make it to the White House. She is not beloved in Alaska. Check with the women who were doing the anti Palin demonstration when she arrived home. (Who by the way greatly outnumbered her supporters.) Or someone might try talking to some of the Indigenous people about her invitation to drill on their land. She probably does have some good qualities, but I haven't seem them yet. John McCain shot himself in the foot when he picked her.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  3. Robin

    I want someone to ask her(Palin) how much oil is produced in Alaska, I have a feeling that it is not 20%. I want someone to ask her about seceding from the lower 49 states and when she belonged to the group that advocated this.. I want to ask her what kind of position her husband has in her current adminstration, why he had access to state officials. By the time I list all the questions I have, she will have withdrawn from the race, I hope.

    September 15, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  4. glen evans

    cnn and all the media have fallen into the trap
    The media has built pallen up as if she is god and she will not be interviewed. if she won't answer questions from the media why cover her at all. i am sure if you shut up about her you would get a different response. stop and think america she could be president, what a scary thought

    September 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  5. Dorothy C.

    We need to hear so much more about this in the press and in the media, so that the truth about this woman will be made clear to the American people before they make the worst mistake in the history of the country by electing her and McCain. She is a very clever, cunning, and vicious politician in spite of the broad smile and cheerleader tactics she hides behind. Please CNN don't let this matter rest until the entire truth is told.
    I would also like to see more coverage of Sen. Biden by the press. Seems to me he is being slighted in coverage and not being given equal time and publicity.

    September 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  6. MW / CA

    Cindy in GA – Wake up girl. The initial investigation was opened by Republicans in Alaska. Check the facts.

    September 15, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    What I would like to know is why McCain would pick someone for VP when they have an active ethics/abuse of power investigation against them? Is this one of his high risk gambles? If it is and she is found guilty in October then he's fried the whole GOP party as far as the White House goes. If this is an example of his judgment he can keep it.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 15, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  8. Pat

    I think as these last few weeks go by, Palin's lies and deceitts will become clearer. So far all I've heard is the bridge to nowhere and selling the jet for profit....both of which are not entirely truthful. Then she says in her one on one interview "Obama should have picked Hillary". Ok, if a man said that, it would be sexist...what do you call when she says it? What a joke. McCain should be ashamed.

    September 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  9. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    Is there a reason why his Union will not allow the public access to Officer Wooten's complete file of complaints? From Drew Griffith's interview with Officer Wooten, it appeared that this man had been charged with several offenses that had nothing to do with his divorce and child custody case. Could it be that this man is a bully with a badge, like Drew Peterson had been? It took one dead wife and one missing wife to get him off the force.

    September 15, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  10. Trish A

    Dianne N if you watched the Interview on Palin's brother -in-law you'd know that threat has never been proven, along with more than numerous other statements this woman has made on her behalf!
    Probably why Mccain chose her. He saw alot of his own traits in her!
    Embellish, misquote, mis-state and if that doesn't work just lie!

    September 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm |
  11. Michael G.

    Good job CNN. Maybe if Sarah would answer some questions then she might be able to add a bit of integrity to her campaign. But to clearly instruct her staff and employees not to answer questions on troopergate brings back memories of Nixon and more recently slicky Dicky cheney.

    Sarah Palin is a phoney and will soon be exposed as such. Even the Rape-publicans will not be able to cover her with the veneer of respectability, integrity, and honesty. Troopergate will do her in and then maybe she can go pack to being a pistol packin hockey momin extremest.

    September 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm |
  12. Rose from Muscoy, Calif

    ROBERT- You are RIGHT! CNN should give the same air time as Mrs. Palin. I guess CNN likes CORRUPTIONS when it comes to Sarah Palin or Hillary R. Clinton. Thou I personally think Mrs. Sarah Palin wins hands down when it comes to secrets and lies.

    September 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  13. Cory-KY

    Put all the scandals,race,age,experience aside. Barack Obama is running the clean campaign. That's all i have to say when someone comes to me with a piece of Obama propaganda. I'd like to blame it on ignorance but that would be the easy way out. Some people are just raised to disagree with Obama. And its not the racists or older citizens. It's just people that plainly disagree. That's ok. As long as you're voting and believe in something.

    Kentucky Democrat
    (The Palin skit on SNL was hilarious and weirdly relevant)

    September 15, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  14. Lisa

    After listening to the many Palin embellishments, I have a hard time believing that the ex-brother-in-law said he was going to blow her fathers head off. I'm sure he said something but I think she embellished this one too. Her family reminds of the Hatfields or McCoys. Very bizarre...
    I think Mrs.Palin is a tickin' time bomb waiting to go off.

    September 15, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  15. Julie San Diego, CA

    Great work Randi.

    "I got my hands on letters that were sent to Sarah Palin..."

    That's what we need. Evidence. Facts. Supporting documentation that shows how Sarah Palin operates and what her decision-making process is – including how she handles unsolicited friendly advice.

    Given John McCain's age and health, it is not unreasonable for the American public to look very closely at Sarah Palin's decision-making abilities. It's easy for a neophyte to be manipulated and controlled if they have the kind of personality where they discount information they don't want to hear.

    Past intelligence indicated Saddam did not have nuclear capabilities, yet manipulative individuals were able to convince The Decider that Saddam was a nuclear threat.

    We're still in that war.

    If McCain keels over and we're left with Palin, the fact that she discounts good advice and forges ahead with her "my way or the highway" attitude does not bode well for this country.

    Excellent work Randi. Keep giving us more of this.

    September 15, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  16. Jamie from San Francisco

    cnn is so pro obama that we had to listen to that whiny voice of sarah palin's all morning and not see the biden speech. please someone pull the nails off the chalkboard and put her to rest.

    September 15, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  17. larry

    Why is cnn going with'the governor must have done something wrong', aha I forgot that they are just another arm of the obama campaign; a campaign that hit the ground running with the largest campaign group in history.

    September 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  18. Lamont austin

    another abuser of power, cant people see through the lies and deceit of the republican party?


    September 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Diane N.

    I guess if a man who carried a gun for a living threatened to kill one of my parents who's not abusing his power by any means no no nay...I'd try to get him fired too. Who was it that abused their power again???

    September 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  20. Chris


    I don't understand why this is not being reported in the mainstream media, I'm sure we do not need another 4 years of investigation of a upper administration. I hope you have forgotten the Bill and Hillary years of investigation and the money it cost tax payers. It is so ovious that Gov Palin and her husband have used their power to have that man fired. Do we the American people really need this distraction in the White House. Please folks wake up...

    September 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  21. Gary T.

    At the least this has to be Thoroughly investigated!!

    September 15, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  22. renee

    my husband have been saying this that the truth will come out about her sooner than later and here it is yall (woop there it is!!) you see he can just tell these things, and it is some time scary but mostly very helpful but he be dead on all the time. and he also said that he would not be surprize if she have hired a sloow of family members and friends into different position thought out he state of alaska when she became mayor and as governor he had ask me to blog about the hiring of the friends& family members being hired last night just ot throw some things out there. and when i sit down at the computer to just go throw and read the news how about i come a cross one that said that five freinds of palin or under investgation for being hire by her and i don't even thing they were qualified for these position and when getting over paid that kind of thing just freaks me out ..... when i heard miss palin say that she would not second guess ISRAEL if they call and say that they are ready to go war with iran she and mcsame would make arrangements right then and say come on lets roll. VOTE OBAMA'08 VTE OBAMA'08

    September 15, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  23. Bryan Amherstburg, Ontario

    Isn't this the same Trooper that "stun gunned' a kid?

    As far as I understand he is still in uniform, death threats and other acts of aggression towards the Palin family?

    There are simply too many 'exclusive' stories coming from numerous sources for viewers/spectators to decipher the truth.

    What we need are the facts without a dramatic story line draped in mystery<-that we can do on our own.

    You like a good challenge right?

    September 15, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  24. Fay, CA

    There have been some very revealing articles about Sarah Palin's governing style in Alaska and they are troubling in that they appear to mirror some of the worst aspects of the Bush Administration.

    It's also interesting that the Alaska Women Against Palin rally which took place the same day as Palin's welcome home event, got little attention from the media–according to reports, it was the largest political rally in the history of Alaska and the protestors attending it outnumbered the supporters of Palin at her rally.

    Palin's supposed popularity and high approval rating in her home state may be highly exaggerated.

    September 15, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  25. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    Well, well well My God look who NOW has surfaced in this absurd Hicksville Neo-Con Soap Opera. It's none other than Todd Palin. Small town American snowmobiler and oil worker who was never elected to any Offfice in his life acting on behalf of his AR15 toting Bible Thumping bare foot and pregnant and somewhat clueless 'never blinking' in the eye of 'threats' wife

    I wonder if ole Todd would be issuing some good ole boy Gin Mill threats with Putin or some other World Leader over something he or she might have said to her if she were in the Oval Office. Bush's absurd 'Wanted Dead or Alive' threat to Bin Ladin comes to mind here. This is not about casting acters for some 'B' rated western here folks. It's about choosing effective intelligent LEADERSHIP for our nation !
    This is all too close to small town 'RED NECK' in VERY CAPITAL LETTERS for my taste I'll tell ya ! To think that something like this could wind up in the Oval Office would make our founding fathers roll over in their graves I am sure ! It most certainly would be a gigantic slap in the face to any intelligent voting American and for the image and integrity of this Nation as a whole.

    September 15, 2008 at 12:38 pm |
  26. Jim Johnson

    My advice to Ms. Palen step down if you have the 'Biden courage' to do so!

    September 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  27. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    If it looks questionable you are not suppose to do it. Well, she did it anyway. Sounds like Bush all over again...............

    September 15, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  28. Tyrone


    Had it not been for the fact of Senator Obama running for President. There would have never been a white female Vice President. 43 white only male only Presidents and NEVER in the history of the country did a white Republican respect a white female for President or Vice President. Just think about it America, all you had to do to get white presidents to respect a white female was to support a black American for President! Senator Obama is the only reason for Gov. Palin. Blacks are accuse of only voting for Senator Obama because he is black. This is so un-true and surly not base on black voting history. Black voted for Bill Clinton 89% and Jimmy Carter 87%. Blacks not whites fought and died to vote for white men. In 1920 the passing of the 19 Amendment gave white women the right to vote for white men. McCain's pick is affirmative action 101. A token female is a understatement.!!! But Obama is to thank for the first time in history a white women is finally respected by white male president candidate republican. Gov. Palin has no overseas experince.! She only been in elected office for 6 years. Four years as Mayor of about 9,000 and 2 years as Governor of Alaska population 700,000. She is a mother of five and under investigation for abuse of office! Another thing that the white pundits will not say. Never in the history of the country did a white male repubican candidate feel the need to respect a white woman for vice president! WHITE WOMEN....ALL TOGETHER.."'SAY"' THANK YOU OBAMA!

    September 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  29. keith

    Why is cnn running with 'the governor must be guilty of something'?

    September 15, 2008 at 12:21 pm |
  30. Gary Chandler in Canada

    He recommended immediate action to “restore her credibility”. He told me, “If they would have done what I said, I think it would have been over.”
    She HAD no credibilty to restore! Michelle Obama says she was proud of her country and CNN and MSM sold LOTS of advertising on that one. Will CNN lose advertising if they spent as much air time on the involvement of Tod Palin in the Alaskan Separatist Party, which has a mission statement which says, ' hate the American flag.'
    It has been surfacing that the 'man of the house' has a LOT of influence over his wife's political decisions. His record should be given MORE attention than Michelle Obama's.

    September 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
  31. Trish A

    Randi, I say let it baloon the bigger the better. This woman is the biggest Sham to ever hit a Presidential Election!

    And since the Political Ticker Blog on Palin's recent Speech is not taking any more comments, although there wasn't one comment on the blog when I enterd mine – I would appreciate it if I could leave my comments on the same here –

    After just listening to Palin's speech I have only this to say – This is a woman so deceitful and misleading it is nauseating! Her tone is so insincere with stops and starts pre-programmed as written it's hillarious! She trumped up her party's concern for the serious diseases such as Aylseizers, and Autism solely for the purpose of trying to hide the non-existent, non-platform the Republica's have shirked on Health Care for All Americans. This is another of their tricks to hide the real issues concerning Americans! They don't fool me for one minute!

    And her zeal for thanking America's Military Members by having them raise their hands – What a joke! John McCain is concerned about America's Military members and Veterans – Give me a Break!. He is the Senator who voted against every Bill before the House to assist Veterans over the past eight years!

    And putting the books of the Government on line so all Americans can see where they're money is going!!!!! Don't hold your breath for that one Americans! It took long enough to get Cindy's Tax Returns on-line! And they're going to show America the Nation's Cheques and Balances on-line!!!

    McCain and Palin are the worst shams that ever hit a Presidential Election! They are for John and Sarah and the same Bush Policies, Strategies, and War Mongering that has devastated the Nation's Image, Economy, and every social Program that has ever existed over the past eight years! If Americans believe these blantant in your face liars they deserve what they get! Thank You.

    September 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
  32. MW

    Stay tuned for scenes from the next episode of "Leave it to Palin"

    September 15, 2008 at 12:16 pm |
  33. suki

    Randi – keep up your terrific reporting

    I realize theat McCain was desperate to play to the conservative base of the republican party but shocked that he selected this woman – she was obviously vetted be people who were deaf, dumb and blind

    The more I learn about her record it truly scares me that she could be a heartbeat away from the presidency – as a woman she will set back woman's rights by 100 years

    September 15, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  34. ObamaFAN

    As usual the American public will brush this under the carpet, and FORGET ABOUT IT once again. I saw a poll that 80% of citizens in foreign nations when asked who would they rather have as President of the U.S.,Obama won over McCain 13%. The American people should use this survey as a guide in November, and stop voting for a popular 8th grade election for class president. This is serious business

    September 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  35. Cindy

    It all looks like a smear campaign to me. I mean if Monegan says he was never directly told to fire Wooten then where is the misconduct by Palin or her husband? Seems to me like Monegan is just mad because he was fired and wants to make trouble. And the Dems jumped on it hoping that it would hurt Sarah while she was in office as Governor so that they could run against her and win.

    And what was the immediate action that Wevley Shea wanted to be done? To rehire Monegan? You need to tell the whole story here Randi.

    It seems like they are making a mountain out of a mole hill to me.


    September 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm |
  36. Robert

    I am outraged that Sen. Biden does not receive balanced airtime when he speaks. I should not have to search CNN for streaming video coverage when so much is at stake.

    Shame on you CNN. You covered Sarah Palin's flight back to Alaska including a speech from beginning to end. With Sen. Biden, you air only a few minutes and I AM OUTRAGED.

    Again, SHAME ON YOU.

    September 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

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