Wallace did not ask McCain about ethics investigation into "reformer" Palin

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace did not ask Sen. John McCain about the current ethics investigation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, despite McCain's statement that Palin is "a reformer" and that his selection of her as his vice-presidential running mate "brings a spirit of reform and change that is vital now in our nation's capital."

On the August 31 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace did not ask Sen. John McCain about the current ethics investigation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, despite McCain's statement that Palin is "a reformer" and that his selection of her as his vice-presidential running mate "brings a spirit of reform and change that is vital now in our nation's capital."

The New York Times reported on August 29 that Palin recently became the subject of an ethics investigation "into whether Ms. Palin had fired a top law enforcement official [Walter Monegan] in her administration because he had failed to dismiss a state trooper who was involved in a divorce with Ms. Palin's sister." The Times reported that McCain's "campaign is portraying her [Palin] as a champion of ethics reform for taking on members of her own party whom she saw as beholden to special interests. But just a few weeks ago she became the subject of a state ethics investigation." According to the Times, "[t]he inquiry by the Legislature centers on what Mr. Monegan later described as pressure from members of Ms. Palin's administration and her husband, Todd, to fire Mr. [Mike] Wooten [Palin's former brother-in-law]. The governor herself also raised the subject of Mr. Wooten with him, Mr. Monegan has said." The Times reported that Palin "initially denied there had ever been pressure applied to Mr. Monegan," but later "disclosed [that] there had been more than two dozen inquiries from members of her staff to the public safety department about" Wooten. From the Times:

As part of her efforts to demonstrate that she welcomed the Legislature's inquiry, Ms. Palin asked the state's attorney general to look into the accusations as well. Ms. Palin initially denied there had ever been pressure applied to Mr. Monegan.

This month, however, she released an audio recording of a top aide's questioning of a police lieutenant about why no action had been taken against Mr. Wooten. Ms. Palin also disclosed there had been more than two dozen inquiries from members of her staff to the public safety department about him, but she said she had played no role in the inquiries.

Excerpts of the audio recording released by the governor showed Frank Bailey, the state's director of boards and commissions, pushing Lt. Rodney Dial in February about Mr. Wooten.

"Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, 'Why on earth hasn't this, why is this guy still representing the department?' " Mr. Bailey said to the lieutenant.

Additionally, an August 31 Washington Post article reported that after Palin "took office in December 2006," she "appointed Monegan, who'd just retired as Anchorage police chief after five years, to be public safety commissioner, a cabinet position. In January 2007, Palin's husband, Todd, a commercial fisherman, oil company worker and champion snowmobile racer who was now first gentleman of Alaska, invited Monegan to the governor's office. Todd Palin asked Monegan to look into the Wooten matter. Monegan did and later told Todd there was nothing he could do because the matter was closed." According to the Post, Monegan claimed "that Palin called him a few days later on his cellphone, and that he told her the same thing. She brought it up again in February 2007 in the state capitol building and Monegan warned her to stay at arm's length. Monegan said Palin mostly backed off, but kept raising the matter indirectly through e-mails. In the fall of 2007, Monegan said he alerted her to a bad jury verdict against a trooper in rural Alaska, and she replied by mentioning Wooten, but not by name." The Post also reported that after repeated phone calls regarding Wooten from members of Palin's staff, "Monegan became more concerned and warned each caller about exposing the state to litigation from Wooten. ... Meanwhile, Todd Palin continued to collect evidence against his former brother-in-law and lobbied for his dismissal, records and interviews show." The Post reported that "State Sen. Hollis French (D) said that both Republicans and Democrats authorized the hiring of a former prosecutor to determine whether Palin 'used her public office to settle a private score' " and that "[t]he legislative report is due in October."

From the August 31 broadcast of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Let's start with your choice of a running mate. Of all the people you could have chosen, of all the Republicans leaders you've known for years -- straight talk -- can you honestly say that Sarah Palin is the best person to put a heartbeat away from the presidency?

McCAIN: Oh, yeah. She's a partner and a soul mate. She -- she's a reformer. I don't particularly enjoy the label "maverick," but when somebody takes on the old bulls in her own party, runs against an incumbent governor of her own party, stands up against the oil and gas interests -- I mean, they really are so vital to the economy of her -- of the state of Alaska.

I mean, it's remarkable. It's a remarkable person, and I've watched her record and I've watched her for many, many years as she implemented ethics in lobbying reforms. And, I mean, she led on it. She didn't just vote for it. She led it. I've seen her take on her own party.

Look, one thing I know is that when you take on your own party in Washington, you pay a price for it. You do. You pay a price for it. And she's taken on the party in her own state. She take -- she took on a sitting governor and defeated him. And so I've -- I'm so pleased and proud because this is a person who will help me reform Washington and change the way they do business. And that's what Americans want.

WALLACE: But let me ask you --

McCAIN: Sure.

WALLACE: -- about the concerns that a lot of voters --

McCAIN: Sure.

WALLACE: -- who had never heard of Sarah Palin before yesterday are asking. Compared to, say, Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman, why is Governor Palin superior in dealing with national security and foreign policy?

McCAIN: Look, those people you talk about, Joe and Tom Ridge and Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, they're wonderful people, and I'm grateful for the opportunity that I've had to know them and work with them. But look, what this brings is a spirit of reform and change that is vital now in our nation's capital.

Eighty-four percent of the American people think the country's on the wrong track. In our party, we have corruption. We have former members of Congress residing in federal prison. So, it's not surprising to me that we've seen an incredible invigoration around our party and around the nation, not just Republicans, but Democrats. And by the way, in the last day and a half or whatever it's been, we have raised $4 million on the Internet. I wish I'd have taken her a month ago.

WALLACE: But you have said that the existential threat we face, the threat to --

McCAIN: Sure.

WALLACE: -- our existence, is Islamic terrorism. Foreign policy is job one for the commander in chief.

McCAIN: Sure.

WALLACE: You have criticized Obama as being, quote, "dangerously unprepared" to be president. In the sense of national security and foreign policy specifically, isn't Sarah Palin even more dangerously unprepared?

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Chris Wallace, Sarah Palin
Show/Publication
FOX News Sunday
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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