Ann Althouse wrote: "...but let's resist the impulse to slough off this [Troopergate] report. It means something."
It means something all right. It means that a couple of former prosecutors, Hollis French and Steve Branchflower forgot their roots.
I haven't finished the public report yet, but so far 27+ years as an appointed and elected prosecutor tells me this:
1. Hollis French, high profile Obama supporter and supervisor of this investigation, should have declared a conflict of interest and recused himself. Similarly, Branchflower's history with Monegan has apparently not been disclosed to the public or to the Legislative Council
2. Steve Branchflower, French's hand picked investigator, appears to have overstepped his charge which was to incude "recommendations," not "findings" in his report. He has acted as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury in the matter.
3. Despite relentlessly leading the witnesses and encouraging them to speculate about Governor and Mr. Palin's state of mind, Branchflower does not appear to have made his case -- and it is clear that he WAS trying to make a case.
4. The ethics statute under which Branchflower finds the Governor "abused her power" is, of course, not an "abuse of power" provision, but an ethics provision. Branchflower actually found that the Governor acted within her powers when she demoted Monegan.
5. Violation of the ethics provision requires that an executive officer knowingly make an "effort to benefit a personal or financial interest" of him or herself or a family member.
An oversimplified, but accurate, take on this is that both Todd and Sarah Palin spoke continuously about Wooten, the brother-in-law, bringing discredit to the department, about the inadequacy of the disciplinary action taken against him and about the negative impact he would have on DPS recruiting.
Arguably, all of these considerations fall within the Governor's OFFICIAL, NOT PERSONAL, areas of interest. Branchflower simply chose not to see it that way or to even put forward the case for that interpretation.
My experience tells me that Wooten's five-day suspension did not reflect the severity of his transgressions. Moreover, I saw no evidence that Monegan or anyone else at DPS made an effort to assure the Governor that the internal disciplinary procedures were being improved to prevent similar inadequacies.
The portion of the public report that I have read reflects a lack of both objectivity and professionalism.
French and Branchflower did their work for Obama, however marginal that work was, and left the rest to Obama's surrogate media.