clownspreview.jpg It sounds from the ADN coverage like this TrooperGate report–if it is released today–will be a Friday evening document dump for us lower 48ers. Lyda Green has stuck her head out of the meeting twice to tell everyone it’ll be a long wait.

Senate President Lyda Green, a Wasilla Republican, and Rep. Peggy Wilson of Wrangell said the session is moving slowly.

How slow? Wilson was asked.

"Slooowwww," she said.

And later:

Update 11:50 p.m.: It may be a while. Green just stepped outside again and reports they’re now on page 20 of the 200-plus page document.

(As a reminder, 11:50 AM–the PM was a typo–is 3:50 ET; there has been an update since saying it’ll be at least another hour before the meeting is done.)

Meanwhile, the McCain team has taken a page from the Brooks Brother riots in 2000, and had a bunch of volunteers dressed as clowns show up outside the meeting to insinuate that this–rather than the report written by McCain’s own campaign staffers–is a kangaroo court.

Understand what they’re trying to achieve. The legislative council that first authorized this report must vote to release it. That means at least four of the 10 Republicans on the council (there are 4 Dems) must vote to release the report. That, I suspect, is the reason the meeting is taking so long: everyone in there knows this will be released eventually, so I suspect Republicans are really challenging the quality of Branchflower’s report, while weighing the long-term impact of punting a report that shows clear abuse of power (if, in fact it does) until after the election.

In the meantime, I wanted to point out one more tidbit from last night’s NYT story

First, there’s the evidence that the Palins continued to obsess over Mike Wooten, even after they ousted Monegan. They actually brought up Wooten during Kopp’s job interview!!

Nor did that interest end with Mr. Monegan, the examination shows. His successor, Chuck Kopp, recalled that in an exploratory phone call and then a job interview, Ms. Palin’s aides mentioned the governor’s concerns about Mr. Wooten. None of the 280 other troopers were discussed, Mr. Kopp said.


Mr. Monegan’s successor, Mr. Kopp, said that when the trooper came up in his pre-employment conversations with Palin aides, “it was raised within the context of one of the things that I needed to be aware of, but there was no direction to take any job action.”

During his first week on the job, Mr. Kopp received a call from Mr. Nizich. Mr. Wooten, in uniform, had shown up at the governor’s picnic, which is open to the public. “Is there anything you can do?” Mr. Nizich asked, explaining that the Palins were concerned about his presence.

Mr. Wooten was told to leave the area.

As with Monegan, Sarah didn’t explicitly tell Kopp to fire Wooten. But keep in mind, unlike Monegan, Kopp got $10,000 severance for his two weeks of service in the job–sort of makes you wonder whether Branchflower interviewed Kopp under oath.  Whatever Kopp said to Branchflower, though, it tends to support the notion that the Palins were focused on Wooten when they were replacing Monegan.

Finally, while we’re waiting, I wanted to point out the two details we have about the report so far (besides that it is long). First, it has a lot of detail but fairly evident conclusions:

[Kim] Elton agreed with Wilson [who said she hadn’t gotten through it all yet], telling her he could have spent four days on the report himself. But Elton added that he was able in just a few hours to get the gist of Branchflower’s findings and recommendations.

And this joke from one of the legislators suggests there may be individual, very interesting pieces of evidence (or may not).

Before the meeting, we rode the elevator with Rep. David Guttenberg.

‘What’s the headline?’ Wes asked.

‘Page 97, appendix B’ he said.

Both Elton and Guttenberg are Democrats, so they presumably have an incentive to get this report out.

As an outsider, I don’t really know–but I’m guessing these folks are taking the time to make the right decision. 



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.