In Dayton, OH today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will announce that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be his vice presidential running mate. Palin, who entered office in 2006 after running as a reformer, is touted by conservatives as being “a politician of eye-popping integrity.”
But Palin’s reformer image took a hit last month when she was accused of attempting to get a state trooper fired. That state trooper was her former brother-in-law who had gone through “a messy divorce” with her sister. After the trooper’s boss wouldn’t act on the governor’s request, she fired him. Though Palin says she doesn’t “have anything to hide” and she “didn’t do anything wrong there,” an investigation has found that one of her aides pushed the firing:
Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday revealed an audio recording that shows an aide pressuring the Public Safety Department to fire a state trooper embroiled in a custody battle with her sister.
Palin, who has previously said her administration didn’t exert pressure to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, also disclosed that members of her staff had made about two dozen contacts with public safety officials about the trooper.
Palin’s scandal envelops her in the constellation of scandal-plagued lawmakers currently serving in Alaska. Here’s a brief overview:
Sen. Ted Stevens: Last month, long-serving Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury “with seven counts of making false statements for failing to disclose” gifts of over $250,000 from the oil services company VECO Corp.
State Sen. Ben Stevens (R): The senator’s son, Stevens is being investigated by the FBI for his involvement in “an alleged payment scheme involving fisheries legislation brought by his father.” When VECO’s Bill Allen “pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges, he stated that almost a quarter of a million dollars in consulting fees paid to the younger Stevens was in fact bribery.”
Rep. Don Young (R): Last year, it was revealed that the senior House Republican was “under criminal investigation” involving “possible political favors for a company in Alaska.” In April, Young’s legal fees exceeded $1 million.
Last week, Palin placed her boards and commissions director, Frank Bailey, on paid leave while the investigation into the suspect firing continues.
UPDATE: In 2006, Sen. Ted Stevens endorsed Palin. Watch his ad endorsing her:
Last month, after Stevens was indicted, Palin refused to call for his resignation, saying that he had “dedicated his life to the betterment of the state.” She had previously called for another indicted lawmaker to resign.