Alaskans Crawling Out from Under Sarah Palin’s Rogue Bus

The Blackberry addict & former Palin aide John Bitney, host Shannyn Moore, the town crank Anne Kilkenny, and the effete young chap Andrew Halcro. Courtesy of Moore Up North

It has already been established and is well documented that former Alaska Governor and losing VP Candidate Sarah Palin has a very hard time telling the truth in her book Going Rogue.

While she’s running around the country lapping up the adoration of the teabagger crowd, many in Alaska are crawling out from under the bus, while many are still under the wheels.

Voices from the Flats – Palin Critic’s Attorney on Being “Named” in Going Rogue:

Sarah trashes Nick Carney (the Wasilla city councilman who recruited Sarah into politics), John Stein (Sarah’s predecessor as mayor of Wasilla), Anne Kilkenny (a Wasilla resident whose viral email educated the nation to Sarah’s lackluster record as mayor), an unnamed City of Wasilla librarian, Frank Murkowski (Sarah’s predecessor as Governor of Alaska), Gregg Renkes (Frank’s Attorney General), Lyda Green (the former President of the Alaska Senate), Hollis French (the chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Alaska Senate), Steve Schmidt (John McCain’s campaign manager), an unnamed KTUU television cameraman, Walt Monegan (Sarah’s Commissioner of Public Safety), Randy Ruedrich (the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party with whom Sarah worked at the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission), Bill Allen (the corpulent head of the oil field services company VECO, a odious scum bag whose reputation as the bag man for Big Oil in the state capitol had been a matter of common knowledge in Alaska for a generation when Sarah went with her hand out to Bill for the campaign contributions she used to launch her statewide political career), Mike Wooten (Sarah’s ex-brother-in-law), unnamed executives of the Exxon-Mobil, British Petroleum, and Conoco-Phillips oil companies, Pete Rouse (a former Alaskan who was Senator Barack Obama’s chief of staff), Rahm Emanuel (President Barack Obama’s chief of staff), Kim Elton (a former member of the Alaska Senate who is Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s Special Assistant for Alaska), unnamed members of the McCain campaign staff who prepped Sarah for her television debate with Joe Biden, John Bitney (Governor Palin’s liaison to the Alaska Legislature), Levi Johnston (the hockey-playing, Playgirl modeling impregnator of Bristol Palin).

That’s not the complete list. There’s no index and I’m tired of typing.

Of all the individuals on the Going Rogue enemies list, the two firsts among equals are Andrew Halcro and Andree McLeod.

Halcro is a former Republican member of the Alaska House of Representatives who ran as an independent candidate against Sarah Palin in the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial election. After the election he started a website that he used to become one of Governor Palin’s most articulate and factually well-informed critics.

It was Andrew Halcro who broke the story that Governor Palin had fired Walt Monegan, her Commissioner of Public Safety, because Walt had refused to fire Mike Wooten, Sarah’s ex-brother-in-law, from his union job as an Alaska State Trooper. That news led to the Troopergate investigation of Sarah (and Todd) Palin’s misuse of the Office of the Governor. In the Troopergate report that Sarah touts as clearing her of wrong-doing, the investigator, a former prosecutor with whom (unlike the Legislature’s investigator) Sarah cooperated, implies that during his investigation either Walt Monegan committed criminal perjury or Sarah Palin committed criminal perjury. But the Legislature had no stomach during the remainder of Sarah’s tenure as Governor to determine whether she was the felon.

In Going Rogue Sarah describes Andrew Halcro as “a wealthy, effete young chap who had taken over his father’s local Avis Rent A Car, and he starred in his own car commercial. He would go on to host a short-lived local radio show while blogging throughout the day, all of which were major steps up from a previous job as our limo driver at Todd’s cousin’s wedding.”

Andree McLeod is where I come in.

Short, smart, politically committed, and tenaciously energetic, Andree McLeod is a Republican political activist of Armenian heritage who had once been a personal friend of Sarah Palin’s, who Sarah had endorsed when Andree ran in the Republican primary for a seat in the Alaska House of Representatives.

When I went to her home in east Anchorage to have my cup of coffee I found Andree sitting at her dining room table surrounded by two-foot-high stacks of paper print-outs of several thousand emails that the Office of the Governor had given to her in July in response to a request she had filed in June pursuant to the Alaska Public Records Act. The request had asked for emails that had been sent to or received by employees of the Office of the Governor who Andree suspected had been engaging in partisan – i.e., Alaska Republican Party – political activities during their public employee workdays. Andree submitted her public records request three months before anyone other than those of us in Alaska had ever heard of Sarah Palin.

The reason I had been invited to meet with Andree was that one of the things she had discovered by reading the emails was that when Governor Palin assumed office she had set up a private back-channel email system so that she and her senior staff could communicate with each other about state business without the content of their communications being “captured” by State of Alaska computer servers, and hence being available for public inspection pursuant to the Alaska Public Records Act. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other national media would later report that story. To read more visit Alaskan site The Mudflats.

The month after the McCain-Palin ticket lost the presidential election, again representing Andree McLeod, on December 8, 2008 I filed a second lawsuit against Governor Palin when a further review of the emails that Andree had been given revealed that the Office of the Governor had given to Todd Palin, a private citizen who was an employee of British Petroleum, copies of emails that it was withholding from public inspection on the ground of deliberative process privilege.

That litigation is ongoing. The legal questions of first impression that they present for decision are important enough that my expectation is that both lawsuits will end up in the Alaska Supreme Court.

What does any of that have to do with me and Going Rogue?

Prior to me agreeing to represent her in the two lawsuits above-described, Andree McLeod had begun filing what became a series of complaints against Sarah Palin with the State Personnel Board that alleged ethical transgressions unrelated to the lawsuits. Other Alaskans did the same thing. According to Going Rogue, those ethics complaints have driven Sarah Palin flat-out full-crank nuts.

After trashing Andree McLeod at page 354 of Going Rogue Lynn Vincent aka Sarah Palin moves on to me. Here’s what Lynn and Sarah say:
We always suspected that someone was funding and directing Andree’s efforts. During the spring of 2009, she was actually still begging my administration for a job and led others to believe she hadn’t worked for a couple of years. Yet somehow she had enough time or money to turn harassment of the governor’s office into a full-time vocation. Over time, the wording of her ethics complaints became more and more sophisticated, and we later found out why: prominent liberal attorney Don Mitchell was advising her. As early as September 2008, weeks before the presidential election, Mitchell had already detailed the ethics attack strategy in an article in the Huffington Post. Later he sat with Andree as her counsel at one of her hearings.

I wish my late mother was still alive. Because I know how proud she would be that I made the Going Rogue enemies list and have been mentioned by name in a book whose first printing is 1.5 million copies. (Because he is not named, the mother of the KTUU cameraman who posed Sarah in front of the turkeys can take no such pride.)

But my number is listed in the Anchorage telephone book. If that failed, Lynn and Sarah could have googled “Donald Craig Mitchell.” And if that had failed, since Meg Stapleton, the increasingly strange combination of Sancho Panza and Odd Job who works for Sarah, and I have mutual friends, Meg could have found me quite easily.

Had Lynn Vincent, Sarah, or Meg called me before Lynn had finished writing Going Rogue, I would have told her that in a single paragraph Lynn/Sarah got almost every one of their facts about me, other than that I am an attorney, wrong.

While I probably once was, I haven’t been a “prominent” attorney in Alaska in years. While I am a registered Democrat, my personal politics are hardly “liberal.” To the extent anyone cares, I am a social libertarian who is an Eisenhower era deficit hawk who agrees with Teddy and Frank Roosevelt that the principal responsibility of government is to save capitalism from itself. And while during the presidential campaign several of my ‘Governor Girl Reports’ were posted by individuals other than me on the Huffington Post and Atlantic Monthly web sites, none of those musings “detailed an ethics attack strategy.”

But most importantly, not only have I never advised Andree regarding her ethics complaints, to the best of my recollection I have never read an Andree McLeod ethics complaint. Had Lynn, Sarah, or Meg called me, I also would have told them that neither Andree McLeod nor I have been paid a nickel by anyone for anything (although if I win either of my lawsuits I intend to send the Office of the Governor a bill for my attorneys fee, which under Alaska law I am permitted to do).

It is true, however, that, as Going Rogue reports, because she asked me to, I did accompany Andree to her interview with Tim Petumenos, the former prosecutor the State Personnel Board hired to investigate both the complaint Sarah filed against herself regarding the Troopergate affair and a complaint Andree filed against Sarah and Frank Bailey, Sarah’s Director of Boards and Commissions, for violating state civil service rules in order to give one of Sarah’s campaign supporters a job for which he was not qualified. Again to the best of my recollection, I have never read either complaint. And if he is asked, I think Tim will say that during his interview with Andree I pretty much just sat there.

It also is worth mentioning that the State Personnel Board found the ethics complaint that Andree McLeod filed against Frank Bailey meritorious.

Why should anyone care about any of that? The reason they should care is that if Lynn Vincent aka Sarah Palin got as many of the facts, asserted and implied, about me in Going Rogue as wrong as she did, what does that say about the validity of the many other, much more important, “facts” in Sarah’s book?

It’s fully fine by me that billions of federal tax dollars are being spent annually to invent an AIDS vaccine. But it is just as important to someday invent a Pinocchio serum.

If the world had one, before a faux celebrity like Sarah Palin writes a book, doctors from the CDC could roll up the celebrity’s sleeve and inject him or her with a jolt of the serum. And a serum also would have other important uses.

For example, on page 214 of Going Rogue Lynn Vincent reports that when the McCain campaign vetted Sarah, she confessed to Steve Schmidt, the manager of the campaign, that “the one skeleton I’d kept hidden in my closet” (my emphasis) was that she had gotten a D in a college course.

Had Sarah been shot up with Pinocchio serum prior to the vetting, the immediate growth of the length of her nose would have tipped off Schmidt that the more truthful answer to the one skeleton in the closet question would have been, as The National Enquirer subsequently reported with no push back from Team Sarah, “cuckolding Todd when he was working on the North Slope by hooking up with Brad Hanson, Todd’s business partner in the Polaris snow machine sales business Brad and Todd owned in Wasilla.”

The Anchorage Daily News Reports today that one former Palin aide isn’t too happy about being referred to as a Blackberry Video Game Junkie who can’t seem to keep food off of his tie.

Portrayal in Palin book irritates former aide:

Former Gov. Sarah Palin’s book, “Going Rogue,” blames her first legislative director for moves early in her term that helped poison her relationship with state lawmakers. But the ex-aide, John Bitney, calls Palin’s account a fabrication and said he wishes his former boss would leave him alone.

“I’m just pilloried right and left and turned into the big bad wolf here for stuff I didn’t do,” said Bitney, who is now an aide to Valdez Republican Rep. John Harris. “It’s like I’m this fictional character that she’s decided to make me out to be this sort of incompetent slob.”

Palin’s lawyer, Tom Van Flein, responded in an e-mail that Bitney and others have been talking about “their perceptions of, and distortions about” Palin for more than a year, since after she was chosen as Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

” ‘Going Rogue’ is Sarah Palin’s book to set the record straight. It is her right to speak about the events that occurred in her administration and neither Mr. Bitney nor anyone else has the right to stifle that speech,” Van Flein said. “The statements in ‘Going Rogue’ speak for themselves, and it is Sarah Palin’s turn to get the truth out there after a year of misrepresentations, half-truths and dissembling by her critics.”

Palin’s writing about Bitney is her most detailed description yet of incidents that helped shape her relationship with legislators. Her bad blood with top legislators of both parties began not long after she took office. By last spring, relationships with many lawmakers from both parties had soured to the point that feuds with the governor overshadowed much of the other legislative business.

Bitney joins a list of people slammed in the book who are calling it fiction, including McCain’s former campaign manager, Steve Schmidt. Bitney, though, has a far deeper relationship with Palin than the others. He was a high school classmate of Palin’s from Wasilla who played a key role as an adviser in her successful 2006 campaign for governor.

Palin’s dealings with Bitney are described on several pages of her memoir, although he is never named and there are no details of his work on her 2006 campaign. Palin refers to him as “my first legislative director” and he comes in for some of the harshest criticism of anyone in the book. That includes observations on his personal grooming, such as, “He turned out to be a BlackBerry games addict who couldn’t seem to keep his lunch off his tie.” Later, in describing one encounter to discuss the budget, Palin writes, “The fact that his shirt was buttoned one button off and his shirt tail was poking through his open fly didn’t exactly inspire confidence.” But Palin’s larger point is that Bitney bungled her relationship with legislators.

Bitney is now swinging back hard at Palin, agreeing to appear over the weekend on a television show hosted by one of the former governor’s most vocal critics in Alaska, blogger Shannyn Moore. Bitney was on a panel of others slammed in “Going Rogue” that included Palin nemesis Andrew Halcro and Anne Kilkenney, who wrote a long e-mail critical of Palin’s leadership in Wasilla that was forwarded around the country during the presidential campaign last year.

Moore asked Bitney if Palin is sane. Bitney’s response: “Is a sociopath sane?”

‘ADULT IN THE HOUSE’
One turning point between Palin and Alaska lawmakers came in 2007 after her first legislative session. Legislators complained that Palin blindsided them with the scope of her budget vetoes and she rubbed it in by saying there had to be an “adult in the house.” Legislators saw it as a slap in the face and the remark was not forgotten.

Palin writes that it was Bitney who advised her to tell lawmakers that they were in need of adult supervision. In fact, she writes, he told her, “Trust me, I know this stuff, they want to hear it.”

Palin writes that she followed his advice and had a “come-to-Jesus meeting” with legislators. But, as it turned out, that’s not what they wanted to hear. She writes that “when the fallout began after that meeting, I looked at the legislative director. He looked at the ground and shrugged as if to say ‘Wasn’t me.’ ”

Bitney said in an interview that he joked with Palin in her office about how there needs to be an adult in the room when it comes to the state budget, but he said he never advised the then-governor to say it to anyone. He said Palin then made the comment in an interview with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial board — not in a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with legislators as she recounts in her book.

Bitney left the governor’s office in July 2007 in what Palin’s spokeswoman initially said was an “amicable” termination in which it was mutually agreed that he would leave his post for personal reasons. When reporters raised questions about it during the presidential campaign, the reason given by Palin’s office was “poor job performance.”

Bitney has told reporters he was fired after Palin was informed he was having an affair with the wife of a friend of Palin and her husband, Todd. Bitney, who has since married the woman, has said he was not forthcoming with Palin about it and understands why he had to go.

Palin’s only reference to that in her book is that “later we learned the legislative director had been too busy with his personal affairs to attend to much state business.”

‘LEAVE ME ALONE’
Bitney has influential defenders in the Legislature, including Sitka Republican Sen. Bert Stedman, who has been critical of Palin and said he won’t read her book because she is “entertainment and not news.” Stedman said Bitney is qualified and that he did a good job dealing with the Legislature for Palin. He said he told Bitney at one point to let him know if he was ever looking for a job.

Palin writes that she told Bitney to send a letter to legislators about what sort of spending she would approve but that he didn’t do it. She said he indicated lawmakers were fine with budget vetoes that were coming but it became clear otherwise when they howled about being blindsided. “It soon became obvious just how little the legislative director had done to inform the legislature this was coming,” she writes.

Bitney said it was another staffer in the governor’s office, not him, who was requested to send the letter. The letter asked legislators for suggestions on which of their projects to cut, Bitney said, and not surprisingly they did not rush to answer Palin.

Bitney said he did meet with the four co-chairs of the state House and Senate finance committees to tell them about the coming vetoes, and reported back to Palin that three of them felt that was her prerogative and only one became angry.

But Palin staffers had only identified about $100 million worth of cuts by that point, about half of the final total. Bitney said the following day was when his “troubles” with Palin began. He said he was pulled from the governor’s budget work, and fired soon after. In the meantime, he said, Palin staffers kept cutting beyond what he had told legislators but he didn’t have authority to talk to them about it.

Palin uses Bitney in the book to illustrate a point about government. Bitney had years of experience as a legislative staffer and lobbyist before joining her team. “So much for my idea that I needed to hire an ‘insider.’ Lesson learned,” she writes.

Bitney said he tried to be fair to Palin when national media kept “crawling up my backside” over the past year to interview him about her. But the book is too much, he said.

“I’ve had it. Enough. Just enough; leave me alone,” he said.

The Wealth Effet Young Chap Andrew Halcro’s take on his mention in Going Rogue.
Monday Comment: Digging Two Graves November 16, 2009:

On Friday after they received an advance copy of Sarah Palin’s new book, the Associated Press called me to get a response from the two hundred plus words that Alaska’s former 1/2 term governor dedicated to me.

My favorite passage as read to me by Rachel D’Oro at the AP was when Palin referred to me as an “effete chap.”

An effete chap? Who am I, Nick Carraway in the Great Gatsby?

And by the way, when did Palin start using 17th century Latin in her dialogue?

According to the brief excerpts I’ve heard, the book seems like it’s less about her and more about blaming everybody around her for all of her short comings. From her lack of intelligence to the word getting out about her pregnant daughter, no matter what the problem or criticism, it’s always somebody elses fault and never hers.

This in and of itself is rich in irony.

After all, how many real rogues complain about being hemmed in by the actions of others?

Isn’t that the antithesis of a rogue?

However, once the book is on the street beginning Tuesday, those throughout Palin’s 413 page pity party that suffer the wild blows of her imagination will come forward with guns blazing to refute the revisionist history Palin has penned.

From the brief passages that Palin has written about me in her book, the terms unmitigated lies, narcissistic delusions and libel came to mind first.

Obviously she never learned the timely Confucius warning:

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Beginning Tuesday…the people whom Palin has attacked in her book will start reaching for their own shovels.

After perusing the articles on Andrew’s site I would feel confident in my assessment of what really bugs Sarah about Andrew…………….he’s smart, does his homework, works hard and cares about Alaska.

Alaskan Radio Host Shannyn Moore recently begin filming her new show Moore Up Northabout political and state issues. Moore Up North was taped before a live audience at Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge in Anchorage. Last weeks guests included: Rick Steiner, Anne Kilkenny, Andrew Halcro and John Bitney. As expected they discussed the Sarah Palin they know.

View the rest of the segments Moore Up North here.

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