The first recommendation concerns the statute regulating the release of confidential medical records. The statute as currently constructed does not require government officials obtaining medical records to provide a legitimate reason for doing so. In other words, the Palin administration did not break the law in obtaining Mike Wooten's confidential medical records because the statute is, to quote Branchflower, "inartfully constructed."
To get the flavor of the second recommendation, here is the opening paragraph of Branchflower's discussion of the issue:
In this case, there has been much said about the level of frustration that existed on the part of Sarah Palin's father Chuck Heath who filed the original complaint against Trooper Michael Wooten, and on the part of Sarah and Todd Palin, who attempted to learn the status of the investigation only to be told by Colonel Grimes that the matter was confidential by reason of AS 39.25.080. I believe their frustration was real as was their skepticism about whether their complaints were being zealously investigated. The irony is that the complaints were taken very seriously, and a thorough investigation was underway. However, the law prevented the Troopers from giving them any feedback whatsoever. |Branchflower, p. 80|
God as my witness, Sarah Palin will cite this admission as if it washed her cleaner of sin than a thirty day fast. Well, I don't know. This just brings me back to where I was when I first heard about Palin's actions in this case. Here's what I wrote back in August:
The question is, what is to be done? One idea would be to work to reform law enforcement so that police forces aren't filled with douchebags like Wooten.
That's not what Palin did. On the contrary, her appointment of Kopp to replace Monegan suggests that she had no interest at all in strengthening the mechanisms by which complaints against Division of Public Safety employees are handled.
Instead, Palin, chose to use the power of her office in an arbitrary one-off crusade to set things straight. That's about as serious an ethical slip as it is possible for a governor to make, and it is hauntingly similar to the arrogant disregard that the Bush Administration has shown for the rule of law. |dr|
Obv., if I wrote that today I'd replace 'reform law enforcement' with 'amend AS 39.25.080.'