Monday, January 5, 2009

More Trooper scandal in Alaska?

Power and drugs make strange bed-fellows. But not power and obstruction. Those are the most natural of all partners.

The Anchorage Daily News:

A Mat-Su drug investigator and the union representing Alaska State Troopers are alleging political meddling in the Sherry Johnston drug case, including a delay in serving the search warrant because of the November election.... In an email last week to all members of the Public Safety Employees Association..... [Troopers drug investigator Kyle] Young wrote that after it became clear who Johnston is, "this case became anything but normal."

"It was not allowed to progress in a normal fashion, the search warrant service WAS delayed because of the pending election and the Mat Su Drug Unit and the case officer were not the ones calling the shots," Young wrote.

Alaska's Public Safety Commissioner Joe Masters and troopers director Col. Audie Holloway deny the dispute was handled any differently because of Johnston's proximity to Sarah Palin.

But the executive director of the trooper's union, John Cyr, remains adamant that something smells fishy in Alaska, and it ain't fish.

"This really does smack of political favoritism. And if that be the case, it's another example of the Palin administration's direct influence on the public safety unit."

Even if this were a case of favoritism, it's a stretch to say Palin's administration interfered by ordering any sort of delay. There's nothing to indicate that happened. The investigation may have been influenced by Johnston's relation to the Palins, but only because of incidental factors quite outside Sarah Palin's immediate purvey (i.e. the Secret Service protection that hindered access to Johnston drug deals).

[Hat tip: The Plank]