In tonight’s Spotlight, Lawrence will speak with Frank Bailey, a former Palin campaign aide and author of the juicy tell-all published today. In Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of our Tumultous Years, Bailey dishes on life inside the Palin bubble on everything from what really what down in Troopergate to what the former Alaska governor really thinks of GOP head honchos. Here’s an except from the book discussing involvement in the scandalous firing of Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten:
And while I had heretofore avoided implicating Todd Palin, continuing to do so was going to be increasingly difficult. For anyone to suggest that his unrelenting goal was not to destroy Wooten, including having him dismissed as a state trooper, would seem on face to be ludicrous.
For days, Sarah, Todd, and the administration spokespersons continued to deny any connection with Monegan and Trooper Wooten. It was as if all those meetings between Todd and me had never existed. In their alternate version of reality, Todd hadn’t hand delivered photos, articles, or so-called testimonials of Trooper Wooten’s misdeeds, nor had he repeatedly instructed me to forward that information to people in government on his behalf. He conveniently forgot about relaying the results of the investigation of Wooten to members of the media.
What I didn’t understand was why Sarah simply didn’t say, “Yes, one of the reasons I let Walt go was that we had rogue troopers—including Trooper Wooten—who had no business wearing a badge or carrying a gun.” All she had to do was release everything that she and her husband had compiled on the guy. Who in their right mind wouldn’t agree with her? Sarah’s sister Molly seemed to understand the soundness of this strategy best. She phoned me shortly after one of my disastrous press interviews to remind me that Wooten had recently threatened, “Get ready for the show! I’m gonna take down your sister.” She believed that if all the dirty laundry were aired, the story would have a satisfactory conclusion.
Just before Chuck Kopp was forced to resign and muddy the waters even further, Assistant Attorney General Mike Barnhill interviewed me. I candidly told him everything I could remember, leaving nothing out about Todd, Sarah, Tibbles, Monegan, and Wooten. Afterward, Sarah and Kris Perry immediately asked about the interview. I shared all. They seemed nervous, and I could almost hear them thinking through their own stories so as to avoid contradicting anything I’d said.
The following day, Acting Chief of Staff Nizich summoned me. My name was being bandied about as the key player in the Get-Wootenfired saga. Dan Fagan incessantly hammered me on the radio, while the television stations rolled unflattering clips of me stumbling through interviews. Lack of sleep, concern for my governor, feelings of guilt, and grief for the pain I was causing my family translated into a gnawing in my gut as I entered Nizich’s office. Without much fanfare, he told me that they had become aware of my conversation with Lieutenant Rodney Dial back in February. As I’d already told them all about it, I wondered what the big deal was. Then he launched his uppercut: “The call was taped.”
As he began playing the six-month-old recording, I had to admit the conversation sounded bad. All of the administration’s protests about never pressuring Monegan were about to be dashed, and I was to blame. Not because I was alone in doing what the first family wanted me to do but because I’d been recorded doing what the first family wanted me to do.
Once we’d listened to the entire conversation, Nizich said in his best prosecutorial voice, “Frank, you say that others shouldn’t do anything to embarrass the governor. Well, this will be highly embarrassing to her.”
Yeah, this was embarrassing, but the reasons went far beyond me. Even while Sarah swore that nobody put pressure on Monegan, she knew of my call because I’d told her about it only a day or two earlier. Sarah made the decision to misrepresent the truth, not me. I said nothing in my defense, though, because inconvenient facts were not on today’s menu.
“Did the governor ask you to make this call?” he asked.
Nizich asked why I felt compelled to suggest that I was speaking on behalf of the governor. I said it was a stupid mistake. He wanted to know how I had all this information. “Did you ever see Wooten’s personnel file?”
With that question, there was no longer any way to protect Todd and, as Nizich was one of our team leaders, I decided to let him fumble around with trying to downplay Todd’s role in all this. “Mike, it came from Todd. Every file, letter, photo, and accusation… every bit of information on Wooten came from Todd. He was aware of this call to Dial, thanked me, and was pleased.