Transparency Recap: The Warming of a Cold Climate with Alleged Corruption Connections & Much More

By Lyle Hickman, VoterWatch Staff

The last time Alaska was mentioned in our Transparency Recap, Senators Ted Stevens and John Cowerdy were named, being brought up on alleged charges of corruption with connections to VECO oils. This time, the CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) blog titled, "Sarah Palin Ran 527, which raised corporate money, for Ted Stevens," directs our attention back to Alaska.

First, for those who were oblivious to the news over the past weekend, e.the People's blog "Sarah Palin. A Good Choice?" critiques Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain's newly announced, official running mate, Governor Sarah Palin. By questioning her experience, moral standing, and identity as a woman, the blog raises several interesting points:

She's got very little experience & hardly anyone knows her. I'd never heard of her before 2006 when she was elected governor in Alaska... Does anybody really think Palin's gonna draw disappointed Clinton supporters to McCain?... She's religious, hunts, fishes, & likes baseball. She's pro life (& walks her talk, God bless her), anti-gay marriage, pro 2nd Amendment, & pro-business (tho not a pawn). She's got a reputation as a reformer in a corrupt state & is known as a maverick too.

While the above quote is a bit critical of the governor, Palin's perspective can be found on her site, McCain's site, and the GOP site.

Now that we are familiar with Governor Palin, we can return to the CREW blog titled "Sarah Palin Ran 527, which raised corporate money, for Ted Stevens." CREW issued a report called Beyond Delay, "which named the 22 most corrupt members of Congress." Three of the twenty two in Beyond Delay were from Alaska, and Senator Ted Stevens, one of the named members, has had past connections with Vice Presidential Candidate, Governor Palin.

According to a Washington Post Article quoted in CREW blog:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state's political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.

"Palin's relationship with Alaska's senior senator," CREW blog writes, "may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain's running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption."

Palin has publically urged Senator Stevens to come clean, revealing the facts to the public, but "she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically."

Moving on to Washington, today, the United States Department of Justice released a 32-page document detailing Alberto Gonzales' handling of confidential government documents. ProPublica.org's blog titled "DoJ Report: Gonzales 'Violated Basic Dept. Regulations' for Classified Info," focuses on this report.

According to ProPublica, Alberto Gonzales, former United States Attorney General "had taken the notes from his White House office to his house, but didn't store them in a secure safe because he didn't know the combination. And when he returned to the Justice Department, he did not store them in the required special facility for top secret information."

Gonzales's not being able to locate the notes after being requested by the White House Counsel's Office ignited the investigation. The report also mentions Gonzales mishandling of seventeen other confidential documents, but it doesn't mention the investigation of the numerous "firings of the U.S. attorneys and politicization of the department."

The report says, "Like all other Department employees, Gonzales was responsible for safeguarding classified materials, familiarizing himself with the facilities available to him in the OAG for storing these materials, and observing the rules and procedures for the proper handling of classified documents."

This security breach of having top secret documents mishandled was referred by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine to the National Security Division of the department, but the prosecutors in the department turned down actions to bring any charges against former Attorney General Gonzales.

The fiasco taking place outside of the Republican National Convention is highlighted in the Talking Points Memo's Cafe (TPM) blog titled "Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC; Reports of Tear Gassing." "Journalist Amy Goodman has been arrested in St. Paul, Minnesota," TPM writes. Founder of I-Witness, Eileen Clancy was also arrested and her crew of journalists, engineers and camera crew were handcuffed as the police waited for a search warrant. According to TPM, "Clancy states she and her team were surrounded in the house they were staying at in St. Paul before they had the chance to video tape any protests."

Here is a video of the arrest of Amy Goodman and protesters of the RNC running for clean air as tear gas is deployed. Overall, hundreds of individuals were arrested -- some for throwing bleach and turning violence (not Goodman, of course).

All Things Whistleblower's blog "More Bad News from Environmental Reports" cites the environmental decay affecting the polar ice caps. According to All Things Whistleblower, "Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second-lowest level since record-keeping began three decades ago...a revelation underscoring how rapidly climate change is transforming ecosystems in northern latitude." This attributes to endangering the habitat for arctic creatures such as polar bears. All Things Whistleblower writes, "A recent federal aerial survey found nine polar bears swimming in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, with one at least 60 miles from shore...By comparison, federal scientists spotted a total of 12 polar bears swimming in the open ocean between 1987 and 2003..Yikes."

Yikes indeed. Yikes...