Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Open Letter to Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General, Concerning Sarah Palin's Fake-Birth Conspiracy

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Holder:

I am writing to ask your office to determine if there is cause to look into the curious circumstances surrounding the birth of Trig Palin (the baby Sarah Palin claims she delivered on April 18, 2008) in relation to a larger picture that includes the activities of SarahPAC and possible arson-related cases in Wasilla.

As you may know, many questions surround the alleged birth of Trig. I am enclosing an article I wrote that was published on September 20 at The article does a roundup of many of the oddities relating to Palin’s account of how she gave birth to Trig. I want to be clear that I have no specific knowledge of wrongdoing by Sarah Palin or her associates, beyond almost certainly staging a birth hoax. And the evidence for that is circumstantial but overwhelming.

Nonetheless, if Palin lied about giving birth to Trig, then she arguably committed a kind of fraud against the American people, because that alleged birth became a central plank of her political identity. By itself, that apparent lie perhaps broke no laws. I am wondering, however, if a lie in that circumstance might be seen as part of a web of factors that warrant considering whether RICO or similar statutes might apply.

I think that after reviewing the facts in my attached article, you will agree that the only possible explanation for Palin to fly 3,000-plus miles on April 17, 2008, to an inadequately equipped medical facility while allegedly in labor with a premature special-needs child was to stage a hoax.

Perhaps you are aware that a church Palin attended, the Wasilla Bible Church, was set on fire on December 12, 2008. People at blog sites speculated that the fire may have been set to destroy records relating to Trig, such as adoption records, but offered no evidence. Then the following month, a woman named Darlene “Dar” Miller died in a fire at her home in Wasilla. Bloggers made much of the fact that Miller had been a neonatal nurse but offered no evidence that she had been connected to the Palins.

Unexplained questions surround those fires. One oddity is that the Wasilla fire chief told reporters that Miller seemingly started the fire at her home by smoking – but there is reason to believe she was not a smoker. A woman in Alaska told me that when she tried to get access to the investigation records for the Miller fire, she was told they had been turned over to the Wasilla police department and were not available to the public.

I’m not going to suggest theories here. The fact that those two fires happened so soon after the 2008 presidential election in a small community, with one fire involving a church frequented by Palin, should by itself spark the interest of law enforcement officials on various levels.

You also perhaps know about SarahPAC. It has collected millions in donations since it was created in 2009. I have no idea if its spending would pass an audit. I understand the PAC hired her parents for certain services, and there may be nothing irregular in that, or in her bus tour/vacation last summer, where Paul Revere became a subject of interest.

A cursory examination of the PAC’s filings with the FEC and that agency’s requests for additional information suggests there may be significant questions relating to the actual recipients of large amounts of money. Of particular interest might be Pie-Spy LLC, a marketing firm started by Sarah Palin herself that allegedly provides marketing services for the elderly.

My question is whether all the above, taken together, would seem to warrant a closer look at what happened with Trig’s birth. The central hypothesis might be that Palin used a hoax to create a political persona that then enabled her to enrich herself. It can be documented that Palin in many venues since 2008 has repeated the lie that she gave birth to Trig (although sometimes changing facts, such as what city the birth took place in).

A strong case could be made that the frequent repetition of the lie was meant to enable her to continue soliciting millions of dollars in contributions. What seemed especially egregious, from the standpoint of bilking donors, was Palin’s stringing out her decision concerning whether she was going to run for president. Her daughter Bristol said in late June that Palin had already made up her mind. But in late September, SarahPAC sent out a letter that said:

“Gov. Palin is on the verge of making her decision of whether or not to run for office. It’s one of the most difficult and important decisions of her life. And I want her to know that she has our support … Send your best, one-time gift to SarahPAC today to help her elect more common-sense conservatives – and show her that we support her if she decides to run."

I am enclosing copies of letters I have sent to John R. Lee, CEO of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, where Palin claims she gave birth to Trig; and Wayne T. Smith, President and CEO of Community Health Systems (Mat-Su’s parent company), Franklin, TN 37067.

About me: I am a concerned citizen who has done considerable research on Sarah Palin's alleged birth of Trig Palin. I am, on behalf of the public, seeking to find the truth in this matter. As a professor at a public university, I believe my job encompasses contributing to the public welfare in this manner.

Sincerely yours,

Brad Scharlott, PhD

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chuck & Sally Heath, Sarah Palin's Parents, Most Likely Were Part of the Birth Hoax Conspiracy – Here's How They May Have Staged It 

KatieAnnieOakley says ...
The more I think about it, there more I think she never stepped foot in that hospital that night or day. Remember, EVERYONE still thought Sarah was in TEXAS. 

Most likely nobody stepped foot in that hospital until shortly before Sally & Chuck were interviewed late Saturday morning. A hallway with no patients was used. I also don't think Levi was there at daybreak. It's the middle of the morning. Breakfast is done, meds have been passed out, beds are made, lunch isn't coming for another hour or so, and only two patients are birthing babies - it's a slow time in the hospital, before lunch. Trust me, if I had Frequent Patient Miles, I'd be WEALTHY. Hospitals are DEAD on weekend late mornings. Physicians come and go, and CBJ in the maternity ward could go down a hall with a nod and a hello - she had privileges after all. "Hi guys - just getting ready for an interview. Do you have an empty room we could use?" Levi strolls into the hospital with a gym bag... and opens a door for the Heaths because THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED walking through the front door. 

Or, the Heaths could have exploited their stature in the valley: they could have walked right through the front door, saying they were there for an interview. REMEMBER: Sarah, as everyone "thinks" they know, is STILL in Texas. Sally used to be on the board (maybe she still was at that time) so they would defer to her. Oh, yeah - she's also the GOVERNORS MOM. They could freely set up the scene with the TV crew and run with it - cause Sarah's still in Texas... 

And, I'm now fairly certain Chuck knew about what was going on at some point; he could see his daughter not growing bigger, as she had done with her previous 4 pregnancies. Bristol had delivered Trig weeks / months earlier. "Its how its gotta be, dad". It also explains his over-indulgence in the details of leaking amniotic fluid: say anything to get the media off his back and out-of-his-face, particularly if its off-putting to delicate mores (talking about "woman things"), to get the questioner to back-off. It also sounded "credible" - to a man. It also explains his hostile, in-your-face defensive belligerence later when asked about Palin faking her pregnancy: "You can't prove that!" He fairly spit that statement out. He was incensed, and it just bubbled up to his mouth and came out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Was Sarah Palin officially at the Mat-Su hospital April 18, 2008? 

Yesterday I reached the conclusion that Sarah Palin probably never officially got a room at the Mat-Su hospital on the day she claims to have given birth, April 18, 2008. And it's just not clear whether she was actually at the hospital at all that day.

In her autobiography she claims she and Todd arrived at the hospital quite late on April 17, after the 3,000 mile trip from Texas. This seems like a lie. If she did not officially get a room, where would she have slept? Of course, a hospital official could have given her access to an empty room unofficially, but what would have been the point? She and Todd lived close to the hospital and would have been more comfortable at home.

Yesterday I wrote that Andrew Sullivan anonymously quoted a journalist who I assumed was Lori Tipton of KTUU saying she saw Palin at the hospital. That indeed was Tipton he quoted, but she did not say she saw Palin. Here is the full quote:

"Sarah [Palin] was in another room, and they said that she was sleeping when we arrived.  And so, we got a little bit of footage of Sally [Heath] holding Trig, and Chuck [Heath] standing next to her. And Bristol [Palin] was in there, and I said to Bristol, "We should get some footage of you and your brother and your grandparents." And she’s like, "No I really don’t like to be photo-graphed." And I said, "Are you sure?"  And she’s like, "Yeah, yeah, no."  And she didn’t have any make-up on or anything, but she was dressed in typical teenage attire, a tight shirt, low-cut jeans, you know, and we had heard the rumors before the delivery of this baby also, that Bristol was pregnant, and so, when my photographer and I got to the hospital and we saw her, I thought, well, clearly there’s no way that that girl just delivered a baby seven hours ago."

I'm guessing Tipton had been tipped off about the hoax before she arrived that day, and that in the quote above she's doing her darnedest to help back up Palin's story without telling an outright lie that could bite her later. (If you think about it, how could any real reporter who watched Palin's shape-shifting over the previous six weeks not know about the hoax?) So she stated as a fact that Palin was in another room, not qualifying the statement by saying that she was merely told Palin was there, and then focused on Bristol's appearance as a way to negate the birth hoax rumors. 

As I said yesterday, it would have been terribly risky to let Tipton into that maternity suite without prepping her first – how else to keep her from asking why a supposedly four-weeks premature baby who should have been in a sterile environment wasn't – and I'm guessing McAllister and Palin decided it would be best to bring Tipton in on the scheme, on the theory she would then do all she could to help them. Likewise, if Tipton's cameraman was Carpenter, he probably already was in the know, as I have explained in earlier posts. (Incidentally, Palin worked as a sports anchor for KTUU in 2008, so her connection to the station was long-standing.)

That leaves Frank Bailey as the only non-family or quasi-family (i.e., Levi) member I am aware of who says he saw Palin at Mat-Su that day. Here is what incisive commenter Ivyfree wrote about Bailey and his book yesterday:

"I never trusted Bailey, and I don't believe his alleged regrets and spiritual renewal stuff, either. He wrote a whole book to show what he was willing to do for Palin, including lying and taking the blame for her behavior, and it all sounds like all she'd have to do is call him and he'd be right back doing the same thing. He said he saw Sarah at the hospital, and Bristol, and that Bristol hadn't given birth that day, but he didn't say that Sarah had. No: that whole section of Bailey's book is written in such a way that when the truth comes out, he can make it work for either side of the issue."

I don't trust Bailey either. In his book he backs up the idea that Sarah gave birth to Trig, but he provides lots of evidence that suggests just the opposite – especially that Palin and her staff, himself included, spent a tremendous amount of time trying to rebut the rumors that Bristol gave birth to Trig instead of just doing the obvious: producing the birth certificate. So he makes himself look either hopelessly obtuse or willfully ignorant.

Still, there was no clear reason for him to say he saw Palin at the hospital if he did not. And there is no clear reason for Palin to avoid being at the hospital from early morning on that day. After all, by being on hand she could better react to unfolding events. What I suspect is true is that Palin indeed was in an adjoining room as the interview took place and perhaps throughout the day until the family left en mass – but that she was not in bed and made no effort to look like she had just given birth. So I also think that if Bailey saw her that day, he did so as one who was fully in the know of what was happening.

Let's examine the pros and cons of Palin checking into the hospital and getting a room vs. just appropriating an unused maternity suite with the help of an insider. If she checked in to a maternity suite, there would be significant expenses that could not legally be covered by insurance – and the Palins were not rich at that time. Moreover, keeping a lid on all possible leaks would have been more difficult. For example, the custodial crew that got the sheets from Palin's bed would know no birth took place – and folks at that level perhaps feel less bound by HIPAA than nurses and doctors. Also, checking in would leave a longer paper trail and thus involve more employees who might spill the beans.

On the con side, not checking in and not officially getting a room meant Sarah could not pose as a beaming mother in bed holding her newborn; the conspirators decided they would take that hit, and no such pictures have ever surfaced. Also, staging any pictures of Trig would entail risk. They apparently could not appropriate a cradle or an incubator in the newborn section, so they had to show off Trig in a place he did not belong. And because of that, they probably had to take Lori Tipton into their confidence. But because she was quite young (like Gusty), they probably figured they could seduce and control her with the promise of future access to the governor.

There's one more thing I'd like to note. Someone at Mat-Su seemingly put his (or her) foot down and said, in effect, we will go along with this charade so far, but not to the point of committing outright fraud on Palin's behalf. At one point, Trig Palin's name seemingly appeared on the hospital’s newborns web page, but then got yanked. Someone had searched the underlying html code of the newborns page and Trig's name appeared. However, those who searched in the usual way found nothing. A programmer at another site explained that the page would "remember" all names that had been on it, even if one got deleted.

It's hard to know for sure, but my take is this: one of the Palins or maybe their Mat-Su insider friend requested that Trig's name and picture go on the web page, and that happened for a short while – but when someone high up, maybe the top administrator, saw what had happened, he yanked it. So someone apparently was not afraid to say no to Sarah.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Was Sarah Palin ever at the Mat-Su hospital on April 18, 2008? Maybe not–at least not officially

Well, I feel like an idiot. After writing most of a column on what must have happened before and after Sarah Palin arrived at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center the day she claimed to give birth there, the likely truth hit me in the face like a wet mackerel. 

I’m surely not the first person to hypothesize this – it’s too obvious – but what if Sarah Palin never stepped foot in the Mat-Su hospital on April 18? What do we know for certain? We (seemingly) know that Palin's parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, were there on April 18, because they appeared in a KTUU-TV newscast that day holding Trig. We can dissect that shortly.
But first, something that has always bothered me is the lack of photographic evidence that Sarah Palin was at the hospital. If she in fact had a room, why wouldn’t she get into bed, muss up her hair, and get her picture taken holding Trig?
Correct me if I am wrong, but there are no reliable eyewitness accounts of Sarah Palin being in the hospital at all – right? Nor, as far as I recall, is there any other kind of evidence, documentary or otherwise, that she ever stepped foot in the hospital that weekend.

        Another possibility is that Palin was at the hospital, but never actually got a room. In that case, the point would be that she was never officially at the hospital. More on that possibility later.
Now, back to that KTUU-TV newscast. Where was Bill McAllister working on April 18? – KTUU, of course! My last post is about how McAllister was probably a central figure in the hoax. And I pointed out how he, with the help of KTUU cameraman Dan Carpenter, probably took the Gusty-interview photos of Palin looking more pregnant than ever before, which were later used to quash rumors of the faked pregnancy.
Is it just a coincidence that (1) McAllister, who likely signed a contract in early April to become Palin's PR secretary, worked at KTUU, and that (2) KTUU was the only news organization in town tipped off that baby Trig was at the hospital just waiting to be videotaped? I don't think so. In fact, the odds seem excellent that McAllister, fully aware of the unfolding hoax, directed the activities of the KTUU news crew. And who was in that news crew? Lori Tipton was the reporter, and I would not be surprised if Carpenter was the cameraman, since he already must have known some of the details about the hoax. 
What do we know about Lori Tipton? Andrew Sullivan wrote a few years back that he spoke to a journalist anonymously who said she walked into Palin’s room at the hospital that day and saw Palin in bed; I always assumed that was Tipton, since no other journalist seems to have been there that day. And I always wondered about the truthfulness of that comment, since no one outside Palin's family and Levi (a compromised source), has claimed to have seen Palin in bed  at Mat-Su (or at least that is my memory – correct me if I am wrong).
Still, in fairness to Tipton, let me stress that this is just a hypothesis. But let’s assume that Sarah Palin never got a maternity suite at Mat-Su. Let’s also assume that Bill McAllister directed the KTUU news team to go to the Mat-Su facility, and further that he either let them know about the hoax or at least placed strict limits on the questions they could ask the Heaths.
So, for example, maybe he told Tipton not to ask why, if Trig was four weeks premature, he wasn't in an incubator or at a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. There would have been no good answers to such questions.
Since there is no compelling evidence to the contrary, I am inclined to think Sarah Palin was never there that weekend – or if she was, she had not officially checked into a room. If I am right about that, then a key question becomes: How is it that the Heaths came to be in a maternity suite holding Trig that day? Well, they could have just walked in and found an empty suite, and invited the news crew in. After all, Sally Heath, like Sarah, was a former member of the hospital's board, and maybe she had the clout to do something like that. 
But that seems like it would have been too risky – what if an employee who did not know Sally asked what they were doing? What seems more likely, if Sarah Palin did not actually get a room, is that an insider at Mat-Su made arrangements for the Heaths to temporarily be given access to an empty maternity suite, and later to have the news crew taken to that suite. If that is what happened, it would explain why Sarah Palin absolutely had to get back to her hometown the night of April 17 – no other hospital would let itself be used that way.
Again, the key point isn't whether Sarah Palin was there or not there – rather, whether she truly checked into a room or not. If she got a room, there would have been bills, plus records of various sorts, etc. Thus, not getting a room would have been very attractive both because it would be cheaper and would eliminate paperwork that could prove troublesome.
A commenter below writes that Frank Bailey said in his book that he saw Palin at the hospital. Was she in bed? If so, that would imply she had checked in. Or was she just sitting or standing somewhere? In that case, maybe she was "trespassing" in a room, but with the knowledge and tacit permission of a Mat-Su insider. Of course, Bailey could have lied. He strikes me as less than trustworthy insofar as Babygate is concerned.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can Sarah Palin and employees of the
Mat-Su medical facility be found guilty of criminal conspiracy? Most definitely.

Here is the relevant federal law:
US Code 
Title 18 Crimes and Criminal Procedure 

§ 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.

How are U.S. attorneys to interpret that law? The United States
 Manual, deals with that question at length here:
The summary statement at the end that section says those activities that fall under 18 U.S.C. § 371 affect the government in at least one of three ways:

1.              They cheat the government out of money or property;
2.              They interfere or obstruct legitimate Government activity; or
3.              They make wrongful use of a governmental instrumentality.

Is a community hospital that takes Medicare and Medicaid payments a “government instrumentality”? Of course it is.

So let’s review. Somebody at the Mat-Su medical facility allowed Sarah Palin to obtain a maternity suite late in the evening on April 17, 2008. Palin did not give birth, and the top administrators at Mat-Su surely knew that. Palin the next day sent out a press release on official letterhead of the office of the governor claiming she gave birth, when in fact she had not.

The statute says a crime is committed if “two or more persons conspire … to commit any offense against the United States …” Palin announced she was seven months pregnant on March 5, the day after McCain wrapped up the nomination for the Republican Party, even though, almost comically, a reporter wrote of her that day, “the governor … simply doesn’t look pregnant.” Moreover, this AP picture of her appeared on March 14 showing her without the least sign of pregnancy:

A strong case can be made that the intent of the fraud was to fool McCain, the Republican Party, and the American people to allow Palin to become, by means of an elaborate hoax, the vice president of the United States. Can this hoax therefore be construed as “an offense against the United States?”

It damned well should be construed that way! The Feds have a far more compelling, not to mention fantastically newsworthy, case against Palin than they had against John Edwards – and he's going to trial on felony charges.

So who exactly was the top administrator at Mat-Su on April 18, 2008? Sir, get yourself a lawyer.

Was Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson on hand at the hospital that day? Doesn’t matter, really – her public comments make her part of whatever happened. I would hate to think of her facing criminal conspiracy charges, but she and her lawyers need to think very carefully about her options, as long as she still has some.

And now it’s time for the U.S. attorney in Anchorage, Karen L. Loeffler, to move forward on this. (In fact, I have reason to believe she is already preparing her case.)

Sarah: Talk to your lawyers. Find a way to come clean before the Feds come after you ... before they start looking at where all that SarahPAC money went.

Anyone with information relevant to this case, please send it to: Mary Francis Rook, FBI, Special Agent in Charge, 101 E. Sixth Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501,, (907) 276-4441.

Sarah Palin's masterpiece of deception: the announcement of Trig's birth

Last week I pointed out how Palin's office sent out a press release concerning Trig's alleged birth on April 18, 2008 at Mat-Su Regional Medical Facility. That document was a masterpiece of falsehood. Here it is again:

Excuse me for repeating myself, but many will be reading about this for the first time. For the the sake of argument, I want you to assume that Trig was born in late January or early February (quite prematurely) to Bristol in Anchorage. If we assume that, can we pin down Sarah on even a single lie in the above? Amazingly, the answer is, "No."

Sarah and Todd "welcomed the arrival" of Trig – that could simply mean that Bristol's betrothed, Levi (to select someone at random), brought Trig from a hospital in Anchorage (or, say, from a nurse's house in Wasilla) to the Mat-Su hospital, where Palin in her autobiography claimed Trig was born. No clear lie there.

We read above that Palin's "labor began yesterday ... but let up enough for her to travel." She gave a speech and finished it. Thus her labor (meaning giving a speech) began, and then it let up (she finished the speech!), which allowed her to travel more than 3,000 miles on two long flights. Which kind of labor was she referring to? Would any sane woman get on a plane for such a trip after birth contractions had started? Of course not. And, in that same vein of hoodwinking, she got to the Mat-Su facility in time to "deliver" (i.e., present to her parents) the infant. (By the way, Laura Sullivan interviewed a neonatologist who quite positively stated that the baby the Heaths showed off to local media on April 18 was not a newborn – see

What else? Oh, Trig "was born at 6:30 a.m." – but on what day? And for that matter, where? The PR release does not say.

And, finally, for good measure, who is the source of the long direct quote near the end? We really don't know, because "the family" released that statement. Were they all talking in unison? Not satisfied with the layer of deception she positioned between herself and potential prosecutors, Palin took the additional precaution of not attributing any words directly to herself.

Last spring I showed this news release to Greg DeBlasio, a public relations professor and longtime PR practitioner who teaches in my department at Northern Kentucky University. He was flabbergasted. He could not figure out why anyone would send out such a bizarre  birth announcement. I had not "decoded" the whole thing at that time, so I just pointed out to him the obvious evasions of truth.

But now that I "get it" – that the whole thing is a giant falsehood filled with double entendres – I am filled with awe. Sarah: Way to go! You are a world-class liar! You get the gold medal.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

SarahPAC spent an incredible 95% – over $1.5 million – of all donations in first half of 2011 on operating expenses; the Feds need to investigate this outrageous farce

I'm still working out my thoughts concerning what actionable offenses Sarah Palin may have committed by perpetrating the birth hoax. I'll get back to that soon.
But, related to that, I wanted to get a sense of how financially responsible SarahPAC has been. And guess what: SarahPAC has been breathtakingly piggish in spending donors' contributions on its "operating expenses," a category that includes such costs as fundraising, promotion of the PAC's mission, and staff salaries. Here's how it looks graphically:
This is astonishing. The purpose of a political action committee, according to Wikipedia, is "to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation." And how much did SarahPAC spend in that fashion? A nickel or less out of ever dollar. The "or less" qualifier has to do with how we count that 1 percent in the "other" category – more on that in a minute.

What are normal expenditures? The Southern Poverty Law Center took the Minutemen PAC to task in 2009 for its piggishness regarding operating expenses, saying:

But while the Minuteman PAC spent $1.7 million during the last election cycle (as of Nov. 24), less than 9 cents of every dollar went to help candidates — either directly through contributions or indirectly through advertisements and mailings supporting or opposing specific candidates. By contrast, nine similar PACs spent, on average, nearly four times as much —about 34 cents of every dollar — on contributions to federal campaigns and on materials calling for the election or defeat of particular candidates.

So PACs typically spend about third of their contributions on the purposes that justify their existence – advancing political candidates, causes and the like. (And even that strikes me a pretty paltry.) The Minutemen got spanked for spending about a quarter of that percentage. But SarahPAC takes the Minutemen to school, spending only about half as much as they did out of each dollar contributed.

So where is the fat in SarahPAC's spending? Well, some consultants are very pleased to serve Sarah. By my math, over a quarter of a million dollars – $260,718 – went to folks listed as consultants or to the closely related "scheduling" category. In fact, there were "logistics consultants" in addition to folks doing scheduling – how do those differ? 

As to the "other," category, SarahPAC gave $18,700 to the Young America's Foundation, and guess what? She gave a speech before that group in February. Did she speak for free? I doubt it. Does giving PAC money to people who are paying you to speak raise ethical issues? You betcha!

So given that Sarah perhaps found a way to put $18,700 of the PAC's money in her own pocket, I think we can fairly say only 4 percent of the donations went towards the intended purposes of the donors.

What should the U.S. Justice Department make of these startling numbers? I think they should initiate an investigation to make sure none of that $1.5 million made its way back to Sarah's pocket.

Sarah: I'll stop writing about you if you tell the the truth about Trig's birth. Otherwise, Pie Spy LLC, anyone?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Could Sarah Palin and Mat-Su Regional Medical Center be guilty of fraud?

Can a former candidate for president or vice president face criminal charges? You bet. Look at John Edwards right now. He is accused of accepting illegal campaign donations to pay off his mistress.

Could Sarah Palin face criminal charges? Of course she could. But only if a law enforcement agency decided to bring them. And if the Mat-Su medical center or its employees were found to have conspired with Palin in a fraud, could they be criminally liable? I think so.

So what charges might Palin face? Well, fraud comes to mind. According to Wikipedia: "In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain ..."

Faking the birth of Trig meets the requirement of "intentional deception." What about the "personal gain" part? That is tricky. Certainly the U.S. Justice Department (for example) could bring strong case if it could reasonably argue that the baby hoax was done specifically for the purpose of helping make sure Palin would become the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party.

I want to consider the question of fraud in two parts. First, with regard to the moral question; then the legal question.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UPDATED: How the Feds Could Quickly Explode Babygate

It seems obvious to me that the FBI or other federal law-enforcers could instantly blow up the Babygate hoax by simply interviewing under oath anyone connected to it. For example, would Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson perjure herself to keep Sarah's not-so-secret secret? Of course not. Nor Would Palin herself.

So the real question becomes, How could the FBI or any other federal agency justify starting an investigation? I doubt the FBI can willy-nilly pluck folks off the street and interview them based on mere curiosity. What could serve as the basis for starting an inquiry?

In a general sense, you could argue that Palin's lie about Trig's birth was a form of fraud against the American people. And the fact that she falsely announced to the world that she was pregnant on March 5, the day after McCain clinched the nomination, helps make the case that the fraud was specifically intended to deceive in relation to the presidential election.

So in a general sense, I would argue Palin is guilty of fraudulent behavior, both in speech and action, that is reprehensible and deserving of being outed. But, again, do existing laws or accepted legal doctrines provide a hook, a basis for starting an inquiry?

I am not a lawyer, but I had legal training in my doctoral studies and once even published an article in a law journal. So I am comfortable reading statutes, court cases, etc., and figuring out how they might apply. 

For today, I wish to focus on a single federal statute. Read the following:

Now, the language here is fuzzy. There are various ways this federal statute might be read. An expansive reading might be: Any public official who knowingly lies in an official communication could be subject to prosecution under this law. That probably is a novel reading, and you might argue that most courts would probably not go along with it. But that is not the point here. 

The point is, such an expansive reading theoretically could serve as the basis for starting an inquiry and deposing someone under oath. Again, simply questioning someone like CBJ under oath would likely kill the hoax. In fact, if the FBI told Palin they wished to interview her, I imagine she would pre-emptively spill the beans in a public confession.

If we accept my argument above, then we might ask: Has Palin ever in an official "writing" made a false claim relative to Trig's birth? Take a look:

I would call this an official writing. After all, it's on the letterhead of the "Office of the Governor," and it presumably quotes Palin herself. Although, talk about weaseling, note that the attributive phrase above the quote is that "the family released the following statement." 

Even in this, you can see Sarah Palin's careful efforts to create a verbal escape hatch: she avoided directly quoting herself, so she could could later argue that there is no prima facie evidence in the news release that she lied. 

In fact, the wording throughout the press release is designed to allow weaseling. Her "labor" began in Texas but let up – does that mean "birth labor" or "work" as governor in giving a speech? Trig "was born at 6:30 a.m.," but no day is given nor, thanks to the passive voice, is the birth mother named. She arrived in time to "deliver" Trig, but does that mean "give birth to" or simply "present"? The document is a masterpiece in weaselism.

In any event, if you happen to be a federal law enforcer in Alaska, I hope I have provided you with a basis for asking questions.