“I’m seriously about ready to lose it,” wrote Sarah Palin on July 21, 2008, 10 days after firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, amid allegations in a case later known as “Troopergate.”
“I have been on the phone for two solid hours tonight on this alone. lt’s ridiculus [sic].”
Monegan was not going quietly, and Megan Holland, a reporter from the Anchorage Daily News, had asked Palin’s staff for a response to Monegan’s contention that the governor had met with him only a handful of times during his tenure. Palin was hellbent on disproving that, but the reporter’s deadline was looming.
Time was running out, and Palin was having trouble getting her staff to craft the statement she wanted her name on.
“I hope you reminded them of every cabinet meeting, every reception, every trip, phone call and face-to-face that I had with Walt,” Palin emailed her top staffers. “There will be many, many instances to cite. Again, Walt will be proven to be less than truthful with this latest claim.”
She sent frantic emails to her scheduler, Janice Mason.
“Janice—as scheduler pls verify the four (or are there more?) trips walt and I took together.”
But Mason replied that she could not verify the exact number of trips without looking at “the whole scheduling file ... I can not get into the calendar system...without going into the office and looking through the hard copies.”
Palin’s deputy chief of staff, Randall Ruaro, was working on the statement, Palin was told. It would go out under the name of her spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton. But when the statement did go out, it was a slightly different version than the one Palin had approved.
“That is not Meg Stapleton’s statement!!!” wrote Palin. “What happened??? I approved meg’s emphatic statement...Why did a different one get sent???”
Palin had wanted the statement to include the names of the small towns and villages she had visited with Monegan: “During those trips to Bethel, New Stu (twice), and Dillingham, we also spent our days together,” the statement was supposed to say. “That’s in addition to every cabinet meeting, every reception, other trips, and phone calls that l’ve personally had with Walt.”
But the list of towns was missing.
“We only have one chance to get the truth out there!” she wrote.
It appears that as time ran out, Palin took matters into her own hands.
“What’s Megan’s phone number,” she asked, and called the reporter herself.
The emails had begun pinging before 5 p.m.
Finally, at 10:47 p.m. Palin wrote: “I just talked to [the reporter] holland on the phone...she says she’ll try to get it online...pray that it goes in the paper too (she doubted that). She was shocked to hear of cabinet meetings, three trips sitting by him to rural communities, etc.”
The following day, Holland’s story recounted Monegan’s claim that he’d met with Palin “one-on-one four times in 17 months.”
“She’s a busy lady,” he was quoted as saying.
Palin, wrote Holland, “vigorously disputed that.”