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Wasilla Debunking Kit (The Truth About Another Palin Smear)
National Review ^ | September 23, 2008, | Jim Geraghty

Posted on 09/23/2008 2:05:39 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Liberal bloggers have cited the story of Wasilla charging victims for rape kits as evidence that as mayor, Sarah Palin backed cruel and insensitive policies. But just about everything we know from initial accounts of this controversy is wrong.

When the practice came to light, the state passed a law banning it, and the minutes from the state-legislature committees reveal several missing details. Among them:

1.Wasilla was not mentioned in any of the hearings. In a conference call with reporters earlier this month, Tony Knowles (the man Palin beat in her governor’s race) claimed Wasilla was the lone town with the practice. This isn’t true, but he was far from alone in saying or implying this.

Part of the blame goes to the controversy-launching article from the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, which declares, “While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.”

It makes sense for a local paper to focus on the story’s local angle, but this falsely implies Wasilla was an outlier. In fact, at a Finance Committee hearing, Representative Gail Phillips (R., Homer) “read for the record, a statement from a woman in Juneau who had experienced the charges as indicated.” Compare Juneau (population 30,711 in 2000) to Wasilla (population 5,469).

The Democratic sponsor of the legislation, Eric Croft, told USA Today recently that “the law was aimed in part at Wasilla, where now-Gov. Sarah Palin was mayor.” Yet in six committee meetings, Wasilla was never mentioned, even when the discussion turned to the specific topic of where victims were being charged. (The Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the surrounding region — the most densely populated region of the state, and roughly the size of West Virginia — is mentioned in passing.) Croft testified at the hearing where Phillips read the Juneau woman’s statement, so he must have known that it was a problem well beyond Palin’s jurisdiction, even if he chose not to tell USA Today about it.

2. The deputy commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety told the State Affairs Committee that he has never found a police agency that has billed a victim. In light of Wasilla’s low number of rapes according to available FBI statistics (one to two per year, compared to Juneau’s 30-39), and the fact that the Wasilla Finance Department cannot find any record of charging a victim for a rape kit, it is entirely possible that no victim was ever charged.

Del Smith, the state’s deputy commissioner at the Department of Public Safety, testified in support of the rape-kit-charging-ban legislation during multiple hearings. During one, state representative Jeannette James asked if she “understood correctly that Mr. Smith is saying that the department has never billed a victim for exams.”

Smith replied that “the department might have been billed, but he has not found any police agency that has ever billed a victim.”

To clarify: In preparation to attend a hearing and support the bill, one of the state’s top law-enforcement officials found no case of a rape victim ever being charged. And roughly a month after 30 Democratic lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers, not to mention reporters from every major news agency in the country, landed in Alaska, we still have no instances to consider.

The allegation against Palin in the nation’s most widely distributed paper a couple weeks ago — “An aide to a Democratic state legislator tells USA Today that women in Wasilla did pay out of pocket for their rape kits” — is clearly not sufficient, considering the gravity of the charge, the obvious motive to paint Palin badly, and the lack of any corroborating evidence.

3. Three times, witnesses told the committees that hospitals were responsible for passing the bill on to victims, not police agencies. If the bill went straight from the hospital to the victim, without ever being sent to the police department, this would explain why no confirming paperwork could be found in the Wasilla Finance Department. This information also fortifies Palin’s claim that she was never aware of the policy, as it is more plausible that a mayor would not be aware of a private hospitals’ billing policy than of the police department’s billing policy.

Lauree Hugonin, director of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, spoke at several committee meetings. She noted in response to Smith’s comment that while he had not found an instance where law enforcement has forwarded a bill, “hospitals have. It has happened in the Mat-Su Valley, on the Kenai Peninsula, and in Southeast, and that is why the bill is being brought forward.”

At another hearing, Hugonin said, “these charges occur as a result of hospital accounting procedures. The range of costs can be from between $300 and $1,000. The direct charges usually result from the accounting procedures at the hospitals and not the law enforcement agencies. She noted that there has been some difficulty in Mat-Su, Anchorage, Kenai and Sitka, and possibly in Bethel.”

Also at one of the meetings, Trisha Gentile, executive director of the Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, said some Alaska hospitals “have chosen to separate some of the costs of sexual-assault exams. Hospitals are adding sexually-transmitted-disease (STD) and blood tests to the cost of sexual-assault exams, and the hospital makes a choice to bill the victim for those charges. Police departments are willing to pay for sexual assault exams, but it is an internal decision on the part of the hospital as to who pays the hospital bill.”

From the beginning, the story didn’t seem to add up. Nothing in Sarah Palin’s background suggested a callousness to rape victims; it seemed particularly unlikely that a female mayor would support such a bad policy. Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella told USA Today in an e-mail that the governor “does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test.”

In recent days, some conservative bloggers have noted the strange coincidence of the same anti-Palin smears showing up on liberal blogs at the same time, suggesting some sort of coordination — and have wondered if it reflected the work of a p.r. firm connected to Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod. On Monday, a p.r. executive who has worked with Democratic campaigns in the past admitted he had created videos that included false charges against Palin, but claimed the Obama campaign had no official or unofficial role in the creation of the video.

Whomever they are, those who spread the lie that Wasilla alone had the rape-kit policy, and the Obama campaign itself, owe Palin an apology.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: mccainpalin; palin; palinattacks; palinping; palinsmears; wasilla

1 posted on 09/23/2008 2:05:39 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
There was another article debunking this story earlier (but not here at FR I think):

If you read that link you'll find a v..e..r..y interesting piece of information. The state of Illinois happens to have just the type of legislation on its books that the tiny, tiny town of Wasilla is accused of having.

Of course this smear story has spread far and wide. The Daily Telegraph displayed it prominently on its web page. I wrote to the editor and asked him to show the link above to his correspondent, and then publish an excuse to the readers and to Governor Palin. Of course nothing has happened but this:

John McCain was 'good kisser' says former Brazilian lover

Not much of a scandal, when you read the story - a young sailor, pilot on a visit to Rio - what do they expect? And McCain has written about it in his memoirs. But what about this last sentence:

The presidential candidate has sometimes struggled to convince social conservatives that he has the religious morals needed to lead Americans.

No bias there, absolutely not, no siree!

2 posted on 09/23/2008 2:18:45 PM PDT by ScaniaBoy (Part of the Right Wing Research & Attack Machine)
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To: nickcarraway

This is yet another calculated, astroturfed SMEAR campaign perpetrated by Obama supporters...the lone source for the smear being a single line in the Frontiersman back in 2000 by a reporter who said Wasilla charged for rape kits without offering ANY corroborating evidence or quotes backing up this assertion. That reporter, Jo C. Goode, hasn’t written a single word since then about victims of rape in Wasilla being charged for rape kits. I’d LOVE for someone to actually trackdown Ms. Goode and ask her to clarify some of the info that’s missing from that 2000 article, like whether or not the city of Wasilla ever actually charged ANYONE, ever, for a rape kit.

There’s great info about the rape kit smear on the Confederate Yankee’s blog; if any FReepers would like to post their feelings on the blog of one of the early instigators of this smear (she claims to have been the first to “break” the rape kit non-story, and is giddy with the fact that it was picked up by CNN), that would be the Op Edna blog.

Feel free to let her know how you feel.

3 posted on 09/23/2008 2:19:51 PM PDT by voxitar (McCain/Sarah-cuda 2008!)
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To: nickcarraway

It sounds fake on the face of it.

But the propagandists had a field day with it.

This is the kind of people we are up against.

4 posted on 09/23/2008 2:21:42 PM PDT by marron
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To: nickcarraway

I tuned in to CNN briefly this afternoon, they were doing a story on the rape kit controversy. Very biased. You would think Palin was personally responsible not only for the rape kit charges to the victim, but also the higher incidence of rape in Alaska.

5 posted on 09/23/2008 2:28:21 PM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (Where is Michelle Obama? Somewhere a campaign is missing its albatross.)
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To: nickcarraway
I'm sure you lifted this post directly from The Daily Kos and/or DU.


6 posted on 09/23/2008 2:31:16 PM PDT by Yo-Yo
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To: marron

Isn’t there an ad that states this about the rape kits.

7 posted on 09/23/2008 2:37:43 PM PDT by proudtobeanamerican1 (God Bless Sarah Palin and her Family.)
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To: nickcarraway

I’m six paragraphs into this, but still can’t figure out what the controversy is....hows about some context?

I take it Dems are mad about “rape kits” and Wasilla. There isn’t even a hospital in Wasilla, is there? What’s the controversy, was Palin supposed to hand them out at City Hall or what?

8 posted on 09/23/2008 3:18:46 PM PDT by cookcounty ("A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built." ---Governor Sarah Palin)
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To: cookcounty

“What’s the controversy, was Palin supposed to hand them out at City Hall or what?”

I just had a ‘discussion’ with a lib about this. They are charging that because Sarah Palin ‘makes’ women pay for their own rape kits, those who can’t afford to are not reporting rapes. Ergo, women are being abused by not being able to report rape because they can’t afford the rape kit. And what kind of a woman wouldn’t support other women in finding their rapist? And supposedly Alaska has a high number of rapes but I didn’t bother to look that one up.

That’s what I was told. Let me clarify loudly it is NOT what I believe and it was one of those libs who took The One’s advice and was in my face without even trying to let me explain.

People keep telling me this is politics, but I think it’s unprecedented and certainly the most vile brand of politics I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, my extended family of Democrats - except for two - are voting for McCain! Because they are in the rustbelt I’m sure it will be blamed on racism but they are disgusted and oh by the way, they are all union folk. You know, those typical bitter kind. :)

9 posted on 09/23/2008 3:40:53 PM PDT by JavaJumpy (CNN - Hey Soledad, it's CaroLINE Kennedy, not CaroLYN Kennedy.)
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To: ScaniaBoy
Not much of a scandal, when you read the story - a young sailor ........

Thomas Haggen in his classic book "Mr Roberts" had a similar tale of a young, very religious and clean cut sailor going on liberty somewhere in the South Pacific.

He wound up spending three days with the town's aristocratic beauty. She delivered him to the ship just as liberty expired.

The crew of the USS Reluctant was stunned by the young man's success.

Incidentally, this was one of the best books to come out of World War 2.

10 posted on 09/23/2008 4:07:23 PM PDT by Ole Okie
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To: nickcarraway
Seems that former DEMAGOGUE Governor Tony Knowles had a lot to do with starting this scurrilous story. Ironically, as a 2-term Governor of Alaska (1994 - 2002) it was Knowles more than anyone who could have pushed for something to be done statewide on this issue. Have any reporters asked him why HE has done nothing on this issue?

[WIKIPEDIA]: "Anthony Carroll Knowles (born January 1, 1943 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is an American Democratic politician and businessman who served as Governor of Alaska from December 1994 to December 2002. Barred from seeking a third consecutive term as governor in 2002, he ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2004 and again for governor in 2006."

11 posted on 09/23/2008 4:35:36 PM PDT by Enchante (OBAMAGATE: Iraqi Foreign Minister Says Obama Tried to Derail Agreement on Troop Withdrawals!!!)
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To: nickcarraway
The real problem is that the police chief appointed by Palin put up a vocal fight against a change to state law that would prohibit charging victims for rape kits:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's hometown required women to pay for their own rape examinations while she was mayor, a practice her police chief fought to keep as late as 2000.
Former state Rep. Eric Croft, a Democrat, sponsored a state law requiring cities to provide the examinations free of charge to victims. He said the only ongoing resistance he met was from Wasilla, where Palin was mayor from 1996 to 2002.
Unfortunately, the article in the OP does dick all to offset that embarassment.
12 posted on 09/24/2008 6:21:44 AM PDT by steve-b (Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics.)
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