John Bitney – Sarah Palin’s Trooper-Gate II?

John Bitney is someone definitely worthy of further investigation. I previously discussed Bitney in Part II of my look at the New York Times story Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes.

Bitney has known Sarah Palin since junior high. He served as an independent lobbyist (yes, a lobbyist) before joining Palin’s gubernatorial campaign. Once she took office, Bitney was appointed as her legislative liaison, “responsible for giving priorities to the governor’s legislative agenda.”

So, an independent lobbyist helped set the agenda for the governor of Alaska.

In July, 2007, Bitney suddenly left the governor’s office.

John Bitney leaves governor’s office on eve of new ethics law

Mon, July 9, 2007

One of the Palin administration’s key movers behind the ethics bill — and other major issues during this year’s session — has left government service. John Bitney worked as an independent lobbyist before joining the Palin campaign last year and then continuing as her legislative liaison, responsible for giving priorities to the governor’s legislative agenda.

Curiously, only days later Bitney is hired by Alaska Speaker of the House John Harris utilizing him initially for ‘research on legislative and budget issues.’

Here is the press release from The Anchorage Daily News

New job for Bitney


(PRESS RELEASE BEGINS)
House Speaker Hires John Bitney

(Anchorage) – Speaker of the House John Harris (R-Valdez) today announced that he has hired John Bitney, who until last Friday had served as Legislative Director for Governor Sarah Palin. Harris said Bitney’s duties for the House Majority caucus would initially include research on legislative and budget issues.

“John Bitney has extensive experience with the Legislature, having worked for many years for the late Rep. Ron Larson, former Rep. Terry Martin, and others,” Harris said. “John’s intimate knowledge of state budgets, as well as his recent experience advocating for the Governor’s gas pipeline bill, will be very helpful in the process going forward into the coming legislative sessions.”

Bitney worked with Larson for seven years, including four years when Larson was co-chairman of House Finance, then with Martin for one year, when Martin was chairman of Legislative Budget and Audit. Bitney then went to work as legislative liaison for Alaska Housing Finance Corporation from 1996-2002. After four years working as a lobbyist, he signed on to help Palin win election last year. Since December 2006, he has served as her Legislative Director, but separated from the administration for personal reasons.

Bitney will work out of the Speaker’s Office in the Capitol in Juneau.

This is where the story takes a fascinating turn.

The Palins were not too happy that Bitney landed employment with Speaker Harris.

From the New York Times story:

Last summer State Representative John Harris, the Republican speaker of the House, picked up his phone and heard Mr. Palin’s voice. The governor’s husband sounded edgy. He said he was unhappy that Mr. Harris had hired John Bitney as his chief of staff, the speaker recalled. Mr. Bitney was a high school classmate of the Palins and had worked for Ms. Palin. But she fired Mr. Bitney after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.

“I understood from the call that Todd wasn’t happy with me hiring John and he’d like to see him not there,” Mr. Harris said.

“The Palin family gets upset at personal issues,” he added. “And at our level, they want to strike back.”

Through a campaign spokesman, Mr. Palin said he “did not recall” referring to Mr. Bitney in the conversation.

Notice how the ‘First Dude’ called the Speaker of the House. I find this to be disconcerting.

Todd is a private citizen and from the looks of things, it appeared that this conversation got slightly heated. Did the First Dude threaten the Speaker of the House? This further solidifies the reporting from Cats r Flyfishn in the story Todd Palin, the Shadow Governor.

Todd and Sarah Palin “were upset with me about my divorce and who I was dating and they didn’t want that in the governor’s office. I wanted to stay with the governor and support the governor — we’re talking about someone who’s been a friend for 30 years — but I understood it and I have no ax to grind over the whole thing.” —John Bitney, speaking to Politico.com

For some reason, Sarah and Todd Palin took offense at the affair between John Bitney and Debbie Richter. Richter’s husband Scott Richter is a business partner of the First Dude.

* * * * *

So, this paints a better picture. Scott Richter found out that his wife, Debbie, was having an affair with John Bitney, who worked for Sarah Palin. Richter informed Palin of the affair who promptly fired Bitney.

A few days later, Bitney accepts employment with Alaska Speaker of the House John Harris. Shortly afterward, Todd ‘First Dude’ Palin contacts Speaker Harris and tells him that he is unhappy with the hiring of Bitney.

We also know that Scott Richter and Todd Palin are business associates.

Later Governor Palin says that Bitney was fired for ‘poor job performance.’

* * * * *

If we were only done here. The National Enquirer recently printed a story that Sarah Palin and Scott Richter have had an affair. Of course, the parties involved denied the allegations and John McCain’s campaign is threatening a law suit.

I generally disregard rumors of affairs as well as stories from the National Enquirer. I don’t have to venture too far back into history to realize that the Enquirer has hit it out of the park on this subject. They were spot on with regards to John Edwards and his affair. The MSM ignored this story and even looked the other way. So I have to at least listen to the rumor this time.

Still, we can give them the benefit of the doubt that the affair did not take place. But the rest of the story is so suspicious that you have to wonder why the MSM hasn’t touched it. In preparing my final research for this story, it appears that other bloggers have also completed the circle. Some may have been able to find out exactly what type of business Scott Richter and the First Dude partook in.

Unless that rug has more room to include this story, I suspect we’ll be getting more details in the not so distant future.

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One response to “John Bitney – Sarah Palin’s Trooper-Gate II?

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