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Story Last modified at 10:27 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stoltze pops up in draft Palin book
Folksy Chugiak legislator portrayed as 'political animal'

BY ZAZ HOLLANDER
Alaska Star

photo:News

Stoltze

A draft memoir by an ex-aide to former Gov. Sarah Palin paints a jarring and unflattering portrait of Chugiak Rep. Bill Stoltze.

The unpublished book by Palin insider Frank Bailey depicts Stoltze as an occasionally foul-mouthed player in what Bailey describes as Palin's knowing violation of state election laws.

Circulated widely last week, "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years," was written with Jeanne Devon – author of the anti-Palin Mudflats blog – and Palin critic Ken Morris. The manuscript was apparently leaked without knowledge or permission of its authors or agents.

Bailey, who describes himself as a "'Fox News' conservative," served on Palin's campaign during her successful 2006 run for governor and later joined her staff. He cites "over 60,000 e-mails" between Palin and himself as the basis for the manuscript.

Stoltze factors prominently in one chapter describing Bailey's claims that Palin broke state elections laws by coordinating with the Washington D.C.-based Republican Governors Association during her 2006 campaign against former Gov. Tony Knowles. Outside groups are barred from backing specific candidates in the run-up to Election Day.

Bailey describes Stoltze as a "jovial Drew Carey look-alike on the outside but a cagey Karl Rovian political animal within" – a far cry from the homegrown bachelor most Chugiak residents know more for his conservative values, cookie-baking and regular attendance at community events than any political wheeling and dealing.

Bailey portrays Stoltze as the link between the RGA and Palin's campaign in 2006. He claims that Stoltze, acting out of his own political ambitions, pressed him to connect with the RGA even after Palin directed him not to.

In the manuscript, Bailey describes Stoltze pressuring him to get in touch with the association, then losing his temper when Bailey cited campaign laws and declined.

"'Don't you lecture me on what's (expletive) illegal!'" is how Bailey relates Stoltze's words, apparently relying on his memory and not an e-mail or recording. "'I'm a lawmaker, I know the rules!'"

Stoltze did not return several messages left at his home and legislative office. He is in his fifth term as a legislator and serves as co-chair of the House Finance Committee.

According to Bailey, Stoltze's interest in Palin's victory was a seat heading the state's Redistricting Board, which draws up new legislative district boundaries based on U.S. Census figures every 10 years. Such a spot could "give him the power to make or break political careers by redrawing political geography," Bailey claims.

Bailey's assertion that Stoltze's motivation was a seat on the redistricting board raises more questions than answers.

The governor does appoint two of the five board members – the House Speaker, Senate President and chief justice of the state Supreme Court select the other three.

But according to the state constitution, public officials like Stoltze aren't allowed to sit on the board. Someone who sits on the board also can't run for the Legislature in the election after the new redistricting plan is adopted.

"I don't know the details of Mr. Bailey's claim but a sitting legislator could not be put on the board according to the constitutional provision," said the board's executive director, Ron Miller.

Stoltze's connections to the Republican Governors Association also could not be established. A representative of the association did not return a call for comment.

The group paid for an anti-Knowles television commercial showing Palin walking in downtown Anchorage. At the time, Palin's critics said she must have known the ad was being shot, but she distanced herself from the outside group.

According to a copy of the manuscript, Stoltze first contacted Bailey just before the 2006 August primary and offered "people who will help" Palin defeat Knowles in the general election.

After Palin easily defeated former Gov. Frank Murkowski in the primary, Stoltze visited with Bailey at Palin campaign headquarters, the manuscript continues. His easygoing personality had disappeared, Bailey says.

Stoltze urged Bailey to get in touch with a contact at the RGA, according to the manuscript. When Bailey e-mailed Palin that the association wanted to give $250,000 and as much as $750,000, Palin e-mailed that "Our campaign can have NO participation in any 3rd party campaign efforts," the manuscript says.

Bailey claims he fielded a call two days later from Stoltze asking why the Palin campaign had not contacted the RGA. Bailey writes he told Stoltze the campaign "can't do that" and he was getting uncomfortable. Stoltze again contacted him a few days later, according to the manuscript, which is when Bailey says the lawmaker lost his temper in the expletive-laden rant and stormed out of the office.

Despite Palin's e-mail, however, the manuscript claims that the RGA did end up coordinating a television commercial with at least one Palin campaign staffer and that Palin knew about it, doing multiple takes walking in and out of the Hotel Captain Cook as a camera filmed.

In 2007, the Alaska Public Offices Commission fined the Republican Governors Association almost $27,000 for breaking campaign disclosure rules during the 2006 election, according to news reports at the time.

This week, Anchorage political activist Andree McLeod said she filed a complaint last year with the state attorney general's office against Bailey for improper use and disclosure of official records.

McLeod said Bailey violated state laws against state employees using information gained in the course of their official duties if that information isn't made public. McLeod and various news outlets have been seeking thousands of e-mails to and from Palin during her time in office the bulk of which have not been released.

Bill McAllister, a spokesman for the state department of law, said he could not confirm any investigation.

Ethics complaints, by law, are confidential, unless probable cause is determined and they advance to a hearing or settlement, McAllister wrote in an e-mail.

Zaz Hollander can be reached at zaz.hollander@alaskastar.com or 694-2727, Ext. 213.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, February 23, 2011.