Monday, September 22, 2008

No Facts in Evidence in Wasilla Rape Kit Allegations

This essay follows up my previous post, "Leftists Smear Palin in Rape-Kit Controversy."

This morning while having coffee, I caught a CNN report on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's alleged billing of rape crime victims for the forensic "rape kit" exams used in the criminal investigations.

The full CNN report is
here, but watch the video:

As seen in the clip, then-Representative Croft, the author of the state's legislation, can point to no facts substantiating the claim that Governor Palin authorized billling of rape victims for their exams. Further, as CNN's report indicates:

Interviews and a review of records turned up no evidence that Palin knew that rape victims were being charged in her town. But Croft, the former state representative who sponsored the law changing the practice, says it seems unlikely Palin was not aware of the issue.
Let's reiterate: The review turned up "no evidence" and Croft fully hedges his claims with the double-negative caveat that "it seems unlikely" that Palin was "not aware" of the issue.

In other words, according to Croft's unsubstantiated hunch, Governor Palin must have stuck rape victims with the costs of their exams.

But note further this passage on Wasilla's crime investigation billing procedures from
Confederate Yankee, who contacted the Wasilla City Clerk:

The Finance Department searched all financial records on our system for fiscal year 2000, 2001 and 2002. There are no records of billings to or collections from rape victims or their insurance companies in our system. The financial computer system goes back to the beginning of fiscal year 2000, and accounts receivable backup documentation goes back six (6) years per our records retention schedule.

A review of files and case reports within the Wasilla Police Department has found no record of sexual assault victims being billed for forensic exams. State law AS 18.68.040, which was effective August 12, 2000, would have prohibited any such billings after that date.
As one can see, the more one looks into this matter the less evidence implicates Palin with these "incomprehensible" allegations.

Indeed, if anything stands out time and again, it's the comments Police Chief Charlie Fannon, who said that the matter was a budgetary issue.

Finally, as the Yellin report at CNN indicates, it was the State of Alaska's policy to shift the costs of criminal investigations to local governments, which in fact constitutes an unfunded mandate. The report notes, as well, that state funding for women's victims services has gone up under the Palin administration.

Thus, all
the hysterical attempts to smear Palin on this issue have gained no traction simply because there's not a shred of credibility to the charges. As Confederate Yankee suggests, this was a "manufactured" scandal, much like those of the Barack Obama "astroturfing" smear-campaign revelations against Palin that are currently being investigated.

Video Hat Tip: Julie Roy