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Ex-Palin lawyer reported source of Gosar’s ‘most toxic’ media

You go for years without thinking about Thomas Van Flein, former Palin attorney and current Chief of Staff of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona), and then wham – he’s everywhere. And in a very bad way.

Censured Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and Chief of Staff Thomas Van Flein

Van Flein’s boss was censured by Congress yesterday for posting an anti-immigrant anime video which depicted Gosar murdering Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and attacking President Biden. Censure doesn’t happen very often. The last time the body believed a member deserved that particular level of smack-down was in 1983. Two Republicans voted with Democrats in the mostly partisan vote.

While censure doesn’t have legal teeth, it does involve a walk of shame that involves standing before your peers in “the well,” getting dressed down by the Speaker of the House, and losing your committee assignments. In this case it means Gosar has been removed from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform where he served with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and the House Committee on Natural Resources where he served with Alaska’s Don Young.

Van Flein, “Palin’s Giuliani,” is also squarely in the middle of the January 6 coup attempt where he was allegedly working to organize preemptive “blanket pardons” between then-President Donald Trump and the Capitol rioters, for misdeeds they had yet to commit. And now it appears he had a hand in his boss’s reprehensible behavior which led to his well-deserved public shaming.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy voted no on censure and defended Gosar by shoving Van Flein right under the bus. The Minority Leader blamed ‘the staff’ for posting the video without Gosar’s knowledge – for “Going Rogue™” if you will. The assertion that the Congressman’s staff just went for it, not seeing anything offensive or controversial enough about the murderous anime sequence to ask the boss if it was ok, seems thin at best. But that was the Minority Leader’s story.

From the Washington Post:

“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stated that lawmakers could not ‘accept any action or showing of a violence to another member.’ But he blamed the post on Gosar’s staff and noted that Gosar had deleted the video after they spoke on the phone about the matter.

“’He didn’t see it before it posted,’ McCarthy said. ‘It was not his intent to show any harm.’”

The excuse for Gosar’s behavior seemed to be, “He took it down, so what’s the problem?”

Gosar said that he had taken down the video not because he thought it was wrong, “I took it down out of compassion,” he said. Compassion for those who had been upset by it.

Well, the lame excuse and the faux compassion lasted… minutes. As soon as the public shaming was over, Gosar actually retweeted the offending video. And then after a little while he deleted it again. Stand by for further developments.

“If my cartoon can be banned and my free speech is to be banned, then the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney and indeed most of Hollywood obviously could be banned as well — not to mention Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner,” Gosar said.

Obviously. If we say it’s bad for a member of congress to depict himself murdering a congresswoman and attacking the President with lethal weapons, you can kiss those crazy cartoon animal hi-jinx of your youth goodbye! And get rid of that mouse and his theme park while you’re at it!


Van Flein has been with Gosar since the beginning of his notorious political career. It all began when Van Flein did some legal work for Rob Robinson, an Alaska dentist from Wasilla who ended up running Gosar’s 2010 campaign for Congress. Gosar is also a dentist. The masthead on his website says Paul Gosar, D.D.S. Robinson knew Palin and Gosar, and facilitated Gosar’s then-coveted Palin endorsement which helped propel him to victory. 

“I know he was very involved in the politics in Alaska and very involved in the politics of Wasilla,” a town of 7,000 people, Gosar said of Robinson. That was apparently enough to offer Robinson the Chief of Staff position Van Flein would eventually inherit. He started off as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Van Flein also represented the Alaska Dental Society… “in a 2006 claim against an Alaskan tribal health service and eight federally-licensed dental therapists for practicing dentistry without a state license. Advocates of the program argued that the dental therapists were the only providers of critical basic dental care to remote rural residents who had significant need, and often no way to travel to a licensed dentist. 

In 2007, a judge ruled that the program could continue. 

Palin’s attorney, Thomas Van Flein is interviewed by Andrea Mitchell on Palin’s deck after she quit the governorship in 2009.

The president of the ADS at the time, David Eichler, was roundly condemned for comments he shared during the legal battle in an online message board about the dental health of Native Alaskans.

“Any culture that allows such disease will soon disappear and rightfully so,” he wrote. He also urged the end of federal assistance to America’s indigenous peoples, saying that doing so would “allow their integration into American society as dignified citizens.” Other members were horrified, as were most Alaskans. Eichler eventually apologized. 

Van Flein also represented Palin in the Troopergate scandal where Palin was eventually found to have abused her power as Governor. Five Alaska residents sued the Troopergate investigator in September of 2008 saying that the investigation had wasted taxpayer money. One of the five was Eichler. The case was dropped when it became clear it was a loser.

All the scandal wasn’t enough to keep the Alaska Republican Party from nominating Eichler to be their Vice Chair, nor for Palin’s successor to try to appoint him to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, a watchdog group that oversees election financial disclosures. 

Van Flein also filed an amicus curiae brief in 2007 on behalf of the ADS in the appeal of another Alaska dentist convicted of overprescribing drugs to female patients and manipulating them into having sex with him for more drugs.” That dentist is now serving a 19-year prison sentence.

ANYWAY, we’ll now climb out of the weird dental rabbit hole before we go to far.


During the Van Flein era, Palin herself fell under withering criticism for her violent rhetoric against members of Congress, which critics warned would incite violence in the real world. Palin too said she didn’t mean anything by it when her PAC put out the following graphic, and Palin tweeted it with the words, “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”

One of those targets on the map conservatives were supposed to “reload” for belonged to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, who was subsequently shot and severely injured in a grocery store in Arizona. One of her staffers was killed and at least 12 others were injured. Palin took down the graphic the day of the shooting.


There’s no question Van Flein was at the center of the Palin tornado in Alaska, but how involved is he in the current insanity? He doesn’t appear to be trying to put the fire out. It sounds like he’s tossing tires in it.

“Multiple sources told The Daily Beast that Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, is the main source of the congressman’s most toxic and terminally online social media content.

“Through the last decade, Gosar has ‘always been kind of crazy,’ and his office often ‘a dumpster fire,’ said a former aide to the congressman, who recalled that Gosar and Van Flein often egged each other on in terms of how outrageous their messaging could be.”

If McCarthy’s claim that Gosar had no idea the video was posted is true, he certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. Nobody on Gosar’s staff has been fired over it, but the page on his website dedicated to his staff has been taken down.


McCarthy wrapped up the day today by announcing that if the Republicans take the majority back in the House of Representatives in 2022, not only will Rep. Gosar and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (who was also stripped of her assignments) be back on committees, they will be BETTER committees. Because that’s what they said they want, he explained.

And the dumpster fire rages on. If it doesn’t get extinguished by 2022, the lunatics will indeed be running the asylum.



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