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Palin is being investigated for abusing her power

Published:

Troopergate probe running into new resistance

Published - Sep 16 2008 07:27PM EDT | AP

By STEVE QUINN - Associated Press Writer

Alaska's investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power, a potentially damaging distraction for John McCain's presidential campaign, ran into intensified resistance Tuesday from state Republican lawmakers who want to end it or delay it past the election.

Alaska's House speaker, a Republican who supported the "Troopergate" investigation two months ago, openly questioned its impartiality and raised the possibility of delaying the findings.

The surprise maneuver by Rep. John Harris reflected deepening resolve by Republicans to spare Palin embarrassment or worse in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

And it marked a further fraying of a bipartisan consensus, formed by a unanimous panel before Palin became McCain's running mate, that her firing of the state's public safety commissioner justified the ethical investigation.

In a letter, Harris wrote that what "started as a bipartisan and impartial effort is becoming overshadowed by public comments from individuals at both ends of the political spectrum," and he urged lawmakers to meet quickly to decide on a course.

"What I may be in favor of is having the report delayed, but only if it becomes a blatant partisan issue," he told The Associated Press, while indicating he already believes it has become politically tainted.

Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton, chairman of the Legislative Council, the 14-member panel that authorized the probe, had no immediate comment on Harris' request. Under an unusual power-sharing agreement, the council is made up of 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats.

At issue is whether Palin abused her power by pressing the commissioner to remove her former brother-in-law as an Alaska state trooper, then firing the commissioner when he didn't.

Also Tuesday, five Republican state lawmakers filed a lawsuit against an investigation they called "unlawful, biased, partial and partisan." None serves on the bipartisan Legislative Council that unanimously approved the inquiry. They it pushed past the election or top Democrats removed from the probe.

Making clear the dispute has ramifications beyond Alaska, Liberty Legal Institute, a Texas-based legal advocacy group, was working on the lawsuit. The institute has taken on a variety of cases in defense of conservative Christian positions.

Anchorage attorney Kevin G. Clarkson said he and the Texas group were donating their work on the lawsuit. "We just want to take the politics out of it and bring fairness back into it."

Elton called the lawsuit "a distraction."

"I'm comfortable with the notion that the court will review the substance of the suit and find the Council acted properly and that the decisions made during the course of the investigation so far are appropriate and well within the mandate of the Council," Elton said. "The silver lining in this action initiated by the five lawmakers is that some of that debate now has been kicked to the judicial branch which, unlike the Legislature and the governor's office, is more insulated from the red-hot passion of presidential politics," he said.

Palin fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan in July.

Weeks later, it emerged that Palin, her husband, Todd, and several high-level staffers had contacted Monegan about state trooper Mike Wooten, who had gone through a nasty divorce from Palin's sister before Palin became governor. While Monegan says no one from the administration ever told him directly to fire Wooten, he says their repeated contacts made it clear they wanted Wooten gone.

Palin maintains that she fired Monegan over budget disagreements, not because he wouldn't dismiss her ex-brother-in-law. She has sought through her lawyer to have the matter investigated in a more favorable forum, the state personnel board.

Last week, the state Senate Judiciary Committee voted to issue subpoenas for Todd Palin as well as nearly a dozen others and to gain phone records of a top aide to the governor. The subpoenas seek to force their cooperation in the investigation.

Entry #136

Comments

1.
kttrmComment by kttrm - September 17, 2008, 6:34 am
Well its very clear the good ole boy system is still doing very well in this country, while everything else from Wall Street to gas and grocery products are crumbling all around us. Its not the same America my European parents brought us to. This is disgraceful, what this beautiful country has come to.
2.
jarasanComment by jarasan - September 17, 2008, 8:41 am
This is the type of police officer everyone wants in their neighborhood. It has been witnessed by many people: threatening to kill family members while brandishing his service weapon, tasering a ten year old boy, drinking on the job, abusing his wife, misusing police authority.............

This guy is unfit to be a law enforcement offcial, he should be in jail, he could have killed the 10 year-old, and may have done worse to his own family.

It is clear what the idiot leftist dems are doing, and it is going to backfire on them.

Oh yeah I forgot that Dems. love the abuse of power so this Wooten jerk was kindred.
3.
TenajComment by Tenaj - September 17, 2008, 9:13 am
jarasan, it's interesting that your response is about the police officer like he's the one that is running for vice president and is under investigation. That's right, move it away from Palin.

This article is about what Palin did - not what this jerk did. I'm sure whatever this guy did he deserved it. But do our elected officials take justice in their own hands just because they have the power to do so. I think not. That's why we have laws, and a court system.

She meaded out her own justice. The pubs are trying to sweep it under the rug. I probably would have done the jerk the same way but the public deserve the right to know and have the investigation resolved now. NOW THAT'S THE FEAR YOU FORGOT TO MENTION MY FRIEND.
4.
LottoVantageComment by LottoVantage - September 17, 2008, 9:24 am
jarasan, "idiot leftist dems", and, "love the abuse of power"??? You need to get your priority's straight on who these discriptions really apply to...
5.
Rick GComment by Rick G - September 17, 2008, 9:31 am
"It is clear what the idiot leftist dems are doing, and it is going to backfire on them.

Oh yeah I forgot that Dems. love the abuse of power so this Wooten jerk was kindred."

ad hominem:

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect   
2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
6.
jarasanComment by jarasan - September 17, 2008, 9:37 am
Guilt is guilt is guilt is guilt. T: I am sure you let people walk all over your family and would do nothing about it.

Rick: Thank You.
7.
TenajComment by Tenaj - September 17, 2008, 10:13 am
Like I said before jarasan, it's not about what this jerk did - it's about how Palin handled it as an elected official. Just because a guy is a jerk doesn't justified taking the law into your own hands and meading out your own punishment when you are in a position to do so.   What is it that you don't understand about that.

If it was OK for Palin to do what she did she would not be under investigation, now would she.
8.
jarasanComment by jarasan - September 17, 2008, 10:46 am
I understand YOU don't understand this is a partisan attempt to discredit and bring down Sarah Palin. And I also understand you and I will never agree on anything political, just remember this word,
LANDSLIDE.
9.
TenajComment by Tenaj - September 17, 2008, 2:51 pm
jarasan, Palin was under investigation before she was selected to become McCain's running mate. So she did this - are we blaming someone else?
10.
Comment by Stack47 - September 17, 2008, 7:29 pm
Former public safety commissioner Walt Monegan is claiming he was fired because he didn’t fire Mike Wooden and Gov. Palin said he was fired over budget disagreements. The panel authorizing the probe had 10 Republican and 4 Democrat members and Sarah Palin ran against and beat the Republican establishment in the primary so apparently there are some hard feelings.

It's an Alaskan problem right now but the longer it drags on, it could create an illusion of a cover-up and I doubt they want that word being mentioned a week before the election.
11.
ToddComment by Todd - September 17, 2008, 11:55 pm
Actually, it IS about what the bad cop did, and then further what Monegan did. Sarah Palin did nothing wrong, and Tenaj if you would spend a few minutes seeking information in a balanced news story or media outlet, you would know this for yourself.
12.
TenajComment by Tenaj - September 18, 2008, 8:44 am
What the bad cop did is not in question. But what Sarah Palin did IS in question, therefore she is being investigated - not the bad cop. Just wanted to make sure it clear for those who are seeking clarity.

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