Report due out today on Palin troopergate
- Article by: NEWS SERVICES
- October 9, 2008 - 11:49 PM
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - The state Supreme Court refused Thursday to halt an ethics investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The ruling clears the way for lawmakers to release a report today on their investigation into whether Palin abused her power by firing her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, for personal reasons.
Monegan says he was dismissed after resisting pressure to fire a state trooper who had gone through a nasty divorce from Palin's sister. Palin says she fired Monegan over a budget dispute.
Republican lawmakers had sued to block the potentially embarrassing report, saying it had become politicized. Palin's husband, Todd, and some of her top aides are cooperating in the inquiry.
Trying to head off any fallout from the report, campaign officials on Thursday said the investigation has falsely portrayed a legitimate policy dispute between a governor and her commissioner as something inappropriate. "The following document will prove Walt Monegan's dismissal was a result of his insubordination and budgetary clashes with Governor Palin and her administration," they wrote.
In affidavits submitted Wednesday, Todd Palin and two Palin aides portrayed the firing as the result of continued wrangling between the governor and Monegan over control of the public safety agency. The affidavits also portray Sarah Palin as uninvolved while her husband repeatedly tried to spread the word that their former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, was unfit to remain a state trooper.
Todd Palin said he talked to anyone who would listen, but said he never pressured anyone, including his wife. In fact, he says that after repeatedly talking with her about the matter, she finally told him to "drop it."
Todd Palin wrote: "I make no apologies for wanting to protect my family and wanting to publicize the injustice of a violent trooper keeping his badge."
In his affidavit, he also suggested there was bad blood between the governor and Monegan over two other matters:
An inquiry from Monegan to the governor -- 12 days before his firing -- about a legislator's accusation that she once failed to put her infant son Trig in a car seat while she was driving. Palin indicated the incident involved a "false rumor" regarding a ride "on a private farm road without traffic at low speed." She also demanded to know the legislator's name.
The unavailability of a state trooper airplane for the governor's use when traveling to the Alaska's rural areas. "It seemed that whenever Sarah needed this plane, it was unavailable," Todd Palin said. "We were concerned that the Department of Public Safety was retaliating against Sarah for selling the [governor's] jet that Department of Public Safety officials enjoyed using."
The Associated Press and McClatchy News Service contributed to this report.
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