Alex Constantine - September 9, 2008
September 6th, 2008
In a bit of political skulduggery that would make Richard Nixon proud. Governor Sarah Palin tore a page from the Nixon administration’s election play book. She is attempting to delay the Alaska legislature from conducting an investigation into claims she violated ethical and personnel regulations, so much for her reformist claim of a transparent, ethical and accountable government. The sordid affair began last July when legislators first began discussing the need to investigate possible ethics charges.
At the time Palin flatly denied any wrongdoing and challenged the allegations by saying she welcomed a probe, “hold me accountable” were her exact words in fact.
The allegations under investigation are that she, her family or administration improperly pressured Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten, who had been in the middle of an ugly custody dispute with Palin’s sister.
The legislature took her up on the challenge but this week Palin’s high powered GOP lawyer demanded the Legislature stop its investigation, after having had the governor file an ethics complaint against herself. Which is a transparent attempt to turn the entire matter over to the Governors state personnel board, which we assume would begin all over and maybe even hire an independent investigator of its own sometime in the future, say November 5th?
This is a feeble and transparent attempt to delay and drag out the investigation until after voters decide the fate of her vice-presidential bid. Palin should honor her pledge to cooperate with the Legislature’s investigation, which is being conducted by respected former state prosecutor Steve Branchflower.
She can start by telling her aide Frank Bailey to talk to the legislative investigator. Or fire him if he doesn’t. Bailey was caught on an audio recording with a Public Safety Department official, pushing to get Wooten fired.
A spokeswoman for Palin said Bailey is on administrative leave but still on the state payroll, the Governor should direct him to cooperate with the legislative investigation if she has nothing to hide. And some are asking why Bailey is still on the states payroll to begin with, he bailed on a scheduled interview with the legislative investigator Wednesday?
The Legislature didn’t give its investigator the power to subpoena or compel testimony of witnesses. Subpoenas seemed unnecessary at the time, since it appeared till this week the governor and administration would be cooperating; I say it’s time to rethink the power of the subpoena.
The investigation was supposed to be all wrapped up by Oct. 31. That’s obviously bad timing from the standpoint of the McCain presidential campaign, just a few days before the national election. Voters deserve to know if the woman who may be the next vice president is a crook or not.
When Trooper gate started Palin’s response was let’s get it done. But Republican vice president candidate Palin is apparently hoping the facts will remain hidden till after the Presidential election.
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