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Palin's 'Troopergate' Investigation Facing Obstacles

POSTED: 10:55 AM ET, 09/ 8/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The inquiry into the controversial firing of a state police commissioner in Gov. Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska has led to a highly politicized fight, observers say, including calls for subpoenas of Palin's staff and accusations that lawmakers are trying to sway the final report's findings.

Alaska legislators are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss whether at least seven members of the governor's staff should be formally questioned as part of the investigation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Those staff members had previously agreed to meet with the independent investigator, former prosecutor Stephen Branchflower, but were later forbidden from any direct contact after Palin was selected as Sen. John McCain's running mate.

(Lawmakers decided not to subpoena Palin herself "as a gesture to calm what has become a tense standoff between the Legislature and the newly minted Republican vice presidential nominee," The Anchorage Daily News reported.)

The state legislative committee investigating the firing of former police commissioner Walt Monegan is set to release its findings Oct. 10, a few weeks earlier than its expected Halloween Day release.

Alaska House Judiciary Chairman Jay Ramras, a Republican, said the earlier date for the report was meant to avoid the appearance of a last-minute "October surprise," The Associated Press reported.

But questions over the potentially political nature of the probe have resulted in calls for at least one state lawmaker to step down from his post.

Alaska Rep. John Coghill wrote in a letter dated Friday that Democratic state Sen. Hollis French "appears to be steering the direction of the investigation, its conclusion and its timing in a manner that will have maximum partisan political impact on the national and state elections."

(French told Newsweek that he regretted some of his public comments but that he refuses to step down.)

Coghill, who is on the Alaska Legislature's Legislative Council, the body that appointed French to oversee the investigation, told Newsweek that he wrote his letter to French on his own and without interference from the McCain campaign.

But a "top McCain campaign official" told the magazine that a GOP lawyer had given the campaign a "heads up" about Coghill's letter and that it approved of the effort to remove French.

By Derek Kravitz |  September 8, 2008; 10:55 AM ET
Previous: The Daily Read | Next: Woodward Book: Doubts About Iraq Strategy


Please email us to report offensive comments.

I am a conservative leaning independant. I want to know about these scandals they may make the differnce in my vote. I am Glad to see a conservative in the mix, But seeing how Palin is being kept from questions. Hard to find info on Palin. McCain needs to let her talk to the media so we can find out more about who she is.

Has anyone else read this story about a possible Affair Sarah Palin had? That is just one of the Scandals listed at this site.

This site has the inside scoop about the Palin Dui Secret, Why hasnt the news covered this?

This site has background info on sarah Palin Bio, Pics, Videos, Alot of Polls like how many people actually think that she is attractive?

Despite all of this, and her lack of experiance she would probably make a much better president then McCain., Because like Obama she hasnt been corrupted by washington yet. We should probably reverse the ticket Palin/McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 8, 2008 11:33 AM

I know information about Sarah Palin numersous sexual affairs she is not what she appears.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 8, 2008 12:10 PM

Troopergate has smoke and fire,
Let's put Palin on the pyre.
Hubris seems to burn much faster,
She'll go up like baked Alaska.

Posted by: Frank Gerber | September 8, 2008 12:19 PM

I think she is dangerous to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Her position on womens right to choose is enough for me to pull the lever for Obama/biden. This McCain-Palin ticket is scary.

Posted by: Jackie | September 8, 2008 1:24 PM

Why would you put someone on a national ticket who was under investigation? I’m waiting for the next shoe to drop!

Posted by: Lydia, Durham | September 8, 2008 1:54 PM

Go to

If you want to see evidence of how Democrat Hollis French is running the investigation despite his claims taht it's "independent."

Posted by: Alaska Insider | September 8, 2008 2:07 PM

I agree with Lydia.
I think the law should state that anyone who is under investigation for some wrong doing should not and cannot be considered for public office until they are proven innocent. This is the thing that worries me about Palin. She has evidence swarming around her as offered by those who have worked for her or with her that points to multiple abuses of power. This investigation needs to be completed before the election. I don't care if she's found innocent of these charges. The thought of someone having the tendency to use their power to their own ends is worrisome. After all, that's one of the key points of this election; getting those who would do so (Bush is rampant in this)out of power. Several individuals have come forward with information about more than one instance of her using her power to force firings. Most of these were in the works long before anyone knew she was going to be McCain's VP pick.

Posted by: Obamanaut | September 8, 2008 4:58 PM

I must disagree with the comment posted by Obamanaut | September 8, 2008 4:58 PM . In the United States no one has to prove they are innocent of a crime - even if they are running for office. In America people are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Sarah Palin has not been accused of a crime and certainly has not been convicted of any wrong doing so let's be fair. If there is wrong-doing, hopefully the investigation will be able to prove it. That being said, and human nature being what it is, I am sure that there are those who have already decided in their own minds whether Sarah Palin is guilty or not and they will say so come November.

Posted by: L Gilbert - Wisconsin | September 8, 2008 7:06 PM

True..she should be and is considered to be innocent until proven otherwise.
However, as a voter...the GOP's attempt to thwart the investigation does make a difference to me.
There seems to be alot the GOP and McCain campaign wish to keep hidden about Ms Palin.

Posted by: Dallas Mike | September 9, 2008 1:51 AM

The biggest "obstacle" so far has been in finding a "Project Director" who is not a bitter partisan. Hollis French, who is overseeing the Troopergate witch hunt, is an Obama supporter and extreme partisan.

Not WRIGHT for America ( has been destroying him all week.

French has made comments about how the investigation would damage Governor Palin even before the investigation has begun, and when he's not leaking information, he's lying about the nature of his role in the investigation--he has directed the investigation even though he claims to have nothing to do with it. That doesn't sound like impartial or independent to me.

Posted by: Gypsy Man | September 9, 2008 2:28 AM

Gov. Palin doesn't deny the facts, she just doesn't think that making those phone calls constitutes an abuse of power. 42 phone call? I think it's abuse! Nice pick John.

PS: Wait for the pregnancy scandle to surface next. What is she waiting for in addressing this?

Posted by: Rock & Roll | September 9, 2008 10:32 AM

Uhhhh, excuse me but....

Weren't French (and two top level "investigators") spotted in Obama headquarters in late July? Fox News is now reporting this.

Didn't French boast (before any investigations have started or before any supeonas have been taken) that it will be an:

1. "October surprise"
2. "Highly damaging to the Gov."
3. Mentioned possible "impeachment"

Based upon that alone, how can one take seriously this investigation? Is this investigation an overstepping of the Legislature? Is this not a the juristiction of the Alaskan Personel Board?

The reason why Gov. Palin, and her staff members, are "lawyering up" is because it's their right to have counsel. I also suspect they felt the investigation was turning into a partisan witch hunt.

Things you need to know...

Gov. Palin has the right to fire/reassign Safety Commisioner Monegan because he was a Govenor-appointed servant. Therefore, he searves at the governor's liesure. He can be fired for no reason whatsoever.

On August 28, in an interview with Anchorage Daily News, Monegan said, "For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff. What they said directly was more along the lines of 'This isn't a person that we would want to be representing our state troopers.'"

Monegan was fired by the previous govenor and was hired my Palin.

More info here:

Posted by: Tim | September 9, 2008 11:24 PM

Gilbert said: "In the United States no one has to prove they are innocent of a crime - even if they are running for office. In America people are presumed innocent until proven guilty."

That's only true for Democrats. For Republicans, Obamanaut's assertion that they are guilty until proven innocent applies. For certain Democrats (like Sen. Ted Kennedy), even being guilty of a crime, such as leaving the scene of a fatal accident, is not necessarily a bar to holding high office or even seeking higher office.

Posted by: DET | September 9, 2008 11:29 PM


Posted by: LAWRENCE MCMANUS | September 9, 2008 11:34 PM

The republican party is going use all their power to prolong this investigation. This going to backfire, as you can see the nation is watching. I read Senator Frenchs' letter to Gov. Palins attorney, and he is 100% correct. Gov Palin is now stating that her own judicial branch lacks juridiction? WOW! She had agreed to cooperate with this investigation completely. She doesn't deny any of the facts surrounding the 24 phone calls and e-mails, she just doesn't believe she or staffers did anything impropper. Well, isn't that what this investigation is all about?

Posted by: Rock & Roll | September 10, 2008 8:10 AM

Why have all the websites with the truth about Sarah Palin been blocked.

Republican's are doing it again. They have commented on this website and show their connection to those who work to destroy freedom but for a few.

I hope intelligent informed voters research truth about both candidates and act responsibly. I think prayer needs to daily against the schemes of the evil one. The evil forces on earth live where there are lies and work to conceal the truth. liars hide from the light of truth, a truth that gives us wisdom.

If a group lies and hides the truth,they will continue to do it once they've gained power. Is this what America desires?

More secrecy and election fixing? To what end?

Posted by: Real Christian Non-Partisan | September 14, 2008 7:40 PM

As a retired high ranking member of one the nation's largest police departments, let's not forget that Michael Wooten, the Alaska State Trooper, was a problem employee. Well before Sarah Palin became governor he had already accumulated seven disciplinary actions, one less than a year on the job and while still on probation. He should have been fired then but the apparent good old boy network and strong police union prevented that. What is wrong with the chief executive of a state who has in-depth knowledge of a problem employee trying to get rid of the employee? Her having a close personal relationship with him as a family member does negate his misconduct. After all, he is not a private citizen but a police officer with the awesome power of arrest and lifetaking. Her Public Safety Commissioner, Walter Monegan, was more interested in the welfare of his troopers than that of the citizens he was sworn to protect. His first loyalty should have been to the public and for not doing that he deserved to be replaced.

Posted by: Law & Order | September 14, 2008 9:18 PM

Wow, this is amazing. Sarah Palin is being fried when it's Obama that has Ayers, Rezko, Donald Young, Reverend Wright, Rashaad Khalidi, Faraakhan, Olinga, and every other terrorist, socialist, communist, marxist, "God Damn America" known to man. How do people sleep at night? Sarah Palin is an amazing woman. No one would ever pass the ridiculous smear tactics of the embarrassing Obama campaign. Frankly, he looks like an idiot and totally incapable of running this country. Rather than deal with AMERICAN BUSINESS, he has spent tens of millions of dollars (if not more) to blow these lies out of proportion. Good lord will you people grow up. Obama is the only person who should not be in this race for all of the reasons above and because he is less qualified than the GOP candidate. By the way, McCain IS going to make a great President. For any dems that whine when it happens, you can thank Howard Dean for trashing Hillary.

Posted by: NancyJoe | September 15, 2008 12:49 AM

The investigation began after she fired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Monegan said he was fired after resisting pressure to fire the brother-in-law who was going through a messy divorce with Palin's sister.

McAllister has apparently been cut out of the loop by McCain campaign aides who have taken charge of the "troopergate" issue while leaving the tanning bed questions to him.

"There's some press conference going on somewhere right now, but I don't know where or with whom," McAllister said Monday.

Posted by: JASPER | September 16, 2008 1:12 PM

It's interesting that the McCain Campaign is accusing the Obama Campaign of pushing this investigation. This investigation began long before McCain ever met or spoke with Sarah Palin - well before he chose her as his running mate. It's ashame that although she agreed to fully cooperate with the investigation, the McCain Campaign is now directing things in another manner. It's pretty sad that the McCain campaign is using smear tactics to draw links between Obama and the Legislative investigation. Supporting and endorsing a candidate is not a crime. The push for an investigation began before Palin was chosen for the ticket. She was never even vetted for that matter, so it makes the attempt to smear by "linkage" even more ridiculous.

Posted by: alaskan mom | September 17, 2008 9:40 PM

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