ANCHORAGE (CN) – Five Republican state legislators went to Superior Court on Tuesday to try to stop the Legislature’s investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin’s dismissal of the state public safety commissioner. And Alaska’s Republican Attorney General said 10 state employees would refuse to comply with subpoenas to testify in the “Troopergate” investigation, unless the entire state Senate or Legislature votes to compel them to do so.
The legislators sued independent investigator Stephen Branchflower; state Sen. Kim Elton, chairman of the Legislative Council; and state Sen. Hollis French, who is overseeing the investigation.
Alaska’s former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan says Palin removed him from office for refusing to fire the governor’s former brother in law, who went through a nasty divorce with Palin’s sister. Palin says she fired him for “insubordination” in a budget dispute.
The Republican plaintiff-legislators accuse the Legislature of “conducting a ‘McCarthyistic’ investigation in an unlawful … partial and partisan political manner.”
They claim the Legislator’s investigators have a “predisposition to make findings against Governor Palin” and are trying “to affect the outcome of elections” by refusing to delay release of their investigation until after Nov. 4 – Election Day.
The legislators have said the report would be completed by Oct. 10.
But the plaintiffs say there is “no nonpartisan reason” that it “needs to be completed prior to the election on Nov. 4”.
One of the plaintiffs is state Rep. Wes Keller, an elder in Palin’s church, whom she appointed to his seat, The Associated Press reported.
Also on Tuesday, Alaska’s Republican Attorney General said 10 state employees would refuse to comply with subpoenas to testify in the “Troopergate” investigation, unless the entire state Senate or Legislature votes to compel them to do so.
Attorney General Talis Colberg made the statement in a letter to Rep. French.
The state Senate Judiciary Committee last week voted to subpoena 13 people to testify in the investigation. The three who are not state employees include Palin’s husband, Todd; her former legislative liaison John Bitney, who is no chief of state for Republican House Speaker John Harris; and Murlene Wilkes, a state contractor.
The flurry of action show that Harris, who formerly said he welcomed the investigation, and Palin, who promised to cooperate before John McCain chose her as his running mate, are digging in their heels.
Courthouse News will post a link to the lawsuit as soon as it becomes available.