Alaska Lawmakers Vote To Subpoena Todd Palin

The abuse of power investigation against Sarah Palin, Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, took a potentially ominous turn for her party on Friday when state lawmakers voted to subpoena her husband.

Republican efforts to delay the probe until after the Nov. 4 election were thwarted when GOP State Sen. Charlie Huggins, who represents Palin's hometown of Wasilla, sided with Democrats. "Let's just get the facts on the table," said Huggins, who appeared in camouflage pants to vote during a break from moose hunting.

Thomas Van Flein, the Palins' private attorney now representing her as governor, did not immediately return calls for comment.

The Senate committee acted at the request of investigator Stephen Branchflower, who is gathering evidence on whether Gov. Palin abused her power by firing Walt Monegan, the state's director of public safety. Critics charge she fired Monegan after he refused to dismiss Mike Wooten, a state trooper who had a messy divorce from the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was let go because of a budget dispute.

Branchflower also said he wants to interview the governor, but omitted her from the 13-person list of subpoena targets he presented to the lawmakers overseeing his investigation.

He said Todd Palin is "such a central figure. ... I think one should be issued for him."

Palin, cast at last week's Republican National Convention as a supportive husband, oil rig worker and championship snowmachine racer, has emerged in the days since as also a powerful figure in his wife's administration. Despite holding no government position, he attends official meetings and is copied on e-mails concerning state business.

While Todd Palin's role in the dismissal of Monegan is unknown, the request for a subpoena suggests he spurned earlier calls to testify voluntarily. Monegan voluntarily submitted to an interview earlier in the week.

Nor was it immediately clear whether Van Flein was representing Todd Palin as well as the governor in the investigation. Van Flein is working at taxpayer expense to represent the governor in her personal and official capacity.

The subpoenas, which were approved for 12 state employees in addition to Todd Palin, instantly gave a new, national significance to what until recently was a controversy confined to Alaska.

The McCain campaign released a statement from Alaska Lt. Governor Sean Parnell, blaming Democrats.

"I'm disappointed by the complete hijacking of what should be a fair and objective process," the Republican said, calling the investigation a "smear."

The investigation — dubbed "Troopergate" — began before Palin was chosen as Sen. John McCain's running mate. Since then, Palin's supporters have argued that the investigation is politically motivated, and urged lawmakers to turn the matter over to the three-member State Personnel Board, which is appointed by the governor and charged with handling ethics complaints.

Palin has said she fired Monegan over disagreements about budget priorities. Monegan says he received repeated e-mails and phone calls from Palin, her husband and her staff expressing dismay over Wooten's continued employment.

One member of Palin's administration was caught on tape discussing personal information about Wooten, raising questions of how he knew those details.

Branchflower also asked for a subpoena for the phone records of one Palin administration official, Frank Bailey. Bailey was recorded calling an Alaska State Trooper lieutenant and discussing confidential information about Wooten, including his job application and worker's compensation claim. In a deposition taken by Palin's attorney, he testified that he never saw Wooten's file, but instead received the information from Todd Palin.

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  • by Sarah Location: Goldsboro on Sep 13, 2008 at 05:25 PM
    What a crock.. just trying to stir up trouble. Have you seen interviews with the guy MIKE WOOTEN>> It was his 3rd divorce.. he has now been divorced a 4th time.. Has an awful temper.. had been reprimanded MANY times.. GET THE FACT>> get the WHOLE story.. news only prints what they WANT YOU to see!! GOD BLESS AMERICA.. and Sarah Palin. She supports the life of our unborn children.. they do not year have a voice.. but they do IN GOD'S EYES>> have a right to life!!
  • by voter Location: nc on Sep 13, 2008 at 04:24 PM
    i can see why some of you would feel threatened by a strong, intelligent and attractive woman. your insecurity and inferiority is evident.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2008 at 11:31 AM
    you people haven't learned nothing the 8 years .with all problems in america no wonder our youth are so troubled .it starts at home.other country's laugh usa cause we so divided .yet 8 years later some of same issue still doesn't matter who win the election,cause the next president is gonna is have problems at hand from day 1.think?
  • by Blog Refuter Location: NC on Sep 13, 2008 at 10:57 AM
    Running for public office puts you in the spotlight. If you don't want your dirty laundry aired, then don't associate yourself with corruption (whether it's with people or actions). I know countless numbers of current, past, and aspiring politicians whose dirty laundry has been aired. It's fine. If they're strong, they'll get over it. Think of it as a test of character and perseverance.
  • by Steve Location: Kinston on Sep 13, 2008 at 10:29 AM
    Here goes the same old tired song and dance. Why don't these officials get a real job and quit wasting working peoples' time?
  • by Susie on Sep 13, 2008 at 07:28 AM
    Yeah, diggin' up bones... oh, diggin' up bones. Give me a break. That trooper deserved more than to be fired. I really wish we could go ahead and pull out the $*&t on Obama... I am praying NOBAMA!!!!!!!!!! We all need to pray NOBAMA or we are going to be in more trouble then we are now!!
  • by margaret Location: N. C. on Sep 13, 2008 at 07:16 AM
    It is a shame that some people have to bring up all the dirt they can about someone just because they are running for office. If they would check everyone in or out of office I expect they would find an awfully lot of bad things about everyone, no one is perfect. Just leave the lady and her family alone and let her do her job.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 13, 2008 at 04:44 AM
    Let the witch hunt to create dirt since they don't have any. Just the headlines should get attention to the shallow minds to create liberal euphoria. Desperate liberals at a desperate time. Sorry, she will survive this too.
  • by Play fair Location: NC on Sep 13, 2008 at 04:31 AM
    Ok - then let's subpoena William Ayers and Rev Write...or maybe we just bring in ole' Rezko for a deposition (offer him some immunity and shave off some time for his conviction too) Obama has plenty of dirt in his closet and if you are calling her out for this - you need to call him out as well It is only fair.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2008 at 03:47 AM
    I can't beleive American has fallen so hard for this woman. I think she is the kind of woman who would use her power to do alot of under handed things. I don't trust her at all. You'll be sorry if you vote for her I'm afraid.
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