By Gene Johnson, AP 16 September 2008 @ 06:22 am EST
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain is trying to put to rest the ethical controversy that's come to be known as "Troopergate," releasing e-mails supporting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's contention that she dismissed her public safety commissioner over budget disagreements, not because he wouldn't fire her ex-brother-in-law.
And, the campaign says, Palin is unlikely to speak with an investigator hired by the state legislature to look into the matter.
Among the e-mails released was one of farewell written by the public safety commissioner himself, Walt Monegan, when he was fired in July. In it, he suggested the governor had reason to believe she had lost his support, and urged his former colleagues to communicate better with her.
"For anyone to lead effectively they must have the support of their team, and I had waited too long outside her door for her to believe that I supported her," he wrote. "Please, choose a different path."
The controversy erupted in the weeks following the firing, as it emerged that Palin, her husband, Todd, and several high-level staffers had contacted Monegan about state trooper Mike Wooten, who had gone through a nasty divorce from Palin's sister before she became governor. While Monegan says no one from the administration ever told him directly to fire Wooten, he says they didn't have to: There was nothing subtle about the repeated contacts.
In July, the four Democrats and eight Republicans on Alaska's Legislative Council voted unanimously to investigate the circumstances of Monegan's dismissal. Although Monegan was an at-will employee who could be fired for almost any reason, lawmakers wanted to see whether Palin tried to use her office to settle a personal score with Wooten.
The state Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday to issue subpoenas to 13 people, including Palin's husband, to compel cooperation with the investigation. The campaign said it didn't know if Todd Palin planned to challenge his subpoena.
The governor has not been subpoenaed, but the investigator hired by the legislature, Steve Branchflower, said Friday he is interested in speaking with her. Campaign spokesman Ed O'Callaghan said that was unlikely as long as the investigation "remains tainted."
Though the governor initially said she'd cooperate, after she became McCain's running mate in late July, her lawyer sought to have the three-member state Personnel Board take over, alleging that public statements made by the Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Hollis French, indicated the probe was politically motivated.
French had said the results of the investigation could constitute an "October surprise" for the McCain campaign. He later apologized. The campaign also insists that French, Branchflower and Monegan are friends, even though the men say they only know each other professionally and have never socialized.
A registered democrat who has no loyalty to a party but to his country. I will criticize both whenever I don't agree. I debate with liberals and conservatives. Voted for Obama, before him Kerry and before him Bush.
Tired of of the partisan crap I just want the country to work.
Overall I lean more to the left, but like I said.....