Alaska AG asks for 'Troopergate' subpoenas to be withdrawn

Legal News Line Sep. 16, 2008, 9:24pm

Talis Colberg (R)

Sarah Palin (R)

JUNEAU, Alaska (Legal Newsline)-Alaska state employees are refusing to cooperate with an investigation into Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, state Attorney General Talis Colberg said.

Colberg, a Republican appointed to his position by Palin in 2006, wrote a letter to Sen. Hollis French, the Democrat in charge of overseeing the "Troopergate" investigation, asking the state senator to withdraw subpoenas recently issued.

In the letter, Colberg said employees would refuse to appear unless the full state Senate or the entire Legislature votes to compel their testimony. State employees, Colberg said, are torn between their loyalty to Palin and their desire to comply with the Legislature's investigation.

"This is an untenable position for our clients," Tolberg wrote, "because the governor has so strongly stated the subpoenas issued by your committee are of questionable validity."

Earlier this week campaign advisers for Republican presidential nominee John McCain blasted the investigation, and said Palin would not cooperate because the process had been hijacked by Democratic self-interest designed to hurt the vice presidential nominee's credibility prior to the election.

Palin has not been subpoenaed, but investigators hoped to speak with her voluntarily. Her husband, Todd Palin, was one of 13 people who did receive subpoenas last week from French's Senate Judiciary Committee, including 10 employees of Palin's administration.

"Troopergate" began before Palin was selected by McCain as his vice presidential nominee, but both sides say the investigation has become intensely partisan since Palin's nomination. Palin hired an attorney to represent her in the investigation, which is looking into allegations that the governor used her position to pressure Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire her former brother-in-law, an Alaskan state trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin's sister.

Palin later fired Monegan, but claims it had nothing to do with his refusal to fire her former brother-in-law. Monegan said he was fired for that very reason. He said Todd Palin and other members of Palin's administration and family contacted him numerous times demanding the trooper be fired.

Palin was quoted as saying she welcomed the investigation.

"Hold me accountable," she said. Be she has since taken many action that on the surface appear designed to slow the pace of the probe, perhaps past Election Day.

Harris has been trying to speed up the investigation, which was originally to be completed just prior to the presidential election, because he said he wanted to get the results of his investigation out early, weeks before the election. But, delays like the one presented by the Alaskan Attorney General today are thwarting that effort.

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