September 8th, 2008
12:32 PM ET
6 years ago

Palin trooper probe chief will stay, lawmaker says

Sarah Palin campaigns with her husband by her side.
Sarah Palin campaigns with her husband by her side.

(CNN) – The manager of a state probe into the firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner won't be removed for suggesting the investigation could yield an "October surprise" for Gov. Sarah Palin, a key lawmaker announced Monday.

State Sen. Kim Elton, the chairman of the bipartisan Legislative Council that commissioned the probe, said the decisions made by Sen. Hollis French "have been appropriate, bipartisan ... and unchallenged" and that French has called the comments he made last week "regrettable."

"Comments about the investigation can be as incendiary as napalm," Elton, a Democrat, wrote to a Republican lawmaker who sought French's removal last week. But he added, "I'm sure that all of us can work in a non-partisan way to accomplish the charge given to the investigator by the Legislative Council."

Alaska's Legislature is looking into allegations that Palin - now the Republican nominee for vice president - fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan when he refused to sack her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper involved in a custody battle with the governor's sister. Palin has denied any wrongdoing, and her allies have said the investigation has become a "political circus."

There was no immediate reaction to Monday's decision either from the Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign or from state Rep. John Coghill, who asked lawmakers to remove French last week.

Palin originally pledged to cooperate with the investigation. But her lawyers have asked the state Personnel Board to start its own probe, arguing that Alaska law requires that agency to hear ethics complaints against the governor.

Critics accuse the governor of trying to delay the probe now that she is McCain's running mate. Lawmakers have scheduled a Friday vote on whether to subpoena several witnesses who have refused to sit for depositions in the case, and have moved their original October 31 deadline for completing the probe up three weeks to October 10.

"We all recognize that the attention focused on the exercise of this unanimously adopted Legislative Council charge has become far more intense in the last 10 days," Elton wrote. "Comments that suggest, purposefully or not or in context or not, that there is a pre-determined outcome are very harmful."

The Legislature hired former prosecutor Steve Branchflower as a special counsel to investigate Monegan's firing, with French overseeing the probe. In his Monday letter, Elton wrote that no one has questioned Branchflower's impartiality, and that French's decisions have been made after consulting with bipartisan leaders of the state House and Senate.

French told ABC News last week that the probe could turn out to be an "October surprise" for the McCain-Palin ticket, and that the findings were "likely to be damaging to the governor's administration." Friday, he told Anchorage television station KTUU that "I made some remarks I should not have made," and Elton wrote that Branchflower will not make any comments to news outlets regarding his findings.

Monegan told CNN earlier last week that no one directly demanded Wooten's dismissal. But he said the trooper was the subject of "constant" questions or comments from Palin's staff, and that Wooten "was an irritant to her."

In calling for a Personnel Board probe last week, Palin's lawyers called her sister's ex-husband a "rogue trooper" who threatened the governor's family during a bitter divorce and custody battle. Complaints from Palin's family led to a five-day suspension for the trooper in 2006 after his superiors found he
had illegally shot a moose using his wife's permit, drove his patrol car while drinking beer and used a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson "in a training capacity."

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Wooten said he was "punished appropriately" and was "moving on."


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Cecil

    Dads' For

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 8, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Darryl

    Let God be our witness she too will be caught..

    September 8, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. karrie

    It seems if you have a negative comment about the Republicans, they try to get you removed. It smacks of censorship, and it's downright scary.

    September 8, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Brent Hall

    Vet this subject on the net, and notice just how many conversations were "cc" to Mr. Palin. If it was business only, there would have not been the personal "cc's", just the regular husband/wife chat at the end of each day.

    Also, we'll be hearing of Palin's opinion on all of the issues at hand just as soon as the Rovies & McCain tell her what her opinions are.

    September 8, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. J from DC

    We went to Iraq to disarm their government from WMD's
    If the serge did not find the WMD's,
    How is it a success???
    Oil and War is all I hear form the republicans.
    Housing Market Breakdown.
    And the same administration that ignored this problem is taking it over. I guess more government intervention is the right answer after all.
    Can someone say hypocrites

    September 8, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. NotFallingInLine.org

    Sarah Palin = Jim Jones = David Koresh

    World will end and John McCain will be the general.

    September 8, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. sb

    With as little as we know about her, in hearing her speak, it sounds exactly like somthing she would do. There is a condesending sarcastic flare of supiority on her part and a big chip on her shoulder.

    September 8, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Amazing

    It amazes me how so little comments have been left here about Palins investigations, things we should be concerned about people don't post because they don't want to hear or read the truth. But if you talk about her being a mom and a freaking pit-bull, CNN has to close the commenting because like McCain campaign mangers says.

    "This election is not about the issues, it's about style" We are in deep "do do"

    September 8, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    THERE are also problems with "PEOPLE OF COLOR" and PA'IN that NO ONE wants to share in the MEDIA – I hear it on the radio STRAIGHT FROM THE MOUTH OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN ALASKA....

    EVERY interviewee on CNN, FOX NEW and MSNBC in Alaska NOT of Color. PA'IN has NO DIVERSITY and does not care to speak about how she stands on Civl Rights, etc.!!!

    PLEEZ!!!! NO WAY – NO HOW – NO McSAME – NO PA'IN!!!

    OBADEN 2008-2016!! YES WE CAN!!

    September 8, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. David Richmond,VA

    Here's the Big question, Do you all Know who her husband is? From what I've been hearing, he's an OIL MAN!

    Research...

    September 8, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    PEOPLE THIS IS ANOTHER PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER AND IS NONE OF ANYONES BUSINESS. THIS DOES NOT EFFECT OUR COUNTRY. BEFORE YOU SPEAK YOU SHOULD KNOW THE FACTS AND THE FACT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. SOUNDS LIKE PEOPLE ARE GRASPING AT STRAWS. LOOKING FOR ANY KIND OF EXCUSE GOOD FOR NOTHING. I HOPE IF YOU ARE EMPLOYEED THAT YOUR CO WORKERS WATCH EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO MAYBE IT WILL BE USED AGAINST OR WILL IT BENEFIT YOU WHEN IT IS TIME FOR YOUR RAISE. ALL OF YOU SOUND LIKE POOR LOOSERS.

    September 8, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    The investigation had better proceed unhindered. Anything less would be very suspicious.

    September 8, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    People are going to criticize regardless. So what the heck. Everyone has an opinion but it is not the GOLDEN RULE. Hope you remember that. Matter of OPINION. Get it?

    September 8, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Peter (CA)

    O fcourse the investigations should take place and they should not be investigated by Palin's cronies.

    It shows again what a poor process her vetting was. The right wingers can cry all they want about poor Palin being picked on but the truth is the Republicans keep bringing this on to themselves. How come no one can interview her? How come all we see are the pre-packaged speeches?

    And someone please tell me how the people who got us into this mess will bring change? With the price of gas, the housing crunch, and the rest of the economic mess, it seems all we have left is change–in our pocket.

    September 8, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. George James

    Palin is a bigtime liar.If you think she is fit to be the VP.,please have a second thought.

    September 8, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Shari, NY

    Thank god for internet bloggers, they stir up things which liars don't want you to know.

    September 8, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. DK(@)AZ

    Let the truth come out. He is just doing "gods work". Palin has radical views on religion and ethics. What are the republicans offering ?

    September 8, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. gary

    FREE IN LOVIT WHEN ARE YOU LITTLE PEOPLE GONNA STOP HATING? YOUR JUST MAKING IT WORST FOR OBAMA. AMERICA ISN'T GETTING TIRED OF O.B.'S YOUNG HATERS. O.B. TRASHES HIS OWN PARTY (THE CLINTONS). THE REPUBLICANS ARE MORE UNITED. THEY DONT TRASH THEIR OWN PARTY.O.B. HAD A CHANCE TO PICK HRC FOR VP. ,BUT HIS BIAS AGAINST GENDER BROUGHT HIM TO PICK BIDEN. HE TRASHED HRC FOR VOTING IRAQ,BUT SO DIDN'T BIDEN. O.B. AND BIDEN ARE THE BIGGEST FLIP FLOPPERS AND DOUBLE STANDARD CANIDATES I HAVE EVER SEEN. THE CLINTONS SHOULD OF SAID NO THANK YOU O.B. AFTER THE TRASHING HE DID TO THEM. MCCAIN AND PALIN ARE FOR REAL AND DONT TRASH THEIR OWN. GO MCCAIN AND PALIN ,THE REAL CHANGE FOR AMERICA.

    September 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. arrowrod

    That's fair. Draw and quarter her. Then have the trial. There is only one small problem. At least one of the lawyers for a "person of interest" questions the authority of the inquisitor.

    Apparently nobody is cooperating with the inquisitor. Branchflower and the legislature seems to think subpoenas will elicit responses.

    All I can say is, Palin must have really rained on the legislatures parade.

    Now the rest of you non-believers know why Palin is our choice. The legislators miss their graft.

    September 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Don

    I cannot believe the maniac fringe that think Palin would be a great VP. I have read that some of her (idiot) supporters don't care if she cannot answer questions on foreign policy and other items, and think basically anyone could handle this job. Tell ya what oh mindless ones, I was always interested in biology, so if you need heart surgery why not come on over and I will pull out the steak knives.

    If McSame and his buddy win look for a surge in Americans moving to Canada. For the first time I look for many to doubt their pride in America. The dumbing down of America has been a total success.

    September 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Tired of the Lies

    So... this is the woman McCain maintains is the right person to join him in Washington?

    The "War is God's plan", "There's no Conflict of Interest in trying to get your sister's ex- fired", "I sold the jet on eBay for a profit", "It's better for my daughter to get pregnant than be taught about birth control", "I'm fighting Big Oil by trying to open the north shore for drilling" woman whose only foreign affairs experience is being Canada's neighbor?

    September 8, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Rewind the Last Eight Years

    The Clampett's on parade...
    MAYBE it's better to let people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    September 8, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Irma in North Carolina

    Lets hope they get her, she needs to be brought down on her knees also so does Grandpa, she does nothing but cling to his coat tail.

    September 8, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. Redneck from Kentucky

    A blind man can see that she had involvement in trying to get the trooper discharged. If she thought he was wrong ad she had faith in Alaska's personnel system she would have stayed completely clear of the investigation and trusted their findings. Instead she, her husband, and her staff continuously intervened to try to influence his discharge. Politics as usual. Of course, the findings of the investigation into her actions won't be made public until after the November election. Wait & see!

    September 8, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    We want a bridge to the future, not a bridge to nowhere.

    Obama 08!

    September 8, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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