So, what’s she hiding?
That’s the only question that can be drawn from seven of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s top aides defying subpoenas Friday from a legislative hearing examing whether Palin abused her power when she fired her public safety commissioner this summer.
The Legislative Council, in a unanimous bipartisan vote, ordered an investigation into Monegan’s firing, and Palin agreed to cooperate _ until she was named John McCain’s running mate. In fact, Palin had seemed to welcome the investigation as an opportunity to clear the air.
So, what made Palin change her mind? Is she afraid of what the Legislative Council will find? You’d think that if Palin was really as upfront and honest as she claims to be that she would want to be exonerated before the election. But apparently she’s willing to campaign with the cloud over her head. She must figure that her fellow Republicans just don’t care whether’s she’s innocent or not. And she’s also hoping that Republicans can politicize the investigation and claim that Democrats are just out to get her, never mind that five Republicans on the Legislative Council had voted to go ahead with the probe. Good luck with that one. She’s also probably hoping that she can claim the media’s out to get her because she’s a woman. Is she serious in thinking that the American people are dumb enough to believe that?
Either way, you have to figure that Palin lost a lot of credibility with her stand or avoidance of taking the stand.
According to the Associated Press, the whole controversy started after Palin fired Walt Monegan, the public safety commissioner, in July. He claims he was fired for refusing to fire a state trooper who had gone through a nasty divorce from Palin’s sister.
He claims he was pressured by Palin, her husband, Todd, and members of her staff to fire the trooper.
The Republican vice presidential nominee had initially denied that she nor anyone in her administration pressured Monegan, but in August revealed that her director of boards and commissions, Frank Bailey, was recorded questioning a state trooper official about why Palin’s former brother-in-law still had a job.
Bailey was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 19 but returned to work on Thursday, said Palin gubernatorial spokesman Bill McAllister. He declined to discuss Bailey’s return further, saying it was a personnel matter.
Palin claims she never pressured Monegan, and instead fired him over budget disagreements.
State Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French, a Democrat, waited 30 minutes Friday before reading a statement that the witnesses could be found in contempt when the full Legislature convenes in January and that the investigation would go on “in a simple search for the truth.”
Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven state workers Thursday challenging the subpoenas. He claims the committee has no jurisdiction to issue subpoenas in the investigation and questions whether the investigation’s overseeing body, the Legislative Council, had the authority to begin a probe.
“If they were a normal subpoena, we do not believe they would be optional,” Colberg said, never bother explain why these subpoenas were not normal. But then exactly what’s normal in Alaska these days is anyone’s guess.