On Tuesday, Governor Sarah Palin's appointed Attorney General sent a letter to state Sen. Hollis French, the Democrat overseeing the "Troopergate" investigation, and asked that the subpoenas that were issued last week to comple testimony be withdrawn.
Attorney General Talis Colberg also stated the employees would refuse to appear unless either the full state Senate or the entire Legislature votes to compel their testimony.
According to Colberg, the employees are caught between their respect for the Legislature and their loyalty to the governor, who initially agreed to cooperate with the inquiry but has increasingly opposed and has attempted to delay it since beoming John McCain's running mate.
"This is an untenable position for our clients because the governor has so strongly stated that the subpoenas issued by your committee are of questionable validity," Colberg wrote.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed 13 people. They include 10 employees of Palin's administration and three who are not: her husband, Todd Palin; John Bitney, Palin's former legislative liaison who now is chief of staff for Republican House Speaker John Harris; and Murlene Wilkes, a state contractor.
This is quite a change of tune for Colberg, who just a month ago came under questions for talking to potential witnesses ahead of special investigator Steve Branchflower.
Both Palin and Colberg stated at the time he was gathering evidence to hand over to Branchflower for the investigation.
However today, four weeks later, both Colberg and Palin are questioning the validity of the investigation.
Also on Tuesday, the McCain campaign rolled out what they're calling their "Truth Squad", which consists of former Palin spokesperson Meg Stapleton and a New York lawyer named Ed O'Callahan.
During there initial press conference they claimed that Democratic State Senator Hollis French, manipulated the witness list by leaving off the name of Palin's former Chief of Staff Mike Tibbles.
However they were wrong; Franch had nothing to do with leaving Tibbles name of the list. The move was made by Republican Representative Jay Ramras who felt that Tibbles should be left off because he is now in the private sector and doesn't have the advantage of a state lawyer to defend himself.
So on their first day, the McCain truth squad came up with a false accusation.
So just for the record, we'll share the actual truth with the Meg and Ed about this investigation so they'll know better next time:
Lawmakers seek outside inquiry of Monegan firing - KTUU-TV – July 18, 2008:
Some lawmakers are asking for more answers to the reasons Palin had for firing Monegan. Palin, in Wasilla for the Governor’s Picnic, said she would not fight such an effort to look into this matter by an independent investigator.
“We would never prohibit, or be less than enthusiastic about any kind of investigation. Let’s deal in the facts, and you do that via investigation,” Palin said.
Senate will look into Monegan firing - KTUU-TV – July 19, 2008:
While the governor said there is no need for an investigation from an outside investigator, she said she will answer any questions from lawmakers, media and the public.
Public Safety already headed in ‘new direction,’ some say - Anchorage Daily News - July 22, 2008:
The governor denies any wrongdoing, and says she welcomes any questions on the matter.
Palin under fire – Legislature appears poised to appoint investigator -Aftermath of Monegan Dismissal, Anchorage Daily News - July 22, 2008:
“I’ve said all along, hold me accountable,” Palin told reporters in Juneau. “And I’m telling the truth when I say there was never pressure put on Commissioner Monegan.”
Lawmakers move to investigate Monegan ouster, KTUU-TV – July 24, 2008:
The governor says she welcomes the investigation. “I have absolutely nothing to hide and am happy to answer any questions,” she said. “I’m happy to answer any questions between now and when they do conduct an investigation also.”
Gov. Palin said last weekend that she did not think an independent investigator was needed. “That being the route that they choose, then so be it,” she said. “I’m happy to comply, to cooperate. I have absolutely nothing to hide. No problem with an independent investigation.”
Hired help will probe Monegan dismissal - $100,000: Legislators vote to have independent investigator look into controversial firing - Anchorage Daily News –July 29, 2008:
“The governor has said all along that she will fully cooperate with an investigation and her staff will cooperate as well,” Leighow said.
Branchflower to investigate in Monegan firing - KTUU-TV – August 1, 2008:
“I’ve heard (Branchflower’s) name, or course, over the years in Alaska,” Palin said. “I know he’s a prosecutor, probably a heavy duty prosecutor, and so that kind of puzzles us why we are going down that road when we are very, very open to answering any questions anybody has of me or administrators.”
PRESS RELEASE: GOVERNOR TO TURN OVER FINDINGS - Office of the Governor – August 13, 2008:
Governor Palin has directed all her staff to cooperate fully with Branchflower.
Palin administration cooperating with investigator - KTUU-TV – August 15, 2008:
Lawmakers had wanted to know if Steve Branchflower needed them to issues subpoenas to require witnesses to talk to him about Gov. Sarah Palin’s decision to fire Monegan and about the actions of her staffers. But State Sen. Hollis French says the meeting was cancelled because there’s no need for subpoenas at this point.
Palin aide Frank Bailey placed on administrative leave - KTUU-TV – August 19, 2008:
“We figured, if there is an investigation going on with an unknown outcome – we don’t know exactly what (special investigator) Mr. Branchflower is going to conclude – that Mr. Bailey just needed to step away from the situation, although be available to the investigator,” [Palin spokesman] McAllister said. The governor’s office also says that Bailey will cooperate fully with the investigation.
Palin aide put on leave in firing flap, BAILEY: Official who made all inquiring about trooper taken “out of the mix.” - Anchorage Daily News – August 20, 2008:
Spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said that with Bailey still a state employee, Palin “can direct him to assist Mr. Branchflower, thereby fulfilling her pledge to Alaskans to cooperate fully with the investigation.”
Re: Governor Palin and Trooper Investigation - McCain Campaign Press Release – August 30, 2008:
Governor Palin is an open book on this – she did nothing wrong and has nothing to hide. As a reformer and a leader on ethics reform, she has been happy to cooperate fully in the inquiry of this matter.
Attorney challenges Monegan firing inquiry – Anchorage Daily News – September 2, 2008:
He [Governor Palin’s Lawyer Mr. Van Flein] said the governor’s office welcomes the inquiry and will cooperate. Palin has made repeated public statements that she’ll cooperate, and that hasn’t changed at this point, Van Flein says.
Labels: Palin Investigated, sarah palin, Steve Branchflower