When the Troopergate scandal first broke, & the bipartisan Alaska Legislative Council — a constitutionally mandated permanent committee of the Alaska State Legislature — voted 12-0 to investigate the circumstances of the Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, Palin welcomed the investigation. “Hold me accountable,” she said.
But no sooner was Palin tapped as McCain’s running mate than her cooperation & promises for openness & transparency went right down the toilet. McCain campaign apparatchiks in the form of a self-named “Truth Squad” virtually took over the Office of the Governor & the upper levels of the Alaska Department of Law. Attorney General Talis Colberg advised state employees, who had to be subpoenaed to testify to the Legislative Council’s investigator Stephen Branchflower, to ignore the subpoenas, & filed suit to quash the subpoenas. Six state legislators — all Republicans — filed suit to stop the legislative investigation.
Last week, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski threw the suits out, stating in his decision that the legislature has broad powers of investigation & that due to the separation of powers of the three branches of government, the judiciary cannot interfere in those investigations. But the six Republican legislators who sought to stop the investigation appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.
The high court will hear oral arguments in the case today, with a decision to be handed down tomorrow. Meantime, the subpoenaed state workers, as well as Sarah Palin’s husband Todd, have all answered Branchflower’s questions. According to the Anchorage Daily News:
With his Troopergate report due Friday, legislative investigator Steve Branchflower appears to have the makings of a fairly complete account, despite weeks of resistance from the Palin family and administration.
Branchflower has, or soon will have, answers from nearly all the people he’d hoped to question regarding Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing in July of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.
But Sarah Palin, who initially pledged cooperation, is not one of them.
The Alaska Supreme Court’s decision tomorrow appears to be the deciding factor over whether Branchflower’s investigative report, due to be submitted the very next day, will ever see the light of day. That appears to be the principal reason behind the appeal: the plaintiff legislators fear that results of the investigation will have a negative impact on Palin’s candidacy for the vice presidency of the United States. They insist (as the McCain/Palin “Truth Squad” did) that the investigation has been politicized, without recognition whatsoever of how their own activities have politicized the investigation.
The Alaska Court System has the relevant documents in this case, Keller v. French. Of particular note:
- Order on Motion to Dismiss and Temporary and Preliminary Injunction (Judge Michalski’s decision)
- Appellants’ Brief
- Appellees’ Brief