Sunday, February 8, 2009

Todd Palin held in contempt of Alaska state Senate

Mike Sheehan

The husband of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin has been found guilty of contempt by the Alaskan Senate.

Last summer, Todd Palin and others had refused to comply with subpoenas issued by Alaska lawmakers seeking testimony in the "Troopergate" investigation launched in July, triggered by the allegedly forced resignation of a state official.

The official, Walt Monegan, had been reluctant to fire an Alaska state trooper who was Gov. Palin's brother-in-law, embroiled in a bitter custody battle with Palin's sister.

According to the Anchorage Daily News issue of 8 October 2008, Todd Palin "talked with over a dozen state officials, many of them repeatedly, in his crusade to get a state trooper fired whom he considered to be a bad cop, a dishonest person and a threat to the Palin family," per a sworn statement given to a legislative investigator.

At the time the investigation began, Gov. Palin "welcomed the chance to clear the air and had directed her staff to cooperate with the investigations," writes Alaskan blogger Shannyn Moore. But "everything changed" when just weeks later, GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin as his running mate.

Despite Todd Palin's later refusal to comply with the subpoena, he was not subject to contempt charges until the full Alaska Senate reconvened in January 2009--weeks after Election Day.

This morning, the Alaska Senate resolution holding Palin et al. in contempt passed 16 to 1, per Moore's blog. The resolution "did not address the actions of [Palin appointee] Attorney General Talis Colberg," instead calling for "no penalties to the [seven] witnesses because they were being guided by the Attorney General" and did cooperate with lead "Troopergate" investigator Stephen Branchflower after Colberg's challenge to the subpoenas was thrown out of court.

With the election over and losing candidate Palin largely out of the spotlight she dominated during the runup to November, the attention to "Troopergate" has similarly dissipated, as evidenced by today's proceedings in the Alaska Senate. "There was very little discussion on the floor," Moore writes.

Gov. Palin probably prefers it that way, as she is often mentioned as a leading candidate for the GOP nomination in 2012.

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