Friday, October 10, 2008

Alaska High Court Clears Way for Branchflower’s Troopergate Report

As the McCain-Palin campaign reportedly steps up its negative attacks on Barack Obama, the Alaska Supreme Court delivered a shot of its own.

Yesterday, according to the Anchorage Daily News, the state’s high court rejected an attempt by a group of six Republican legislators to put the kibosh on an investigation into Palin’s dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, and whether she improperly pressured him to fire her former brother-in-law Michael Wooten, a state trooper who a few years back went through a messy divorce and child custody battle with Palin’s sister. Here’s the two-page ruling, which upholds last week’s decision by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michalski.

(For more on Troopergate, here’s today’s NYT front-pager, which reports that, “to a far greater degree than was previously known, the governor, her husband and her administration pressed the commissioner and his staff to get Trooper Wooten off the force.”)

The ruling, notes the Anchorage Daily, means that Stephen Branchflower, the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, will release his report, as scheduled, today. (A month before McCain named Palin as his running-mate, Branchflower, a former assistant DA, was named special counsel to investigate Palin’s firing of Monegan.) The lawyers for the legislators who opposed the investigation argued that allowing the investigation to proceed would threaten the right under the Alaska Constitution to a “fair and just” investigation by the Legislature. They allege bias among the legislators who are leading the investigation, and that the Legislative Council lacks the authority to order the probe.

Source:  Wall Street Journal Blog

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