Category Archives: Attorney General Talis Colberg

Gov. Palin Press Conference Focuses on Colberg Resignation, Federal Stimulus Money

JUNEAU, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin gave her first major news conference of 2009 on Wednesday, a day after Attorney General Talis Colberg’s resigned.

Palin said Colberg resigned amid a “harsh political environment.”

Palin repeated her earlier statement that Colberg chose to resign himself, and that he was not asked to write a letter to Sen. Hollis French, much like Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell did.

Palin said Colberg didn’t give a specific reason for his resignation, only saying that Colberg said it was in the best interest of the state.

“It was his choice to resign and if you want to talk to him more in detail about why he chose to resign, to leave state service, you’re free to do that,” Palin said. “I won’t speak for him.”

Palin received a letter Tuesday from Senate President Gary Stevens about what the governor called “a harsh political environment created during Troopergate.”

“I, like many Alaskans, was disappointed last fall with the way this matter became unnecessarily politicized during the national political campaign,” Stevens said in the letter. “We did not intend to smear or assault any of the witnesses; we want to put this behind us and move forward on issues of importance to all Alaskans.”

Palin said she did not want to talk about the issue further, and called it a personal issue.

She also talked about the federal stimulus package and said that the state will accept its share of funds — if those funds make sense for the state.

She specifically mentioned construction projects that need to happen.

Palin has voiced opposition to money for other programs in the past. She said the state might have to pick up the tab for some programs once it’s gone through the federal money.

Jason Lamb
KTUU – Alaska’s News Source

Advertisements

Supreme Court Won’t Block Gov. Palin Troopergate Inquiry

State Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, left, talks with attorney Peter Maassen after oral arguments before the Alaska Supreme Court in Anchorage Oct. 8, 2008.

State Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, left, talks with attorney Peter Maassen after oral arguments before the Alaska Supreme Court in Anchorage Oct. 8, 2008.

Just in from the Anchorage Daily News this afternoon… the Alaska Supreme Court rejected attempts by Republican legislators to close the Troopergate ethics investigation of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin!  In the article by Sean Chockerham, the Supreme Court’s ruling clears the way for Steven Branchflower to release his investigative findings tomorrow on Friday, October 10, 2008.   

The Alaska Supreme Court today rejected an attempt by a group of six Republican legislators to shut down the Legislature’s investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin.

The ruling means that Steve Branchflower, the investigator hired by the Legislative Council, will release his report as scheduled on Friday. Branchflower is looking into Palin’s dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, and whether she improperly pressured him to fire a state trooper divorced from her sister.

The state Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute and Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Alaska Republican state legislators opposed to their colleagues’ investigation.

The state legislators whose names appeared on the appeal attempting to stop the investigation are Wes Keller, Mike Kelly, Fred Dyson, Tom Wagoner, Carl Gatto and Bob Lynn.

Their lawyers 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.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michalski ruled last week that the conduct of the investigation did not violate the right to fairness. He found the Legislature has the right to investigate and issues like whether it happens through a council or committee are not for the courts to decide and is “business to be left to the legislative branch.”

The Alaska Supreme Court today upheld Michalski’s ruling in a two-page decision. The court clerk, Marilyn May, wrote that a full opinion explaining why would be coming.

Supreme Court Won’t Block Gov. Palin Troopergate Inquiry

Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg Says 7 State Employees Will Now Testify in Gov. Palin Troopergate Investigation

As reported in this morning’s Anchorage Daily News by journalist Wesley Loy, State Attorney General Talis Colberg has announced that the seven state employees who previously refused to testify in the Governor Sarah Palin “Troopergate” ethics investigation will now cooperate with investigators. 

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s attorney general announced Sunday that seven state employees will now honor subpoenas to testify in the legislative investigation of the Troopergate affair.

Attorney General Talis Colberg said the decision comes in light of Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski’s ruling last week rejecting an attempt to kill the subpoenas.

The state Department of Law “consulted with the seven state employees and advised them of their options,” a statement from Colberg’s office said.

All seven have decided to cooperate with the investigation, the statement said.

“Despite my initial concerns about the subpoenas, we respect the court’s decision to defer to the Legislature,” Colberg said. “We are working with Senator Hollis French to arrange for the testimony of the seven state employee plaintiffs.”

The seven employees, with Colberg’s office acting as their attorney, sued the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 25, arguing that legislators on the committee lacked authority to issue the subpoenas.

Michalski disagreed, ruling the investigation “is a proper subject for the Legislature” and any allegation that the committee overstepped its bounds is “an issue for the legislative branch, not the judicial branch.”

A different, bipartisan panel of legislators known as the Legislative Council voted July 28 to hire a retired state prosecutor, Steve Branchflower, to investigate whether Palin abused her power in firing former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

Monegan has said he believes he lost his job because he resisted pressure from Palin and others to fire a state trooper involved in a child custody battle with the governor’s sister. Palin says budget clashes with Monegan, not the trooper issue, triggered his firing.

The so-called Troopergate investigation has taken on national significance since Aug. 29, when Palin was announced as Republican John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

The campaign claims biased Democrats are controlling the legislative investigation and hope to use the results against the McCain-Palin ticket in the final weeks of campaigning before the Nov. 4 election. Branchflower is expected to finish his report by this Friday.

In an exchange of letters with Colberg, state Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat and Legislative Council chairman, questioned whether the attorney general believed obeying a subpoena is “voluntary.”

On Sunday, Elton said details were still being worked out on when the seven state employees will meet with Branchflower for questioning.

Enough time is left for Branchflower to conduct useful interviews with the seven witnesses, Elton said, but added: “It would have been much better to have done this two weeks ago.”

Among the seven state employees are some of Palin’s top aides, including her chief of staff, Mike Nizich, and administration commissioner Annette Kreitzer.

The Judiciary Committee also issued a subpoena to the governor’s husband, Todd Palin, who had talked with Monegan and other state workers about his family’s displeasure with the trooper.

Todd Palin has refused to honor the subpoena, but his lawyer said he plans to cooperate with a separate investigation the state Personnel Board is conducting into Monegan’s firing. That investigation, however, likely won’t conclude until after the election.

Legislators did not subpoena the governor herself.

Witness list

These seven state employees have now agreed to cooperate in the legislative investigation of the Troopergate affair.

  • Dianne Kiesel, a state human resources manager
  • Annette Kreitzer, state administration commissioner
  • Janice Mason, Gov. Sarah Palin’s scheduler and executive secretary
  • Nicki Neal, state personnel and labor relations director
  • Mike Nizich, Palin’s chief of staff
  • Kris Perry, director of the governor’s Anchorage office
  • Brad Thompson, state risk management director

 

Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg Says 7 State Employees Will Now Testify in Gov. Palin Troopergate Investigation

Gov. Palin Losing Friends on the Alaskan Home Front

In an editorial by the former Anchorage Daily News editorial page editor Michael Carey, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s drop in popularity among her constituents is examined.  Life could get interesting for Gov. Palin after the 2008 presidential election when she returns to Alaska and faces the many bridges that she’s burnt. 

Sarah Palin may be making new friends as she campaigns the nation, but at home, she’s making new enemies. She better get elected vice president. If she returns to Alaska as governor, the reception will be frosty — and not because winter has arrived.

In the last month, Palin has become something inconceivable during her first two years as the state’s chief executive: A polarizing figure rapidly emptying the storehouse of good will she accumulated.

For starters, her relationship with the press has collapsed — by her choice. She rarely talks to reporters. Her attack on the “media elite” at the Republican National Convention should have embarrassed her. There is no media elite in Alaska, and she generally received favorable press, except from a few conservative dissenters, as a candidate for governor and as governor.

You say she was unhappy with the eastern media, not the local scribes when she spoke to the convention. Well, during her recent visit to New York City she attended a dinner put together by Rupert Murdoch who, according to gossip columnist Cindy Adams, “piloted Sarah around” during the evening. Murdoch is one of the world’s most influential media barons. Also present was Cathy Black, president of Hearst Magazines. Other VIPS on hand at Tao on 58th Street, where a Kobe rib eye steak costs $88, included Sarah Ferguson, Martha Stewart, designer Vera Wang and the Queen of Jordan. Not the media elite — just the elite.

Troopergate was once a provincial tempest in a teapot that could have been resolved with minimal recriminations. Now it’s a full-fledged partisan battle, and the search for truth has become the hunt for a diamond in a cesspool.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French deserves criticism for his clumsy response once Troopergate went national: He should have never used the word “impeachment” in any context. But the bulk of this responsibility for the ugly mess falls on Palin herself, who can’t separate her personal life from her professional life, Attorney General Talis Colberg, who can’t figure out if he works for the people of Alaska or the Palin family, and the hammerheads sent up here by John McCain to run the local McCain-Palin campaign. Like their masters, these guys will tell any old tale about Hollis French, the Democrats and the media as long as it advances their cause. Remember Rudy Guiliani and Karl Rove touting Palin’s military experience as commander of the national guard? And her foreign policy experience because Alaska is near Russia? Pants-on-fire lies, but hey, who needs facts when you have talking points provided by headquarters in Washington.

Investigator Steve Branchflower be warned. If you issue a report on Troopergate before the election in any fashion critical of Gov. Palin, you can expect to be made to look like a war criminal. Or worse.

Thanks to Troopergate, the relationship Palin established with Democrats during two legislative sessions — the trust and accommodation she needed to pass her gas-line and oil-tax legislation — no longer exists.

Throughout her political career, Palin has benefited from establishing and exploiting contrast favorable to her. The contrast between Palin the woman-of-integrity and dishonest Republican bosses. The contrast between the fresh new Palin and ham-handed incumbent fossil Gov. Frank Murkowski. The contrast between woman-of-the-people Palin and the public-be-damned oil companies. Even the contrast between young, vital Palin and aging, stiff John McCain — which perversely enough has helped John McCain in the polls.

Now Palin stands in contrast with herself, before and after her nomination. And there’s no benefit for her — at least not in Alaska where she is still the governor.

Gov. Palin Losing Friends on the Alaskan Home Front

Anti-Palin Rally Draws 1,000 Protesters in Anchorage, Alaska

 

Speakers at the Hold Palin Accountable Rally Saturday September 27 2008

Speakers at the Hold Palin Accountable Rally Saturday September 27 2008

Participants hoist a variety of Anti-Palin signs at the Hold Palin Accountable Rally

Participants hoist a variety of Anti-Palin signs at the Hold Palin Accountable Rally

In an Anchorage Daily News article by Kyle Hopkins, hundreds of people converged on downtown Anchorage September 27, 2008 protesting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s mishandling of the Troopergate investigation.  Demonstrators carried signs demanding Gov. Palin clear up lingering questions in the stalled ethics investigation into the termination of popular Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and shouted “Recall Palin” at passing motorists.   

Walt Monegan's mother Betty Monegan appears at the Hold Palin Accountable Rally

Walt Monegan's mother Betty Monegan appears at the Hold Palin Accountable Rally

They also called for the resignation of Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg, who is seen as delaying the investigation due to Gov. Palin’s selection as GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.  Speakers included Walt Monegan’s mom, Betty Monegan, who became emotional at the outpouring of support for her son.

A protest rally blasting Gov. Sarah Palin’s handling of the state’s so-called Troopergate investigation — and calling for the attorney general to resign — drew 1,000 or more people to the Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage on Saturday.

Protesters chanted “recall Palin!” as organizers told the crowd to push state legislators to keep after their investigation into the governor’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

The investigator hired by the Legislature is scheduled to present his report on Oct. 10.

“This report needs to be released. Not just for us … it needs to be released for all those people in the Lower 48 who are going to make a decision on Nov. 4,” Democratic blogger Linda Kellen Biegel told hundreds of protesters gathered on the Park Strip grass.

Protest sign at the Saturday September 27th Hold Palin Accountable Rally

Protest sign at the Saturday September 27th Hold Palin Accountable Rally

Earlier, hundreds of people lined I Street, waving signs that said “Steady on her heels, wobbly on her words” and “Tina Fey would do a better job” at passing cars. A group calling itself Alaskans for Truth organized the event, which at times resembled a Barack Obama campaign rally.

Anchorage singer-songwriter Libby Roderick led the crowd in a chorus of “We’re gonna keep on moving forward” and “Stand tall for Obama,” while Obama volunteers signed up supporters under a nearby tent.

Next to the Obama fliers sat petitions calling for Attorney General Talis Colberg to be removed from his job.

On July 28, the Legislative Council — a bipartisan group of 12 state lawmakers — voted to launch an abuse-of-power investigation into Palin’s firing of Monegan.

Palin initially said she’d cooperate with the investigation. Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain announced Palin as his running mate Aug. 29, and the McCain camp has argued that the investigation became a partisan witchhunt spurred by Democrats.

Colberg is suing to quash the Legislature’s subpoenas of Palin aides in what’s become a turf battle between the state’s executive and legislative branches of government.

Nicole McCullough came to the rally with her grand-niece and grand-nephew — twins born the day before Palin’s youngest son, Trig. McCullough wore a pitbull mask with large red lips, a reference to a Palin’s joke about hockey moms at the Republican National Convention.

A Hillary Clinton supporter earlier in the election, McCullough called Palin “a female Dan Quayle” and carried a sign that read: “Gov. Pitbull, call off your McCain dogs.

It’s a reference to the McCain spokespeople and attorneys, including the self-described “Truth Squad” that’s been defending the governor in regular Anchorage press conferences.

“She’s had a lot of outside lawyers coming into the state … and I think they’re just being in the way of our legislative process,” McCullough said.

As of this afternoon, the McCain campaign couldn’t be reached for comment.

Anti-Palin Rally Draws 1,000 Protesters

Hundreds of Alaskans Rally to Protest Palin on ‘Troopergate’

Anti-Palin Protests in Anchorage Alaska - Demonstrator with Palinocchio sign

Anti-Palin Protests in Anchorage Alaska - Demonstrator with "Palinocchio" sign

The Anchorage Daily News reported on a large Anti-Palin demonstration held in Anchorage, Alaska this past Saturday, 27, 2008.  Alaskans have grown increasingly frustrated with Governor Sarah Palin’s lack of cooperation in the “Troopergate” ethics investigation.  Extensive photographs of the protest have been set to music and posted on YouTube.com, one of which is included below.

A protest rally blasting Gov. Sarah Palin’s handling of the state’s so-called troopergate investigation — and calling for the attorney general to resign — drew 1,000 or more people in Anchorage on Saturday.
Protesters chanted “Recall Palin!” as organizers told the crowd to push state legislators to keep after their investigation into the governor’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

AKMuckraker has a firsthand account and says there were over 1,500 protesters:

After an hour or so, we were all called to the main stage to hear the speakers. It was difficult to pull ourselves away from the road. There was an incredible amount of support from honking cars, and drivers waving and giving “thumbs up”. There were amazing signs. There were pitbull masks. There was a guy dressed like Richard Nixon. There were live chickens. Yes, a woman had a cage of live chickens beneath her sign that read, “Sarah, Don’t Chicken Out!”
…The speakers were great. CC from KUDO radio, Shannyn Moore from Air America, Ron Devon reading a letter of support from Rep. Les Gara who was out of state, Libby Roderick, local folk singing legend, John Cyr, head of the troopers’ union, and many more. The greatest of all was the final speaker – Walt Monegan’s Mom. She stood up, obviously emotional, and thanked the crowd for their support. “I never knew so many people loved Walt,” she said, her voice quivering a little. She talked about her son, and that he was a good man. “I’m going to cry……I don’t know what else to say but, thank you!” She sat down again, and mopped her eyes, and the crowd went wild.

Hundreds of Alaskans rally to protest Palin on ‘Troopergate’

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s Ethics Investigation: True Lies

Alaska State Senate President Lyda Green

Alaska State Senate President Lyda Green

Alaskans are becoming increasingly frustrated by the disregard of the “Troopergate” investigation shown by Governor Sarah Palin and the McCain presidential campaign staff who have descended on the state.  In a September 25, 2008 article for the Anchorage Press by Brendan Joel Kelley, Alaska Republican Attorney General Talis Colberg is on vacation to parts unknown while Ed O’Callaghan and Meg Stapleton continue to block the investigation. 

 

Attorney General Colberg (right) stated in a letter September 16 that ten state employees would not be cooperate with their subpoenas.  Gov. Palin’s husband Todd Palin, who has also been subpoenaed, did not appear for his scheduled testimony last week.  Although advising witnesses not to appear when subpoenaed is a clear violation of the law … Alaska Statute 11.56.545 … this doesn’t seem to have stopped someone (Colberg? O’Callaghan?) from doing just that. 

Alaska State Senate President Lyda Green expressed great concern as to the steamroller tactics of the McCain campaign in taking over what was clearly an internal state government ethics investigation.  Due to the difficulties in reconvening the state legislature for a special session to take some action in the investigation, it would appear at this point that “Troopergate” is unlikely to be resolved until after the national presidential election is held in November.

Whether or not the Republican presidential ticket wins in November, Alaskans are already living in McCainistan. It seems Governor Palin and Attorney General Talis Colberg have simply abdicated their positions, leaving operatives from the McCain campaign in charge of the executive branch (including the Department of Law) while attempting to undermine the authority of the legislative branch.

As one watches Governor Palin stumble through the three interviews she’s done since being announced as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, and as one reads the reports in the national media of Palin being sequestered far away from inquisitive reporters, and as one hears that requests for information about both her record as governor for the past 21 months and the legislative investigation into whether she improperly dismissed former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan are being shunted to the McCain campaign, it’s a bit jaw-dropping to attend one of the “truth squad” pressers and repeatedly hear that Palin is “an open book.” Actually it’s worse than jaw-dropping: It’s insulting. A visibly frustrated Sean Cockerham of the Anchorage Daily News expressed what most in the room were thinking at Tuesday’s installment of the Palin “truth squad” charade: “[Governor Palin] says she’s an open book, she wants her story to be told, then why does she not speak to the press?”

While Attorney General Talis Colberg is “vacationing” somewhere in the Midwest, we’re treated to a shrill performance by former Palin spokesperson Meg Stapleton, who glances up from her script occasionally to sneer smugly at the reporters in the room (see for yourself in video posted at ADN’s Alaska Politics blog).

Then, once she’s read her prepared statement, Ed O’Callaghan, until recently co-chief of the terrorism and national security unit of the U.S. attorney’s office in New York, takes questions, while Stapleton gazes dreamily at him, lips pursed.

O’Callaghan is billed as a McCain campaign spokesman, but why would a Justice Department prosecutor quit his job and fly to Alaska to be a mere flack? Because, by his own admission, he’s also advising Thomas Van Flein, an Anchorage lawyer representing the Palins in the Wootengate inquiry. Van Flein was originally retained by Alaska’s Department of Law; the McCain camp says that that contract has been terminated. Meanwhile, O’Callaghan can’t-or won’t-answer to what extent attorneys from the McCain campaign are advising the Department of Law.

Since Palin was named to the Republican ticket, Van Flein (with the counsel of O’Callaghan and another “volunteer” attorney that the Truthers declined to name) has asserted that the legislature has no authority to investigate the dismissal of Monegan, and that the state’s Personnel Board-which answers to the governor-has jurisdiction over such matters.

“Today, we reiterate and emphasize the ongoing cooperation in the truly independent investigation involving the only legal forum in the state for the Monegan inquiry,” Stapleton said Monday. “As you know, that is the Personnel Board.”

Except that we don’t know that. And that was never asserted prior to Palin’s August 29 selection by McCain as his running mate.

And that’s not the least of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies being peddled by Stapleton and O’Callaghan.

When Stapleton alleged that Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) decided not to subpoena Palin’s former chief of staff Mike Tibbles, KTUU’s Jason Moore pointed out that it was actually Fairbanks Republican Representative Jay Ramras that requested Tibbles not be subpoenaed. Following that report on KTUU, Stapleton called Moore’s wife and told her that Moore was calling Stapleton and O’Callaghan liars, then followed up by calling KTUU news director Steve Mac Donald to complain.

In trying to paint Commissioner Monegan as a rogue, the Truthers alleged that Monegan had sought to go to Washington, D.C. in July to seek federal funds to fight sexual violence in Alaska without the administration’s approval (the campaign called this “the final straw”). However, ABC News unearthed the travel authorization-signed by Palin’s chief of staff Mike Nizich-authorizing Monegan to go to Washington to attend a meeting with Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Now Attorney General Colberg is missing in action after writing a letter on September 16 advising Legislative Council chair Senator Kim Elton (D-Juneau) that ten state employees would not cooperate with the subpoenas that the Senate Judiciary issued. Three, including Todd Palin, failed to show up last week, and the other seven are due to appear before the House Judiciary Committee this Friday.

It’s worth noting that if Colberg-or O’Callaghan-advised any of the subpoenaed witnesses not to appear, it appears to violate Alaska Statute 11.56.545, which makes it a class A misdemeanor to knowingly induce a witness to be absent from an “official proceeding,” which is defined as a “proceeding heard before a legislative, judicial, administrative, or other governmental body or official authorized to hear evidence under oath.”

Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) has asked the state troopers to investigate whether witness tampering has occurred. “We’re looking at the statutes and the facts,” he says. “It’s pretty serious charges, so we’re not going to say that we know who’s broken the law.”

In Gara’s letter to Colonel Audie Holloway, he writes, “I do not know whether it is advice from staff for the McCain campaign, state counsel, private cousel, or from others, or whether these witnesses may have [chosen not to appear] independently of advice or suggestions from third persons. But it seems a witness would not risk the possible jail time that comes with the violations of a subpoena without advice of others.”

State Senate President Lyda Green (R-Wasilla) is exploring what actions the legislature can take at this point as well. “Reconvening the senate is one of the options,” she says. “I have an idea this will roll over into the next legislative year, and I have an idea that to try to reconvene the legislature after two rather long special sessions would be very difficult.”

Green says she welcomes the presence of national campaigns here in Alaska, but “I’m very concerned that [the McCain campaign has] become the spokesperson for the governor and her husband and issues concerning an Alaska legislature’s special investigator. I do feel the national Republican campaign is asserting way too much influence. It’s my understanding that the other day someone called the governor’s office to inquire about [the Monegan investigation] and they were given the McCain campaign number. That’s, to me, a very questionable use. I don’t know that it’s unethical, illegal, or improper, but to me it’s a very strange tie, since generally candidates are cautioned to keep your office and your campaign totally separate.”

The McCain campaign and Van Flein have insisted that Monegan and Stephen Branchflower, the investigator hired by the legislature to pursue the inquiry, are friends. But there is evidence to the contrary. “Steve Branchflower and Walt Monegan, if anything, probably have an adversarial relationship,” Senator Green says.

She’s referring to the 2002 murder of retired Commissioner of Public Safety Glenn Godfrey, when a former girlfriend of Godfrey’s, Karen Brand, entered the home, killed Glenn Godfrey, shot Godfrey’s wife Patricia four times, and then killed herself. Patricia Godfrey called 911, but it took police and medical personnel nearly an hour to find the Godfrey’s Eagle River home. Walt Monegan was the chief of the Anchorage Police Department at the time.

Patricia Godfrey filed a complaint with the Office of Victim’s Rights, whose director at the time was Stephen Branchflower. Branchflower’s subsequent investigation and report found that the APD, under Monegan’s reign, violated the victims’ rights by releasing confidential information about them at a press conference, and that APD’s delayed emergency response violated Patricia Godfrey’s right to immediate medical assistance, and that the delayed response was not an isolated event for the APD under Monegan’s watch.

On Tuesday, in a combative session with reporters, Stapleton and O’Callaghan said that Governor Palin-the “open book”-would be cooperating with the Personnel Board’s investigator, Timothy Petumenos, and that both Todd and Sarah Palin were working on scheduling interviews with Petumenos.

But this assertion that the Personnel Board investigation-launched suddenly after Palin’s nomination-is valid and nonpartisan, while the legislature’s investigation is irrevocably tainted by partisanship, is, quite simply, bullshit.

Last week, two lawsuits-one from five state legislators-were filed seeking to dismiss the Legislative Council’s investigation on grounds that it was partisan (never mind that Republican legislators were among those who’ve voted in favor of both the initial investigation and the subpoenas that it issued).

On Tuesday, came news that the Legislative Council has hired an attorney to file their own suit, this one asking the courts to quash those two lawsuits. In a press release from the office of attorney Peter Maasen, who’s representing the Council, the obvious is finally stated: “The complaints suggest that Alaska legislators with open political views should be prohibited from participating in any legislative function that might-might-reflect badly on Governor Palin, at least until the national election is over.

“The Alaska legislature is comprised of people with open political views, both Republican and Democrat. That does not disqualify them from legislative functions, not even during election season, and not even if powerful and increasingly heavy-handed national interests wish it were otherwise.”

True Lies