Tag 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

What’s Ahead For Gov. Palin? Seven Challenges

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

It appears that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will probably be back on the national scene in two years campaigning as the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election.  We here at the Sarah Palin Truth Squad have decided to continue posting information about Governor Palin in anticipation of that race.  Today the Anchorage Daily News published the following article by Tom Kizzia on the political future of Gov. Palin.

For two months she basked — and sizzled — in the world’s hottest celebrity spotlight. Now Sarah Palin has come home to begin the last two years of her term as governor of Alaska.

Everything has changed: Palin’s personal horizon, her relations with the state’s other elected officials, the public’s sense of who she is.

Palin returned to her office Friday amid a brutal crossfire between detractors and defenders in the McCain camp. At the same time, however, a new national poll said 64 percent of Republicans consider her their top choice to run for president in 2012.

Continue reading

Gov. Palin Target Of NEW Alaska Ethics Complaint for Children’s Travel Expenses

CBS News’ investigative unit is reporting on a new complaint filed in Juneau, Alaska against Governor Sarah Palin related to travel expenses by Gov. Palin’s children which were charged to Alaskan taxpayers.

Alaska Governor and Republican Vice President hopeful Sarah Palin may be facing another round of scrutiny, this time for charging the state for her children to travel with her while conducing official state business.

CBS News has obtained a copy of the complaint that Frank Gwartney, a retired lineman in Anchorage filed last Friday, with Alaska’s Attorney General, Talis Colberg in Juneau. “Palin ran on the platform of ethics, transparency and anti-corruption. I’m tired of the hypocrisy that exists in Government and people need to know the truth,” said Gwartney.

The complaint against Governor Palin, alleges Misuse of Official Position: “Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters…” All the allegations contained in the complaint are related to state reimbursed travel.

In Alaska, ethics complaints filed against the Governor are confidential. “We can neither confirm nor refute that a complaint has been filed against Governor Sarah Palin. Any complaint remains confidential unless the person being charged waives confidentiality or if the complaint progresses to the state of probable cause,” Assistant District Attorney, Dave Jones told CBS News.

Bristol, Piper and Willow, Palin’s daughters, accrued $32,629 in travel expenses while Palin’s husband Todd raked up $22,174 – all billed to the state for a total of $54,803.00.

“The Governor’s office has expended $54,803.00 in Alaska state dollars for family travel since December 2006,” according to the Governor’s Administrative Services Director, Linda Perez. “The documentation related to family travel has changed and you have to keep in mind that the governor and her family are very popular,” added Perez.

Sharon Leighow, Deputy Communications Director, said “Governor Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children’s travel and there’s also the expectation that the first family participate in community activities across the state.”

This new ethics complaint comes on the heels of the Federal Elections Campaign complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for spending $150,000 on pricey designer threads.

CBS News previously reported on Palin’s fashion expenditures and FEC officials said purchases for such purposes are prohibited. Campaigns are not allowed to spend donated funds on expenses a person would have had regardless if they were running as a candidate or in office. That includes items like clothing, mortgage payments, country club fees, rent, groceries, etc.

The Attorney General will refer the complaint to the personnel board which is appointed by the Governor and currently includes: Debra English, Al Tamagni, and Laura Plenert. (No state employees sit on the board.) The board then determines whether the alleged conduct would violate the ethics act. If so, an independent investigator is appointed, evidence is gathered, and people are interviewed with the intent to establish probable cause. Eventually the board makes a decision and recommendations are made that may impose penalties, or disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Palin Target Of New Ethics Complaint

Troopergate’s NOT Over – Scope of Alaska’s Personnel Board Investigating Gov. Palin Will Include Other Ethics Complaints

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin faces additional ethics violations in Alaska Personnel Board investigation

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin faces additional ethics violations in Alaska Personnel Board "Troopergate" investigation.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Troopergate is NOT over for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  Investigator Tim Petumenos recently cited a consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as reasons for privacy by the Personnel Board during the investigation.  There are two other ethics complaints currently pending against Gov. Palin, involving hiring practices and illegally breached personnel files.  Additonal charges for harassment of state trooper Mike Wooten, Gov. Palin’s ex-brother-in-law will also be included in the investigation. 

The state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case.

The investigator, Tim Petumenos, did not say who else is under scrutiny. But in two recent letters describing his inquiry, he cited the consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as a reason for not going along with Palin’s request to make the examination of her activities more public.

Two other ethics complaints involving Palin are known. One, by activist Andree McLeod, alleges that state hiring practices were circumvented for a Palin supporter. The case is not related to Monegan’s firing. The other, by the Public Safety Employees Association, alleges that trooper Mike Wooten’s personnel file was illegally breached by state officials.

John Cyr, the PSEA executive director, said Monday the union plans to amend its complaint to be sure the board investigates “harassment” of Wooten as well.

Petumenos has not spoken to the press, in keeping with the secrecy of the state process. But he gave a rough description of the investigation’s course in two letters to an Anchorage attorney threatening a lawsuit over Palin’s effort to waive confidentiality.

Attention is turning this week to the Personnel Board — the state’s official avenue for investigating ethics complaints — after release of the Legislature’s Troopergate investigation last Friday. The Legislature’s investigator concluded that Palin was within her rights to fire Monegan as public safety commissioner, but abused her power and broke the ethics law in joining her husband to push for the firing of Wooten, who was once married to the governor’s sister.

Palin reversed an earlier pledge and refused to cooperate with the Legislature’s investigation, calling it politically biased. In an unusual twist, she filed the ethics complaint against herself before the board, saying she hoped to “clear the air” by an inquiry through proper channels. She asked the board to decide if she broke ethics laws or acted improperly in dismissing Monegan or in dealing with Wooten — basically the same ground Branchflower covered.

Petumenos has requested a copy of Friday’s legislative report, including confidential backup material, said Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, chairman of the Legislative Council. Elton said the council will meet Thursday to vote on whether to give Petumenos all the material gathered by its investigator, Steve Branchflower.

Petumenos was hired by the Personnel Board to handle the case because the state attorney general’s office, which normally investigates ethics charges, would have a conflict investigating the governor.

Under the state’s inscrutable system for investigating official ethics complaints, there’s no way to tell how long Petumenos’ investigation might take. The Personnel Board, made up of three gubernatorial appointees, has meetings scheduled for Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. Agendas for those meetings mention confidential ethics matters to be handled in executive session.

Nor is there any certainty, if the complaints are settled or dismissed, that the results of the investigation will ever be made public. A review of recent Personnel Board cases, however, suggests it’s likely most information will eventually be released.

Palin has been involved in Personnel Board investigations before — though not as a subject of complaint — and at the time complained about their secrecy.

In high-profile cases that established her statewide reputation as an ethics reformer, Palin helped with a 2003 investigation of Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich, who was working on a state oil regulatory panel, and she co-filed a complaint in 2004 against then-attorney general Gregg Renkes.

Both men were found by investigators to have crossed ethical lines. Details of the investigations were released in the end, as part of a settlement that stopped short of the full public hearing before an administrative law judge that the law requires in serious cases.

In the Ruedrich case, Palin resigned her state job in protest while the investigation was still secret, saying she felt implicated in a cover-up because of the shroud.

“I’d like to find a hero in the Legislature who can take on and change that law and make it more sensible,” Palin said at the time she resigned. As governor, she has supported changes to ethics laws, but the secrecy of board investigations has not been changed.

Palin fired Monegan in July and the legislative inquiry began later that month.

Four days after her Aug. 29 selection as John McCain’s Republican vice presidential candidate, Palin’s lawyer filed an official ethics complaint over the Monegan affair with the Personnel Board, urging the Legislature to give way. The Legislature refused, creating parallel investigations.

Judging from Petumenos’ letters on the case, he feels able to range as broadly as Branchflower into subjects related to the original ethics complaints.

One element will distinguish the Personnel Board inquiry: It will have Palin’s cooperation.

Sarah and Todd Palin have agreed to be interviewed by Petumenos at the end of next week, said Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign. She said Monday she has no other details of the arrangement.

There’s another distinction: While the Legislature’s inquiry ended last Friday with vague talk of further action, the official investigation can bring legal consequences under the state ethics law.

The three current members of the Personnel Board were appointed by Gov. Frank Murkowski. Palin reappointed one, Debra English of Anchorage, last January.

The three unsalaried appointees usually handle less momentous matters at quarterly lunch meetings, said Dianne Kiesel, deputy director of the Alaska Division of Personnel and Labor Relations in the state Department of Administration. The board approves changes to state work rules such as promotion, pay and leave regulations.

Meanwhile, many ethics complaints filed against state employees — accusing someone of driving a state vehicle after hours, say, or of providing rude service — get handled by ethics supervisors inside the different state departments. The Personnel Board gets a summary report but is not involved.

It’s the unusual case that becomes a big job requiring extra board meetings.

“Most all of these things get resolved before or at the accusation stage,” said assistant attorney general Judy Bockmon. “Very few matters have actually gone to hearing.”

Palin explicitly waived her right to confidentiality in her complaint to the Personnel Board. But days later, the McCain-Palin campaign said the investigation would remain secret at the request of Petumenos.

“The governor will respect that request, but will explore the means by which confidentiality may be waived once the investigation is complete,” said Stapleton.

In two recent letters to Anchorage lawyer Meg Simonian, who was threatening a lawsuit to force more public scrutiny, Petumenos said the investigation had spread to other officials and other complaints.

“The Governor does not have the right, under such circumstances, to waive the right of confidentiality for others,” Petumenos wrote. But he tried to reassure Simonian about the eventual release of the investigation.

“The Board is … mindful of the public interest and the interest in the credibility to its processes that public disclosure would provide,” Petumenos said.

Simonian, a registered Democrat who said she is pursuing the matter out of personal interest, said Monday she wants Petumenos to tease out the parts of his report involving Palin, so that those parts of the upcoming Personnel Board meetings can be public — if, indeed, the board is discussing that topic.

“I’m in this bind where nobody knows what the board is doing,” Simonian said.


 On the investigation’s scope “… (I)t has become clear that the conduct of other state employees or officials besides the governor will be the subject of inquiry. The Independent Counsel, while investigating a matter referred to it, must necessarily follow all investigatory leads, and consider the conduct of any person involved in matters referred to it. Moreover, the statute requires referral to other agencies of pertinent matters and advice to the State government where practices or procedures merit review. Thus, the inquiry is not necessarily strictly limited to the Disclosure filed before it, and in any case, this matter has been consolidated with another complaint.”— Tim Petumenos, state Personnel Board independent counsel, in a Sept. 29 letter to Meg Simonian

Board’s Troopergate probe casts wider net

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

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