Gov. Sarah Palin may be not be getting a wink of sleep now that an Alaska state judge allowed a probe to go forward into whether she abused her power. The Republican vice presidential nominee is under fire for pressuring Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire her ex brother-in-law, a state trooper.
The charges are that pressure to fire the trooper came from the Governor herself, her husband, Todd, and her staff. After Monegan did not agree, she fired him, citing disagreement over budget cuts.
And to her, that's a heck of a good reason and why should it be questioned otherwise?
On Thursday Judge Peter Michalski threw out the lawsuit filed by five Republican state legislators who claimed that Palin was the victim of an unfair partisan probe. The Republicans appear to be worried that a damaging report may surface before Election Day and affect voters. Or at least the kind of voters who vote based on performance.
The attorney for the five state legislators, Kevin Clarkson, claimed that the body that ordered the investigation had exceeded its authority.
But Michalski agreed with defense attorney Peter Maassen, who argued that the Legislature has broad authority to investigate the governor. The mere appearance of impropriety does not mean any individual's right to fairness was violated, Michalski wrote in his decision.
“It is legitimately within the scope of the legislature's investigatory power to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the termination (of) a public officer the legislature had previously confirmed,” the judge wrote.
According to the AP, the independent investigator, retired prosecutor Steven Branchflower, now can conclude the probe and report his findings by Oct. 10. Branchflower has not interviewed Palin's husband, Todd, and several top aides who have refused to appear under subpoena. It was not immediately clear whether they now would testify.
“It's free to continue,” said Maassen, who represented the Legislative Council, 10 Republicans and four Democrats who authorized the investigation, and others involved in the probe.
As she has with critics who probe her viewpoints, Palin at first cheerfully welcomed the inquiry. Bring it on, she said in characteristic bravado. But now her tone has changed a bit and, instead, she is saying that the legislative investigation has been compromised and that that she and her husband would cooperate only with a separate investigation run by the Alaska State Personnel Board, whose members Palin can fire.
AP also reported that Michalski threw out a lawsuit filed by Palin aides seeking to dismiss subpoenas compelling their testimony in the investigation.
As has always been in this great republic, let the truth set you free. The candor that people crave, and the charm she has in abundance, could diffuse this problem.
Gov. Palin, just say it as it is: That state trooper did my sister wrong and I became his boss and didn't want him around.
Other candidates in the past have admitted to making such mistakes and moved on.
Fortunately for the Palins, this issue wasn't raised at the debate. But that doesn't mean that Tina Fey may not make it part of a future comedy routine on Saturday Night Live.
All this is a reminder, of course, of how long bad feelings last after a divorce and a bitter custody battle.