Joined: 09 Dec 2006
|Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:18 am Post subject: Troopergate scandal may be damaging to GOP VP
Today's news for the Last Frontier
By Kathleen McCoy
Published: September 2nd, 2008 09:38 AM
Last Modified: September 2nd, 2008 09:38 AM
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Sen. Hollis French faces off with Gov. Sarah Palin over the Legislature's investigation into her actions in the firing of Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan, known now as 'Troopergate.' (AP Photos)
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Wow! Monday was just like last Friday in terms of Gov. Sarah Palin's emerging national story, so here goes.
Legislative investigators feels pressure from McCain campaign. Sen. Hollis French told ABC News today that the McCain campaign is using stall tactics to prevent the Oct. 31 release of the final report on Gov. Sarah Palin's involvement in a personnel matter before state troopers.
"It's likely to be damaging to the governor," said Sen. Hollis French, a Democrat, appointed project manager for a bipartisan state Senate Legislative Counsel Committee investigation of claims that Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired.
Palin, who has denied any wrongdoing and has said she has nothing to hide, hired private lawyers Saturday, the day after Sen. McCain announced her as his running mate.
"Until then, the governor used state lawyers, and everything was fine," said French.
The campaign denied the charge, saying it had hired the private attorney two weeks ago.
The vetting question lingers as "rapid response team" arrives in Alaska. Much of what's out there today questions how much the McCain campaign really knew about Palin when it invited her to the ticket.
> Did any Alaskans get a call? (The New York Times)
"They didn't speak to anyone in the Legislature, they didn't speak to anyone in the business community,"said Lyda Green, the state Senate president who lives in Wasilla, where Palin served as mayor.
Representative Gail Phillips, a Republican and former speaker of the state House, said the widespread surprise in Alaska when Palin was named to the ticket made her wonder how intensively the McCain campaign had vetted her.
"I started calling around and asking, and I have not been able to find one person that was called," Phillips said. "I called 30 to 40 people, political leaders, business leaders, community leaders. Not one of them had heard. Alaska is a very small community, we know people all over, but I haven't found anybody who was asked anything."
The current mayor of Wasilla, Dianne M. Keller, said she had not heard of any efforts to look into Ms. Palin's background. And Randy Ruedrich, the state Republican Party chairman, said he knew nothing of any vetting that had been conducted.
State Sen. Hollis French, a Democrat who is directing the ethics investigation, said that no one asked him about the allegations. "I heard not a word, not a single contact," he said.