Todd Palin agrees to board interview

TROOPERGATE: Governor's husband previously refused to testify in legislative probe.

October 5, 2008 

Gov. Sarah Palin's husband is planning to speak to an investigator looking into abuse-of-power allegations against the governor, Todd Palin's lawyer said Saturday. He previously refused to testify under subpoena in a separate probe.

Attorney Thomas Van Flein said he asked the investigator, Anchorage attorney Timothy Petumenos, to reserve the third week of October to interview Todd Palin, but no date has been set because he is waiting to hear back from Petumenos.

Todd Palin refused to testify under subpoena last month in a separate investigation by the Alaska Legislature. Petumenos is heading a parallel probe by the Alaska State Personnel Board into whether Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, acted improperly when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan this summer.

Both are looking into whether Palin, her husband and her aides pressured Monegan to fire a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce from Palin's sister and then fired Monegan when he wouldn't dismiss the trooper. Palin says Monegan was ousted over budget disagreements.

The McCain-Palin campaign has said that the Legislative Council's investigation is being manipulated to damage the governor before the Nov. 4 election. The investigator leading that probe, retired prosecutor Steven Branchflower, is due to release his findings Friday.

That release could be blocked by the Alaska Supreme Court, which will hear arguments next week in an emergency appeal by five Republican lawmakers trying to halt Branchflower's report. An Anchorage judge recently dismissed that lawsuit along with an attempt by several of the governor's aides to quash subpoenas issued for their testimony in the Legislature's investigation.

Todd Palin was not part of the attempt to quash the subpoenas, but the decision may affect whether he speaks to Branchflower. Van Flein said the Supreme Court's decision in the appeal next week is one of several factors that will go into deciding whether he does.

The two investigators could interview Todd Palin together or Branchflower could use Petumenos' interview in his own investigation, Van Flein said, though Branchflower is scheduled to end his probe at least a week before the planned interview.

"I've asked (Branchflower) to contact me so we can discuss things," Van Flein said.

Sarah Palin originally agreed to cooperate with the Legislature's investigation. But after she joined the GOP ticket, she said the probe had become tainted by politics and filed a complaint against herself with the personnel board, which she says has the proper authority to investigate ethics allegations against the governor. The governor has the power to fire any member of the three-member panel for cause; two members are holdovers from the previous administration, and Palin reappointed the third.

Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service