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Palin probe is partisan, state Republican says

September 07, 2008|From the Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — A Republican state representative says the Democrat overseeing a legislative investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's dismissal of her public safety commissioner seems intent on damaging her vice presidential candidacy. The Republican wants the Democrat removed from the post.

Democratic state Sen. Hollis French "appears to be steering the direction of the investigation, its conclusion and its timing in a manner that will have maximum partisan political impact on the national and state elections," state Rep. John Coghill said in a letter dated Friday.

Coghill, from North Pole, is on the Alaska Legislature's Legislative Council, the body that appointed French to oversee the investigation. The letter was sent to the council chairman, Sen. Kim Elton, a Democrat from Juneau, whom Coghill asks to convene a meeting to discuss whether French should be replaced.

The state Senate is controlled by Democrats, the state House by Republicans.

Coghill said the council instructed French, of Anchorage, to keep politics out of the investigation.

"He just failed that, in my view," Coghill told the Associated Press on Saturday. Coghill's letter was first reported in the Anchorage Daily News.

Elton did not immediately return a message left at his office.

In July, the council approved $100,000 for an investigation into whether Palin abused her power by firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. He has said he felt pressure from Palin's family and staff to dismiss a trooper, Mike Wooten, who went through a messy divorce with her sister before Palin's election as governor.

Wooten served a five-day suspension after the Palins filed a complaint against him alleging he had threatened Palin's father. The Palins also accused Wooten of using a Taser on his stepson, drinking in his patrol car and illegally shooting a moose.

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