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Palin not likely to cooperate in inquiry

September 16, 2008|From the Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Gov. Sarah Palin is unlikely to speak with an independent counsel hired by state lawmakers to review the firing of her public safety commissioner, a spokesman for Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday.

Spokesman Ed O'Callaghan initially said Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, would not testify as part of the investigation "as long as it remains tainted." He later clarified his statement to say Palin is "unlikely to cooperate" with the inquiry.

O'Callaghan also said he did not know whether Palin's husband, Todd, would challenge a subpoena to compel his cooperation. The governor has not been subpoenaed, but the Legislature's investigator has said he hopes to speak to her.

McCain's campaign insists the investigation into the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan has been hijacked by Democrats -- a charge that Democrats deny.

The campaign says it can prove Monegan was fired in July because of insubordination on budget issues, not because he refused to fire a state trooper who went through a nasty divorce from Palin's sister. The campaign released e-mails to buttress its position.

The Palins and her staff repeatedly contacted Monegan expressing dismay at the continued employment of Trooper Mike Wooten, who divorced Palin's sister in 2005.

The Legislature voted to investigate the circumstances of Monegan's firing.

Palin initially said she welcomed the inquiry. But after she became McCain's running mate on Aug. 29, her lawyer sought to have the three-member Alaska Personnel Board take over the investigation, alleging that statements by the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee indicated the inquiry was politically motivated.

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