October 6, 2008

7 Alaska State Employees to Testify in Inquiry


By Matt Apuzzo

The Associated Press


Seven Alaska state employees have reversed course and agreed to testify in an investigation into whether Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin abused her powers by firing a commissioner who refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law.

There is no indication, however, that Palin or her husband will now agree to testify about the case, which has dogged her for the past several months.

Palin, a first-term Alaska governor, is the focus of a legislative inquiry over her firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan a year after she, her husband and key advisers began questioning him about getting rid of a state trooper who had gone through a nasty divorce with her sister.

Monegan says he was dismissed because he wouldn't fire the governor's former brother-in-law, but Palin contends he was dismissed for insubordination. McCain operatives called Monegan a "rogue" who repeatedly tried to work outside normal channels for requesting money.

Lawmakers subpoenaed seven state employees to testify in the inquiry but they challenged those subpoenas. After a judge rejected a similar challenge brought by state lawmakers last week, employees decided to testify, Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg said.

Democratic state Sen. Hollis French, who is managing the investigation, said that, following the court ruling, he again asked Palin and her husband, Todd, whether they planned to testify.

"We've had no response," French said Sunday .

Originally published by BY MATT APUZZO.

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