October 10, 2008

Palin’s Camp Clears Her in Ethics Case — State’s ‘Troopergate’ Probe Due Out Today

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Trying to head off a state ethics report on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, campaign officials released their own report Thursday that clears her of any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain's running mate is the subject of a legislative investigation into whether she abused her power as governor by firing her public safety commissioner.

The commissioner, Walter Monegan, says he was dismissed in July for resisting pressure from Palin's husband, Todd Palin, and numerous top Palin aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's former brother-in-law.

Lawmakers are expected to release their own findings today. Campaign officials have yet to see that report - the result of an investigation that began before she was tapped as McCain's running mate - but said the investigation has falsely portrayed a legitimate policy dispute between a governor and her commissioner as something inappropriate.

"The following document will prove Walt Monegan's dismissal was a result of his insubordination and budgetary clashes with Governor Palin and her administration," campaign officials wrote. "Trooper Wooten is a separate issue."

Palin's critics say that shows she used her office to settle family affairs.

The campaign's report instead blames former campaign opponent Andrew Halcro of conspiring with Wooten to pin Monegan's dismissal on the family's dispute with Wooten.

Three days after Monegan was fired, they say, Wooten told his ex- wife, Palin's sister: "You guys are going down."

Two days later, they say, Halcro and Wooten met at a hotel bar - and that evening, Halcro posted the first accusations on his blog that Monegan had been fired because of a vendetta against Wooten by the Palin family.

"It is tragic that a false story hatched by a blogger after drinks with Trooper Wooten led the legislature to allocate over $100,000 of public money to be spent in what has become a politically driven investigation," the report says.

Originally published by Associated Press .

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