October 10, 2008

Probe: Palin Abused Power As Governor

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin violated state ethics law by abusing her power, an official investigation has concluded.

The conclusion was contained in a report released Friday by the bipartisan Legislative Council following a daylong meeting that ended with a 12-0 vote to release the report, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported.

Investigator Steve Branchflower, who looked into Palin's dismissal in July of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, determined that Palin had violated Alaska's executive branch ethics act, which states that public officials hold office "as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

Palin fired Monegan following his refusal to fire a state trooper, Palin's former brother-in-law, who was involved in a child custody dispute with the governor's sister. The Legislative Council hired Branchflower in August to investigate the matter, before Palin joined the Republican presidential ticket as John McCain's running mate.

Monegan has said he was dismissed because he would not fire the trooper, Michael Wooten.

Although the investigation concluded Palin violated state law, it found that Palin also had legitimate reasons for dismissing Monegan, MSNBC reported.

During the closed legislative hearing, about 50 supporters of the governor stood on the sidewalk outside the legislative building, waving signs reading "Palin Power,""Sarah's Right" and "Not Guilty," the Daily News reported. The group also chanted "Go, Sarah, Go" and "Who's the best mom in the world -- Sarah."