Since July, the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee has been looking into whether Gov. Sarah Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper named Mike Wooten. (Wooten's marriage to Palin's sister, Molly McCann, ended in an ugly divorce.) Two weeks before John McCain declared Palin his running mate, Palin admitted publicly that her husband, Todd, and members of Palin's staff had contacted Monegan and other public-safety officials about two dozen times to urge Wooten's firing.
Last week, a special investigator for the legislative inquiry, Stephen Branchflower, subpoenaed Todd Palin to testify about his contacts with Monegan. But on Sept. 18, Todd respectfully sent Branchflower his regrets via the governor's attorney, Thomas Van Flein. Van Flein's three-page letter (see below) advises Branchflower that the committee is overstepping its legislative-oversight jurisdiction. (An earlier claim by Van Flein that the matter belongs before a personnel review board was rebuffed). Van Flein also writes that any cooperation from the First Dude would be "unduly burdensome" given "scheduling obligations over the next two months" related to Gov. Palin's presence on the national ticket (Page 3).
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