Palin self-cleared of 'Troopergate'?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska 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 aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's former brother-in-law. Lawmakers are expected to release their own findings Friday. 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." Monegan said Thursday that he doesn't know what to expect from the legislative panel's own report. "I just hope that the truth is figured out," Monegan told The Associated Press on Thursday. "That the governor did want me to fire him, and I chose to not. You just can't walk up to someone and say, 'I fire you.' He didn't do anything under my watch to result in termination." Palin's critics say that shows she used her office to settle family affairs. "When you're the governor, you leave your household hat at home and you become governor," said state Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican who has frequently clashed with Palin. The campaign's report instead blames former campaign opponent, Andrew Halcro, who has a blog, 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, that: "You guys are going down. Get ready for the show." Two days after that confrontation, they say, Halcro and Wooten met at a hotel bar in Anchorage for more than three hours - 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 21-page report concludes. Although the report describes Wooten as a separate issue, the McCain campaign goes into great detail about the "rogue" trooper and his "long history of unstable and erratic behavior." The campaign describes allegations of violence, including threatening Palin's family and shooting his stepson with a stun gun. The report also includes allegations that Wooten cheated the workers' compensation system. Todd Palin has said he had numerous conversations with government officials about why Wooten was allowed to stay on the job. "The Palins make no apologies for wanting to protect their family and wanting to bring attention to the injustice of a violent trooper keeping his badge and abusing the workers' compensation system." But Todd Palin said he never pressured anyone, including his wife. The McCain campaign says the investigation has become "muddied with innuendo, rumor and partisan politics."
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