ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s husband has refused to testify in the investigation of his wife’s alleged abuse of power, and key lawmakers said Thursday that uncooperative witnesses are effectively sidetracking the probe until after Election Day.
Todd Palin, who participates in state business in person or by e-mail, was among 13 people subpoenaed by the Alaska Legislature. Palin’s lawyer sent a letter to the lead investigator saying Palin objected to the probe and would not appear to testify today.
“The objections boil down to the fact that the Legislative Council investigation is no longer a legitimate investigation because it has been subjected to complete partisanship and does not operate with the authority that it had at the time of its initial authorization,” McCain-Palin presidential campaign spokesman Ed O’Callaghan said.
Sarah Palin initially welcomed the bipartisan investigation into accusations that she dismissed the state’s public safety commissioner because he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper. “Hold me accountable,” she said.
But she has increasingly opposed it since Republican presidential candidate John McCain tapped her as his running mate.
In the letter, Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein lists nine objections to the Legislature’s investigation into Gov. Palin. Van Flein also argues the subpoena is “unduly burdensome” because Palin has travel plans that require him to be out of the state.
Earlier this week, Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg said the governor, who was not subpoenaed, declined to participate in the investigation and said Palin administration employees who have been subpoenaed would not appear.
State Sen. Bill Wielechowski, a Democrat, said the McCain campaign is doing all it can to prevent the Legislature from completing a report on whether the GOP’s vice presidential nominee abused her power as governor.
Wielechowski and another member of the panel that summoned the witnesses said the witnesses can avoid testifying for months without penalty and that court action to force them to appear sooner is unlikely.