Sen. Elton takes charge of Council

Senator expects Palin investigation will cost less than $100,0000

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Juneau Sen. Kim Elton took over his new position as chairman of the Legislative Council Monday, and pushed forward with an investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin.

Elton had been a member of the Legislative Council, the operating arm of the Legislature, and moved into the chairmanship when former chairman Sen. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage, resigned the position earlier.

Cowdery's resignation came less than a month after his indictment on federal corruption charges, but cited only his ongoing health problems as a reason.

Monday, Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, said his resignation was for "a variety of reasons, one of which is health."

Elton was elected unanimously as chair Monday after Green nominated him and closed nominations in the same sentence.

Cowdery remains a member of the committee, and participated by telephone from Anchorage, where he returned after his indictment.

The Legislative Council also approved spending as much as $100,000 to hire an investigator to look into allegations that Palin improperly fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

Elton said he expected the investigation to not cost the full $100,000.

"I certainly hope this can be accomplished for a lot less, and that is my expectation," he said.

The motion to hire the investigator has no specific timeline, but says it should be completed "in a timely manner."

Elton said he wanted to get the report done before the holiday season.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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