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Monegan says Palin image is damaged

Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WASHINGTON - Former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan said Monday he feels "relieved" by a legislative report concluding that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her authority by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.

Lisa Billings / The Associated Press
Lisa Billings / The Associated Press

"I've never contested my firing. My firing was completely lawful," Monegan said in a nationally broadcast interview. "It wasn't that I was fired that I asked any questions. It was, what were the reasons for the firing."

Monegan declined to say in an interview with NBC's "Today" show what legal options, if any, he might be exploring in the wake of the findings announced late Friday in Alaska by investigator Stephen Branchflower.

Monegan did say that he and his family were pleased with the report's conclusions.

"Actually, I feel relieved," he said. "My wife and I have been through a lot. It's not a matter of being revenged. It's just strictly a matter of being relieved." Monegan was interviewed by telephone from Alaska.

In his report Friday to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, Branchflower found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain. Palin has said that Monegan's tenure as the state's lead law enforcement officer ended because of policy differences.

The inquiry looked into the dismissal of Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with the governor's sister.

"I feel vindicated," Monegan had said late Friday. "It sounds like they've validated my belief and opinions. And that tells me I'm not totally out in left field."

On Monday, Monegan said the controversy "really isn't about me."

"I think that we're more concerned about our governor," he added, "and I think she took a big blow to her credibility and more significantly to her promises of being open and transparent."

Asked how he planned to vote in the November elections, Monegan said he didn't want to say, telling his interviewer that's why they "put those little curtains around" the polling booth.



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