Governor has no plans to release Troopergate testimony

Palin spokeswoman says the 'matter is closed'

Posted: Sunday, December 07, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin has no plans to publicly release testimony she gave under oath during an investigation into whether she abused her power in office by firing her public safety commissioner.

When Palin testified in October while campaigning as the GOP vice presidential candidate, her attorney said she wanted to release a transcript of her testimony. It was the only testimony Palin gave in the scandal known as Troopergate.

Her attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said this week that he hadn't talked to Palin about releasing it since then.

But Sharon Leighow, a spokeswoman for Palin, said the governor is ready to move on.

"This matter is closed," Leighow said. "We see no public purpose in artificially prolonging this controversy."

The governor has said Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was dismissed for reasons unrelated to concerns about her former brother-in-law, Trooper Michael Wooten. Monegan said he felt pressure from Palin, her husband, Todd, and her staff to fire Wooten. Palin said she fired Monegan over budget disagreements.

Two separate investigations looked into the matter.

Palin did not cooperate with a legislative probe, which concluded that the governor violated ethics laws in attempts to get Wooten fired. But it found Palin was within her right to fire Monegan.

Palin gave her testimony in another investigation by the state Personnel Board, which concluded that the governor broke no ethics laws.

Palin had said it was up to the Personnel Board to investigate her actions, not state lawmakers. Palin agreed to cooperate with the board's investigation.

The governor originally said she would cooperate with the Legislature's probe. But after becoming the GOP vice presidential candidate, she said the investigation had become too partisan and filed the ethics grievance against herself with the Personnel Board, whose members serve as governors' appointees.

When the board launched its investigation, Palin said she wanted it made public.

Leighow said in an e-mail to the Anchorage Daily News this week that Palin waived her confidentiality to release the Personnel Board's report - not her deposition.

"Two investigations concerning this matter have been conducted and concluded; we are not going to relitigate this in the media now," Leighow wrote. "The politics are over and behind us. In both investigations, the investigators found that the governor acted with her proper and lawful authority in dismissing Walt Monegan. We are moving forward now and not looking back at a matter which has distracted Alaskans from the key issues at hand; the price of oil, the state of our budget and resource development in Alaska, including the ultimate construction of a natural gas pipeline."

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