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Alaska editorial: Why won't Palin release Troopergate probe deposition?

Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008

Much as Gov. Sarah Palin might wish otherwise, she has not given Alaskans a complete, transparent accounting of her actions in Troopergate.

The "exoneration" issued by the Personnel Board investigator was rushed out the door the day before the national election. It simply took vice-presidential candidate Palin's word on key disputed aspects of the case and used a tortured interpretation of the state ethics law to find she committed no violations, so the Personnel Board dropped the matter.

To put it bluntly, either Gov. Palin or fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan is lying about key facts. Investigator Tim Petumenos shrugged off the contradictory accounts. Then, to dismiss altogether the question of who was telling the truth, he invoked a creatively contorted interpretation of the state ethics law.

That legalistic hairsplitting and investigatory indifference has left important questions hanging. Ideally, Alaskans would get a chance to see Monegan and Palin state their case, in person, watch their body language and judge who is more credible.

That may never happen, though. Gov. Palin is still highly popular among Alaskans. The Legislature may not have the stomach for trying to resolve the contradictory accounts, even though she told Alaskans from the start that she was prepared for them to hold her accountable.

One way she can make good on that offer is to release the deposition she gave investigator Petumenos. During the vice-presidential campaign, her attorney said she wanted to release it - but now that the race is over, she doesn't plan to do so.

Responding to a Daily News request for it, spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said in an e-mail:

"The matter was investigated and voted on by the only entity in state law empowered to rule on ethics complaints against members of the Executive Branch. This matter is closed. We see no public purpose in artificially prolonging this controversy."

That is not the "open and transparent" conduct Gov. Palin promised Alaska voters. If she stands by her conduct in the Troopergate matter, she should have no problem letting Alaskans see exactly what she told the investigator who "exonerated" her.



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