From The New York Times:
ANCHORAGE — Alaska lawmakers voted Friday to issue a subpoena to Todd Palin, the husband of Gov. Sarah Palin, in an escalation of the inquiry into whether Ms. Palin improperly tried to have her former brother-in-law dismissed from his job as a state trooper.
The subpoena was one of 14 approved by the Judiciary Committee of the State Senate in a vote of 3 to 2 in a joint hearing with the House Judiciary Committee, which served in an advisory role during the proceeding. The subpoenas were requested by the legislative investigator conducting the inquiry, Stephen E. Branchflower, a former Anchorage prosecutor who now lives in South Carolina.
The vote set the stage for a possible legal clash between the Legislature and the Palin administration, which threatened this week to go to court to quash any subpoenas.
At the hearing, which lasted two and a half hours, Mr. Branchflower said he wanted to talk with Mr. Palin because he had been a “chief critic” of the trooper, Mike Wooten, and was “such a central figure” in the push to have him dismissed. Mr. Branchflower also told the legislators that he wanted to interview Ms. Palin but had not requested a subpoena for her.
Another subpoena, according to testimony by Mr. Branchflower, is for the owner of a company that has a contract with the state to handle workers’ compensation claims. Mr. Branchflower said that based on information he had received on a tip line from an employee at the company, Harbor Adjustment Service, the owner might not have been truthful when she initially denied to him that someone from the governor’s office had put pressure on her to turn down a claim submitted by Mr. Wooten.
The ethics case, which has been the subject of national scrutiny since Ms. Palin was named to the Republican ticket by Senator John McCain, has its roots in her decision this summer to dismiss Alaska’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. He has contended that he was dismissed for refusing to fire Mr. Wooten.
[Senator Hollis] French, the Democrat leading the inquiry, did not return calls seeking comment.
Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain-Palin campaign, said that Ms. Palin’s private lawyer was reviewing the subpoena for her husband to decide how to handle it.
From Anchorage Daily News:
Republican efforts to delay the probe until after the Nov. 4 election were thwarted when GOP state Sen. Charlie Huggins, who represents Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, sided with Democrats.
[Todd] Palin, cast at last week’s Republican National Convention as a supportive husband, oil rig worker and championship snowmachine racer, has emerged in the days since as also a powerful figure in his wife’s administration. Despite holding no government position, he attends official meetings and is copied on e-mails concerning state business.
While Todd Palin’s role in the dismissal of Monegan is unknown, the request for a subpoena suggests he spurned earlier calls to testify voluntarily. Monegan voluntarily submitted to an interview earlier in the week.
Nor was it immediately clear whether [the Palins’ private attorney now representing her as governor, Thomas] Van Flein was representing Todd Palin as well as the governor in the investigation. Van Flein is working at taxpayer expense to represent the governor in her personal and official capacity.
Palin has said she fired Monegan over disagreements about budget priorities. Monegan says he received repeated e-mails and phone calls from Palin, her husband and her staff expressing dismay over Wooten’s continued employment.
One member of Palin’s administration was caught on tape discussing personal information about Wooten, raising questions of how he knew those details.
Branchflower also asked for a subpoena for the phone records of one Palin administration official, Frank Bailey. Bailey was recorded calling an Alaska State Trooper lieutenant and discussing confidential information about Wooten, including his job application and worker’s compensation claim. In a deposition taken by Palin’s attorney, he testified that he never saw Wooten’s file, but instead received the information from Todd Palin.