The Anchorage Daily News reports:
The state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case.
The investigator, Tim Petumenos, did not say who else is under scrutiny. But in two recent letters describing his inquiry, he cited the consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as a reason for not going along with Palin's request to make the examination of her activities more public.
Newsweek reported on Saturday that the Personnel Board probe, which both the McCain campaign and critics expected would be more favorable to Palin, hasn't turned out that way:
McCain campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton dismissed the report as the product of "a partisan-led inquiry run by Obama supporters." But there could be more land mines ahead. Some weeks ago, the McCain team devised a plan to have Palin file an ethics complaint against herself with the State Personnel Board, arguing that it alone was capable of conducting a fair, nonpartisan inquiry into whether she fired Monegan because he refused to fire Wooten, who had been involved in a messy custody battle with her sister. Some Democrats ridiculed the move, noting that the personnel board answered to Palin. But the board ended up hiring an aggressive Anchorage trial lawyer, Timothy Petumenos, as an independent counsel. McCain aides were chagrined to discover that Petumenos was a Democrat who had contributed to Palin's 2006 opponent for governor, Tony Knowles. Palin is now scheduled to be questioned next week, and the counsel's report could be released soon after. "We took a gamble when we went to the personnel board," said a McCain aide who asked not to be identified discussing strategy. While the McCain camp still insists Palin "has nothing to hide," it acknowledges a critical finding by Petumenos would be even harder to dismiss.
On Tuesday, the Anchorage Daily News also printed a blistering editorial on Palin, calling her response to the State Legislature's Troopergate report "Orwellian."
Sarah Palin's reaction to the Legislature's Troopergate report is an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation.
She claims the report "vindicates" her. She said that the investigation found "no unlawful or unethical activity on my part."
Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.
Page 8, Finding Number One of the report says: "I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."
In plain English, she did something "unlawful." She broke the state ethics law.
Perhaps Gov. Palin has been too busy to actually read the Troopergate report. Perhaps she is relying on briefings from McCain campaign spinmeisters.
That's the charitable interpretation.
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