>Palin in the gun over sacking emails

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Palin in the gun over sacking emails

James Grimaldi, Eagle River, Alaska
September 5, 2008

ALASKA Governor Sarah Palin, the running mate for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, wrote emails that harshly criticised Alaska state troopers for failing to fire her former brother-in-law and ridiculed an internal affairs investigation into his conduct.

The emails, never before made public, were shown to The Washington Post by a former public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan, who was fired by Mrs Palin in July.

Mr Monegan has given copies of the emails to state ethics investigators to support his contention that he was dismissed for failing to fire Trooper Mike Wooten, who at the time was feuding with Mrs Palin’s family.

“This trooper is still out on the street, in fact he’s been promoted,” said the February 7, 2007, email sent from Mrs Palin’s personal Yahoo account and written to give Mr Monegan permission to speak on a violent-crime bill before the state legislature.

“It was a joke, the whole year long ‘investigation’ of him,” the email said. “This is the same trooper who’s out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organisation, and that he’d ‘never work for that b—-, Palin’.”

Asked about the emails, campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella said Mrs Palin was merely alerting officials to potential threats to her family and that there is no evidence that she ever ordered the trooper to be fired.

Mrs Palin is under investigation by a bipartisan state legislative group that was authorised last month to look into whether she pressured Mr Monegan to force Trooper Wooten from the force, and whether his failure to do so led to his dismissal.

Mrs Palin had promised to co-operate with the inquiry, but this week she hired a lawyer to fight to move the case to the jurisdiction of the state personnel board, which she appoints.

When Mrs Palin entered the governor’s office in late 2006, Trooper Wooten already had been reprimanded, reassigned and suspended for five days for incidents reported by her family. They had filed complaints in April 2005 after her younger sister’s marriage fell apart and a bitter child-custody dispute began.

Mrs Palin has said previously that she discussed the trooper with Mr Monegan only in the context of security concerns for the family. Mr Monegan has said that Mrs Palin never directly told him to fire the trooper but that the message was clearly conveyed through repeated messages from the Governor, her husband and three members of her cabinet.

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