Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein argued Thursday that Todd Palin did not have to comply with a subpoena because Alaska state law bars ethics investigations of people running for elected office. Though the law appears to apply only to candidates for state office, a McCain-Palin spokesman said the subpoenas violate “the spirit of the law, if not the letter.”
This little bit of news ired me to hear, as I was assuming something to this manner was going to occur with the presidential campaigning going on. The transition from a state-paid lawyer to a private-paid lawyer in combination with her initial cooperative manner towards the investigation just stands out like a sore thumb in my mind.
Now add to this picture even more attempts to bog down and immobilize this investigation:
If a complaint alleges a violation of AS 39.52.110 – 39.52.190 by the governor, lieutenant governor, or the attorney general, the matter shall be referred to the personnel board. The personnel board shall return a complaint concerning the conduct of the governor or lieutenant governor who is a candidate for election to state office as provided in (j) of this section if the complaint is initiated during a campaign period. The personnel board shall retain independent counsel who shall act in the place of the attorney general under (d) – (i) of this section, AS 39.52.320 – 39.52.350, and 39.52.360(c) and (d). Notwithstanding AS 36.30.015 (d), the personnel board may contract for or hire independent counsel under this subsection without notifying or securing the approval of the Department of Law.
Now if you will recall, Palin accepted her nomination back on the 3rd of September. This was also the same day the complaint lodged by the Public Safety Employees Asssociation (PSEA) was made for Wooten. Unfortunately I have no idea where the grey line is drawn in regards to when she is officially considered a “candidate for election,” but this sure as hell is not a state office.
Anyhoo, to follow up on line AS 39.52.310(j) mentioned above in bold,
(j) The personnel board shall return a complaint concerning the conduct of the governor or lieutenant governor who is a candidate for state office received during a campaign period to the complainant unless the governor or lieutenant governor, as appropriate, permits the personnel board to assume jurisdiction under this subsection.
The personnel board (as far as I can tell) is personally appointed by her while she is in office. From what I understand in the wording (I’m no law expert, just someone who tries to dig too deeply into information to make some sense of it), this would allow her filed complaint to either be disregarded (because she is a candidate for office, which is at the discretion of the interpretation of the word of the law) or direct the complaint away from the eyes of the attorney general to the private evaluation by the personnel board. So unless the disregard would also apply to the investigation set forth by the attorney general at the PSEA’s behest, then she is forced to turn this over to her personnel board and hope that they would evaluate this more to her desired discretion (e.g. not in the public eye, perhaps?), because she is obviously “not trying to put off the investigation until after the election”, according to Ed O’Callghan. Regardless, I cannot find any information to see if an individual is allowed to file a claim of ethical violation against their self (which at first glance sounds like a conflict of personal interest). Anyways, this is just the convoluted start of it.
Secondly, five Republican lawmakers have filed suit to halt Palin’s inquiry. This sounds like their way to retaliate against the bipartisan investigation that Palin allegedly was going to cooperate with, despite it being led by a Democratic senator. It appears to only be blatantly polarizing between the parties directly involved: the persons filing the lawsuit and those accused. The NY Times article illustrates that this was originally intended to be a “bipartisan and impartial effort,” and even suggests that this may be a direct result of the McCain campaign, whether or not they deny it. This could be debated: if they really were acting independently of the campaign, then Ed O’Callaghan might not sound like a lying bastard. If their actions are at the behest of the McCain campaign, then we have more blatant lies and trickery coming out of this campaign in order to save face.
Now, to wrap this back into the original post at top. Todd Palin seems to be a focus point for this investigation, and he feels he doesn’t need to respect the subpoena submitted to him by the attorney general. Between the fact that the McCain campaign is sending plenty of lawyers/advisers to Alaska to support Palin’s family and aides involved in this matter, it really leads me to wonder why they are fighting this tooth & nail?
Did it really take them two weeks to realize that they feel they shouldn’t be tried now because she’s running for an office? Despite the fact she doesn’t want to put off the investigation, why does she feel the need to register a complaint against herself, inevitably delaying and refocusing the investigation into her own pocket (by my own views in regards to her pocket)? Why are there Republicans trying to quash the investigation set forth by the attorney general if all of it was honkey-dorey before the nomination?
This really sounds like a disjointed effort to virtually eradicate this issue. Dirt or not, it feels as if there’s something everyone is trying to bury and quickly. It seems like too much work without enough coordination to really deny plausibility of the complaints.
But that’s just my long-winded two cents. *shrugs*