Republican campaign officials who indicated that they were done answering questions about an investigation into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of its public safety commissioner Tuesday, referring to a request from a state investigator.
“He has asked for confidential things, so we will respect your wishes,” campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton told reporters.
Palin has dropped an earlier promise to cooperate with a probe by the state legislature, with aides argument is “infected” by party political considerations, because they Senator John McCain running mate. But Stapleton said Palin’s lawyers have agreed to “general parameters of direct cooperation with the investigation requested them from the state Personnel Board, which was hired Anchorage lawyer Timothy Petumenos to the investigation.
“The governor waived confidentiality, and Mr Petumenos has just reported from the moment that he is happy for things to remain confidential,” said Stapleton. “So that is why we tell you today, we are no longer going to discuss aspects of this as indicated by Mr. Petumenos.”
Stapleton said Petumenos – a registered Democrat – has pledged to carry out a “fair and impartial” investigation. She said Palin staff is busy planning interviews for the governor and her husband, Todd, who last week refused to comply with a subpoena in the legislative process probe. And Petumenos has requested a list of documents and e-mails from her lawyer, she said.
“This governor can not wait to tell her story to be,” said Stapleton. Asked why the governor does not air the story publicly, she said, “We are now busy with her schedule.”
Monegan says he was fired after he refused to fire the governor’s ex-brother-in-law, a state soldier who was involved in an acrimonious divorce from Palin’s sister. Palin has denied, telling Fox News last week that Monegan was “disobedient” in disputes over the budget.
The legislative inquiry is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 10. The state senator management of the probe, Hollis French Anchorage Democrat, was under fire since a September 2 interview with ABC News, where he said that the investigation could lead to an “October surprise” for the GOP ticket.
No date has been set for the completion of the personnel board probe, which Palin’s campaign is the right place for legal research. Under state law, such investigations can take as long as two years.
Campaign spokesman Ed O’Callaghan said he Petumenos believed to be engaged in “an expedited manner,” but that the results may not come before the elections in November.
“If it is concluded before the elections, so be it. If it is decided after the election, so be it,” he said.
O’Callaghan, a former federal prosecutor brought in by the McCain campaign, said it was “absolutely irresponsible” for the researchers to a deadline. But a leading Republican legislator told CNN that the legislative investigation into the firing Monegan must continue, despite the increasingly heated opposition of the campaign.
Jay Ramras, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that he still has confidence in the special consultant hired by the state legislature and said that there is “zero chance” that efforts to shut down the probe would succeed.
“There is no question of the report will be produced,” he said. “It’s a question of people who will participate in it and what not.”
For more than a week, Stapleton O’Callaghan have committed and routine “truth squad” press conferences to criticize French and accusing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign of attempting to manipulate the probe. Ramras discounted the criticism as a result of national politics.
“The exaggeration of the truth squad is a bit farfetched,” he said. “For those of us who guarded this thing from the front row seats, it is a misnomer.”
Ramras said he is supporting the McCain-Palin ticket, although he and Palin have clashed on other issues. His committee agrees with the decision of September 12 to issue a subpoena by Todd Palin and a dozen others, and the swing vote in the issuance of this subpoena is a state senator he described as a “conservative, pro-life Republican.”