The Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee voted today
to authorize Trooper-Gate projector director Hollis French (D) to issue subpoenas requested by investigator Stephen Branchflower. The subpoenas are part of the continuing investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin, and include a subpoena for the testimony of the First Gentleman, Todd Palin.
Branchflower requested the power to issue thirteen subpoenas, including a request for the testimony of the governor's husband because he is "such a central figure" to the Trooper-Gate controversy, he thought "one should be issued for him."
The committee debated for over two hours, with Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D) pushing to keep politics out of the investigation and moved to pass the motion in the senate.
Exact wording of the motion from the Senate Records:
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI moved:
Pursuant to AK 24.25.010(b), I move that you be authorized to issue subpoenas to the following individuals and for the following documents: Frank Bailey, Diane Kiesel, Annette Kreitzer, Nicki Neal, Brad Thompson, Michael Nizich, John Bitney, Ivy Frye, Kris Perry, Janice Mason, Todd Palin, Randy Ruaro, Murlene Wilkes; cell phone records for Frank Bailey for the period of February 1, 2008 through March 31, 2008. This authorization is contingent upon concurrence of the Senate President.
Passed 3 to 2.
Sen. Charlie Huggins (R) crossed the aisle, voting in favor of the motion, and joined Wielechowski in his plea to move the investigation forward.
"I see all this duck-foot action under the water," Sen. Charlie Huggins (R) said. "And I'm here, on a break from my moose-huntin' trip, to say let's just get the facts on the table. "
Sen. Lesil McGuire (R) attempted to amend the motion so that the subpoenas would not be issued until after the election. The amendment was voted down by Huggins, Wielechowski and French.
The House Judiciary Committee was present as well and voted unanimously in an advisory capacity in favor of allowing Branchflower to issue the subpoenas. The authorization of the motion is contingent on Senate President Lyda Green's (R) concurrence with the Senate Judiciary Committee.