There's further evidence that the investigation into Trooper-Gate being conducted by the state Personnel Board could have real teeth.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that the probe has broadened to include other ethics complaints against Sarah Palin, and actions by other state employees.
That's according to the investigator hired by the board, Timothy Petumenos, who conveyed the information in two recent letters sent to an Anchorage attorney who had threated a lawsuit over Palin's effort to waive confidentiality in the matter.
Petumenos, a Democrat with a reputation for aggressive prosecutions, plans to sit down with the governor, who is cooperating with his investigation, next week.
It's not clear which other ethics complaints about the governor Petumenos is now looking into, but two have been previously reported. One relates somewhat to Trooper-Gate: the state troopers' union alleges that state officials illegally examined the personnel file of Mike Wooten, seeking damaging information on him. Wooten's feud with the Palin family was at the center of Trooper-Gate.
In addition, a good-government activist has alleged that Palin circumvented state hiring practices in giving a job to a supporter.
Petumenos has also requested a copy of the Branchflower report, released Friday.
Many observers have questioned the ability of the personnel board to come to independent conclusions on Trooper-Gate, largely because its three members are appointed by the governor, and it conducts its deliberations largely in secret.
It's unclear when Petumenos' investigation will wrap up, but the ADN also reports that the personnel board has meetings scheduled for Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. Adds the paper: "The agendas for those meetings mention confidential ethics matters to be handled in executive session."
Separately, ADN reports that Walt Monegan, the former public safety commissioner whose firing by Palin is at the heart of Trooper-Gate, has asked the personnel board to hold a hearing, then issue public findings, on whether he was a "rogue" employee and demonstrated "insubordination", as the Palin camp has publicly alleged in an effort to discredit him.
Palin has given several apparently contradictory explanations for why she fired Monegan. Branchflower's report concluded that Monegan's reluctance to fire Wooten was a contributing factor in his own dismissal.