Trooper-Gate Report Came In Under Budget

From the start, the McCain-Palin camp’s major strategy in defending Sarah Palin on Trooper-Gate has been to argue that the investigation is a partisan witch-hunt run by supporters of Barack Obama, designed to inflict maximum political damage on the governor.

But most partisan witch-hunts don’t end up spending only 75 percent of their allotted budget.

Sen. Hollis French, who was overseeing the probe, told the Anchorage Daily News last night that the investigation ended up costing only $75,000. When legislators voted to launch it in July, they had authorized spending up to $100,000.

The paper reports that Steve Branchflower, the investigator, will be paid $45,000, and the additional $30,000 went to “expenses such as copying, court reporting and transcribing, and managing computer files.”

Of course, the fact that the report’s release date was moved up by three weeks, to ensure it didn’t appear on the eve of the election, may have been one reason why it came in under budget.

Still, Branchflower left $25,000 on the table. That’s not exactly the move of 21st-century Ken Starr, a comparison made by Palin’s lawyer.