The national press may have mostly left Alaska, but the legal maneuvering over Trooper-Gate continues. Yesterday, Attorney General Talis Colberg filed suit to throw out the subpoenas issued to witnesses in the legislature’s investigation.
Colberg, who was a little-known assemblyman and private-practice lawyer until Palin tapped him for the AG job, argued that the Senate Judiciary Committee lacks the authority to issue subpoenas. Since early September, the Palin camp has maintained that the state personnel board, whose members are appointed by the governor, is the only appropriate body to conduct an investigation — though that claim would appear to hold little water.
The list of witnesses currently defying subpoenas includes Todd Palin, and several of the governor’s key aides. Nonetheless, the legislators running the probe have said that independent investigator Steve Branchflower will wrap up his report by October 11 and release a report soon after.
In response to Colberg’s move, Sen. Hollis French, the Democrat overseeing the legislature’s probe, told the Anchorage Daily News: “For over 200 years, legislatures have exercised their right to oversee the activities of the executive branch. Denying us that authority undermines the basic democratic process.”
A separate lawsuit filed by five Alaska legislators aims to stop the investigation, which was initiated by a 12-0 bipartisan vote, entirely.
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