Lawmaker Seeks Removal of Peer Leading Palin Probe

Sunday, September 7, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Sept. 6 -- The Alaska lawmaker leading an investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's dismissal of her public safety commissioner should be removed because he appears to be manipulating the probe to damage her vice presidential candidacy, a Republican legislator said.

Alaska state Sen. Hollis French (D) "appears to be steering the direction of the investigation, its conclusion and its timing in a manner that will have maximum partisan political impact on the national and state elections," state Rep. John Coghill wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Alaska Legislature's legislative council.

Coghill is on the council, which appointed French to oversee the investigation into whether Palin abused her power by firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. His letter asks the chairman, Sen. Kim Elton (D), to convene a meeting to discuss whether French should be replaced.

Coghill's letter was first reported Saturday by Newsweek magazine.

French told Newsweek, "I said some things I shouldn't have said," but he noted that he is not in charge of gathering the facts and writing the report. Prosecutor Stephen Branchflower was hired to conduct the investigation, and the integrity of the probe remains intact, French said.

Palin's lawyer has called for the state personnel board, and not the legislature, to conduct the probe.

-- Associated Press

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