ABC News takes matters into its own hands in “Troopergate” matter (MORE: ALASKA AG ASKS FOR WITHDRAWAL OF SUBPOENAS FOR STATE EMPLOYEES)

The day after Alaska government emails were released in an attempt to prove to the public that the reason former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was fired by Gov. Palin was due to insubordination rather than his refusal to fire her former brother in law, state trooper Mike Wooten, ABC News used the information contained within the emails to do some digging and to portray Palin as “anti-woman” because she supposedly didn’t make women’s issues like domestic violence and rape a top priority.  Those issues, according to the emails released yesterday, were a concern of Commissioner Monegan, who went repeatedly went outside the normal budget channels after numerous requests to keep the discussion internal.

In the midst of their hit piece, check out this paragraph (emphasis added):

Days later, Palin fired its chief proponent, Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, after he declined to dismiss a state trooper Palin accused of threatening her own family members. Palin has said she fired Monegan because she wanted to move his department in a “new direction,” and he was not being “a team player on budgeting issues.” The dismissal is now at the center of a hotly-contested investigation by the state legislature.

Note the part I empasized in italics. ABC’s stating as fact that she fired Monegan because of his failure to fire Wooten, and adds on her rationale for doing it (not being a “team player on budgeting issues”) as an afterthought. They provide no evidence whatsoever that Gov. Palin asked Commissioner Monegan personally to fire Wooten, and certainly don’t have any evidence that she fired him on that basis. Wishful thinking on their part, by chance? 

Not only that, but the article is misleading in that it makes Gov. Palin sound like she didn’t want any funding to go towards fighting sexual assaults and domestic violence when anyone who read the emails can see that there was a conflict between Monegan and the Alaska OMB regarding why he used money budgeted to his department on other things outside of recruiting, as well as concerns expressed by the OMB that Monegan was at best giving ballpark estimates for what things would cost without giving a lot of details as to why he needed the amount of money he was requesting (at least that’s the impression I got from the emails, anyway).

Related, via AJ Strata: Alaskans Go To Court To End Partisan Witch Hunt Of Palin.

Update – 11:10 PM: Here’s an interesting development:

In a letter to the Democratic state senator overseeing the investigation, Attorney General Talis Colberg asks that the subpoenas be withdrawn. He also says the employees will not appear before the investigator unless either the full state Senate or the entire Alaska Legislature votes to compel their testimony.

Last week, a committee of lawmakers issued subpoenas for 13 people, including Todd Palin, the governor’s husband, in the investigation of whether the governor fired her public safety chief for refusing to dismiss her former brother-in-law, an Alaska State Trooper.

All those summoned are state employees, except Todd Palin.

I wonder if this has anything to do with this development?

A Friday hearing revealed that an Obama partisan has manipulated an independent investigator’s subpoena list for a controversial inquiry against GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The investigation is intended to determine whether Palin abused her office by firing Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. Palin says she fired him over budget issues. Her foes believe the firing was due to Monegan’s unwillingness to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law State Trooper Mike Wooten, a man who has admitted to “tasering” his stepson, illegally shooting a moose and has been accused of threatening his former father-in-law with violence and drinking in his police car.

Investigator Steven Branchflower admitted he had ceded control of his subpoena list to Sen. Hollis French (D.) during Alaska’s Joint Judiciary Committee September 12 hearing that was scheduled to approve subpoena requests. [CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO.] French is a partisan who has endorsed Palin’s Democratic presidential ticket rival Barack Obama for president and is actively supporting his candidacy.

Lawmakers approved 13 of Branchflower’s subpoena requests that day, which included one for Palin’s husband, Todd. Four other subpoenas were approved for aides Branchflower believes participated in a meeting called by Palin’s former chief of staff Mike Tibbles where Wooten’s firing was allegedly discussed.

Rep. David Guttenberg (D.) asked Branchflower why he was requesting subpoenas for only those people attending the meeting and not Tibbles himself.

Branchflower said he would “have to defer that question to Mr. French.”

“I put the list together with, talking to Mr. French” Branchflower added.

Sen. Gene Therriault (R.) told Branchflower, “I don’t understand why you would have to defer that question to Sen. French. If it’s your list you’re in complete control of the list, then why can’t you answer the question?”

Branchflower had no explanation. He only offered, “I’m not sure why his name was removed. My initial request was to have him on the list.” At that point, French interjected. “It appeared to me there wasn’t the political will to subpoena Tibbles.”

“Something’s fishy here” Therriault replied. “I mean either Mr. Branchflower conducts his investigation without direction, and now we know he’s been directed on the date and changing what he’s doing and how he’s doing it because of the time pressure he is feeling. And now we’re hearing that people that he’s trying to get information from, there’s direction going on on that, too.”

Stay tuned …

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