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.”