John McCain’s presidential campaign is calling an ethics investigation led against his vice president, Sarah Palin, by Alaskan Democrats who are actively supporting his rival Barack Obama into question.
They contend the man who is heading the investigation against Palin, dubbed "Troopergate," is a partisan Democrat who has endorsed Obama for president and is using his political power in Alaska to damage Palin and the GOP.
Members of the McCain campaign are citing a page on Obama’s presidential website that identifies state legislators investigating Palin’s decision to fire the state’s Public Safety Commissioner as Obama supporters.
The McCain camp is zeroing on political action taken by Alaskan Democrats Hollis French and Kim Elton against Republican Governor Palin. Both Democrats have endorsed Obama for president and are currently supporting his candidacy.
Last week, Alaskan Republicans asked Alaska’s Legislature’s Legislative Council, which appointed Hollis to lead the investigation, to replace Hollis with someone less partisan. Their request was denied by fellow Democrat and Obama-supporter Elton, who sits at the head of the Legislative Council.
In interviews, Hollis has suggested his investigation may culminate in an “October surprise,” perhaps Palin's impeachment as Governor, that could help the Democrats win the White House in November. ABC News quoted Hollis saying “If they had done their job they never would have picked her,” referring to the McCain campaign’s vetting process. “Now they may have to deal with an October surprise.”
Hollis plans to release his final report, which he describes as “damaging,” on October 31, four days shy of the presidential election.
The investigation is intended to determine whether Palin abused her office when she pressured Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire her former brother-in-law State Trooper Mike Wooten. Police investigations against Wooten found he had used a Taser on his stepson, illegally shot a moose, drank beer in his patrol car and threatened his father in law with death.
Wooten finalized a bitter divorce with Palin’s sister, Molly, in 2005.