PUBLISHED: 1:37 PM on Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Lawmakers join suit to stop Troopergate investigation
Some say investigation into Monegan firing has grown out-of-control
KENAI, Alaska - One of five Alaska Republican lawmakers who filed suit Sept. 16 to halt the so-called "Troopergate" inquiry said the investigation had turned into a partisan political bees nest.

Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai, blamed other Republicans, notably Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, for "orchestrating the whole thing," meaning the way the investigation has proceeded to date and efforts to rush the Legislative Council's investigation to a conclusion before the election.

Green has a history of tangling politically with Gov. Sarah Palin.

The five Republicans who filed suit in Anchorage Superior Court also include Sen. Fred Dyson of Eagle River, and Reps. Wes Keller of Wasilla, Mike Kelly of Fairbanks, and Bob Lynn of Anchorage.

In an interview late in the week, Wagoner, who acknowledged having not yet seen the lawsuit itself, said he hopes the inquiry is stopped in its tracks, at least until after the election.

He said that when the bipartisan Legislative Council voted July 28 to launch the investigation into the dismissal of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and whether Gov. Sarah Palin had abused her executive powers in trying to get her former brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper, that no one envisioned the turns it has taken.

Indeed, Palin has most recently claimed Monegan was fired for insubordination.

The 26-page suit names as defendants Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, who is overseeing the investigation, and Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, chair of the Legislative Council, and independent investigator Stephen Branchflower.

Wagoner said the Legislative Council never set a final date for the investigation, but that Branchflower was now being rushed to write a report and make recommendations.

"Not date was authorized by the Legislative Council," he said.

Wagoner also said the report, when completed, should go to the council and be reviewed behind closed doors before any decision was made to make it public. Now he fears it will be leaked.

"You know the report will be made public one way or another," he said.

Wagoner said he thinks there are at least six members of the Legislative Council who want another meeting to discuss recent developments in the investigation and how the whole affair has become politicized, in Alaska and nationally.

  Sen. Tom Wagoner
Wagoner said the matter had "nothing to do with national politics." He acknowledged not following the news closely and was unaware just how big an issue the affair had become because of Palin's candidacy for vice president. He said he was not aware that a perception was growing - and being pushed by Democrats - that Palin might have something to hide.