Palin Investigation Stalled By McCain Campaign, State Legislator Says

ABC News reports:

Is the McCain campaign afraid of an 'October surprise' involving vice-presidential pick Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska?

The Alaska state senator running an investigation of Gov. Palin says the McCain campaign is using stall tactics to prevent him from releasing his final report by Oct. 31, four days before the November election.

"It's likely to be damaging to the Governor," said Senator Hollis French, a Democrat, appointed the project manager for a bi-partisan State Senate Legislative Counsel Committee investigation of claims that Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired.

An Anchorage Daily News story suggests that Palin's lawyer is helping stall the investigation. He's trying to get the probe into the hands of a governor-appointed board:

The state has hired a private lawyer to represent Gov. Sarah Palin's office in the Legislature's investigation into the firing of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The lawyer already has challenged whether lawmakers even have authority to oversee the inquiry.


Van Flein said the investigation should be handled by the state Personnel Board, not the Legislature, because it's "statutorily mandated" to handle ethics cases. The three-member Personnel Board is appointed by the governor.

And he's making it difficult for Special Counsel Steve Branchflower to interview Palin:

Branchflower hasn't been able to set up an interview with Palin. French said the state will fly Branchflower to wherever Palin is on the campaign trail if needed.

"Clearly the governor's new political role will make it more challenging for her to make time for this investigation," French wrote. But Palin needs to be interviewed sometime in September, he said.

Van Flein said the investigation is "bad timing" in the middle of a presidential campaign. He said he couldn't guarantee her availability this month.

If witnesses don't become available, French says, he'll ask for subpoenas.