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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska lawmakers voted Friday to subpoena the husband of Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, in a move that transformed a messy state personnel issue into a national campaign controversy.
The lawmakers acted at the request of Stephen Branchflower, who is in the midst of an investigation into the governor’s dismissal of the state’s director of public safety.
Palin has said she fired the commissioner, Walt Monegan, over disagreements about budget priorities. Monegan says he received repeated e-mails and phone calls from Palin, her husband and her staff expressing dismay over Wooten’s continued employment.
Branchflower also asked for a subpoena for the phone records of one Palin administration official, Frank Bailey. Bailey was recorded calling an Alaska State Trooper lieutenant and discussing confidential information about Wooten, including his job application and worker’s compensation claim. In a deposition taken by Palin’s attorney, he testified that he never saw Wooten’s file, but instead received the information from Todd Palin.
"It's likely to be damaging to the Governor's administration," said Senator Hollis French,
"If they had done their job they never would have picked her," said French. "Now they may have to deal with an October surprise," he said, referring to the scheduled release Oct. 31 of the committee's final report.
And Branchflower, the investigator, is a former Anchorage prosecutor whose wife used to work for Monegan at the Anchorage Police Department.