Alaska's governor being investigated, too

She's been discussed as a running mate for John McCain, but Sarah Palin might be in trouble over a controversy that centers around her former brother-in-law.

Published July 31, 2008 11:12PM (EDT)

Sen. Ted Stevens isn't the only Alaska Republican who might be in hot water. The state's Legislative Council, a bipartisan panel made up of both state senators and state representatives, voted earlier this week to spend up to $100,000 investigating Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of the state's former public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. The investigation will consider whether Palin sacked Monegan because he wouldn't fire Mike Wooten, a state trooper who's Palin's former brother-in-law, and whether Monegan was pressured to fire Wooten by Palin or members of her family or administration.

Wooten is currently going through a bitter divorce and custody battle with Palin's younger sister. Monegan says he did feel pressure to fire the trooper before he himself was fired on July 11. Palin replaced Monegan with Chuck Kopp, but Kopp resigned last week over revelations of a 2005 sexual harassment complaint against him.

All this comes at a bad time for Palin, especially because the investigation was brought to national attention on Thursday by the Wall Street Journal. She hasn't been discussed much as a possible running mate for John McCain recently, but her name has come up on numerous occasions, and she's been endorsed for the ticket by people like Nat Hentoff and the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez. Bill Kristol has also said he thinks she should be McCain's pick, and predicted she would end up on the ticket -- of course, given his record as a prognosticator, that could have been the real death blow to Palin's chances.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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