Ethics advisor warned Palin on Troopergate

Sarah Palin was counseled to apologize and cooperate with the investigation; instead, her administration is now threatening to try to quash subpoenas.

Published September 11, 2008 4:30PM (EDT)

A man who has informally advised Sarah Palin on ethics issues told her she should apologize for the way she fired Alaska's public safety commissioner and told her that legally she probably had to cooperate with the investigation into that firing, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The advisor, former U.S. attorney Wevley Shea -- a Republican -- said Palin and her husband should apologize for "overreaching or perceived overreaching" in apparently using her position to try to get her sister's ex-husband, a state trooper, fired. "My feeling is this is not a personnel matter. It doesn't have anything to do with the governing of the state of Alaska," he told the Journal.

Now that she's the Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee, Palin's taking the opposite tack. In two letters released on Wednesday, her personal attorney attacked Stephen Branchflower, the man heading up the ongoing investigation into Palin's conduct, calling him biased and the investigation "unlawful and unconstitutional." Palin's lawyer also said Branchflower should stop interviewing witnesses. And, separately, Michael Barnhill, a senior assistant attorney general in Alaska, wrote to his state's lawmakers to call the investigation biased. Barnhill also threatened to move to quash subpoenas that have been issued to members of Palin's administration.

The investigation's report is due to be released next month.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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