September 19, 2008 / 3:38 AM / 9 years ago

Palin's husband refuses to testify in Alaska probe

<p>Todd Palin, husband of Republican vice-presidential nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, arrives on stage with his wife in Golden, Colorado September 15, 2008.Rick Wilking</p>

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The husband of Gov. Sarah Palin will ignore a subpoena from Alaska lawmakers investigating whether the Republican vice presidential nominee's firing of a state commissioner constituted an abuse of power, officials from her campaign said on Thursday.

Todd Palin was among 13 people, including several Palin administration staffers, subpoenaed by a legislative committee to testify in private or at a hearing scheduled for Friday.

The governor's husband, however, refuses to answer questions to a panel that he believes is politically motivated, according to campaign officials for Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Palin.

"The objections boil down to the fact that the legislative council investigation is no longer a legitimate investigation because it has been subjected to complete partisanship," campaign spokesman Ed O'Callaghan said.

Todd Palin could be found in contempt of the legislature for failing to comply, but the whole body would have to be in session to do so, and it is not scheduled to reconvene until January.

O'Callaghan, a former federal prosecutor who has traveled to Alaska to advise the Palins and others implicated in the probe, argue that supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama are controlling the investigation.

The abuse-of-power investigation is seeking to determine whether Gov. Palin dismissed former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he declined to fire a state trooper involved in a contentious divorce from the governor's sister.

"Nobody is above the law," said State Sen. Bill Wielechowski, an Anchorage Democrat. "Just because you're the husband of someone who is running for vice president doesn't mean you can flout the law."

The inquiry was authorized by a unanimous vote of Alaska's bipartisan Legislative Council. At the time, the governor pledged full cooperation with the probe.

Some Republicans in the legislature have called for a delay of the investigation until after the November 4 presidential election. Five Republican lawmakers this week filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to stop the probe.

Editing by Daisuke Wakabayashi

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