ANCHORAGE, Alaska -Alaska state legislators are preparing to issue subpoenas as part of an investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin’s handling of the “Troopergate” affair, but Palin herself won’t be hit with one.

State Sen. Hollis French, the Anchorage Democrat who is managing the probe into Palin’s firing of her former public safety commissioner, said legislators decided not to subpoena Palin as a gesture to calm what has become a tense standoff between the Legislature and the newly minted Republican vice presidential nominee.

“We’re trying to de-escalate the situation. We just want the truth, clear the air,” French said.

However, legislators still want their investigator to interview Palin.

Legislators also have decided to move up the date for completing their investigation into whether Palin abused her powers as governor by leaning on former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire a state trooper involved in a messy divorce with Palin’s sister.

The Legislature’s independent investigator, retired state prosecutor Steve Branchflower, will complete his investigative report on Oct. 10 rather than at the end of October, which would be right on top of the Nov. 4 election.

The idea, said Republican state Rep. Jay Ramras of Fairbanks, is to avoid the appearance of a last-minute “October surprise.”

Ramras chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which with its Senate counterpart has the power to issue subpoenas.

Another committee member, Republican state Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom of Eagle River, said legislators talked and agreed not to issue a subpoena to Palin.

“She has told the public that she intends to cooperate with the investigation, indeed, she has told the public that she welcomes the investigation and I have every faith that she means it,” Dahlstrom said. “If necessary we can send Mr. Branchflower to wherever the governor is, or she can give her statement to him over the telephone, whatever is most convenient for her. We recognize that her schedule is extremely busy, and we want to accommodate that.”

Although Palin earlier this summer said she and members of her administration would gladly cooperate, in recent days she has retained a lawyer and questioned the legitimacy of the legislative investigation.

The investigation began in July, well before it was known Palin would be running for vice president.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.