ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – An Alaska ethics inquiry found that Gov. Sarah Palin, the U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate, abused the power of her office by dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner, a report released on Friday said.
The investigation centered on whether the firing of Walt Monegan, the state’s public safety commissioner, was linked to Palin’s personal feud with a state trooper, Michael Wooten, who was involved in a contentious divorce with the governor’s sister.
The report, written by Steve Branchflower, a retired state prosecutor hired by lawmakers to conduct the inquiry, said Monegan’s refusal to fire Wooten was not the sole reason he was dismissed but was likely a contributing factor.
Palin allowed her husband, Todd Palin, to use the governor’s office and resources to continue to contact state employees to find some way to get Wooten fired, according to the report.
“Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired,” the report said.
The Alaska scandal known locally as “Troopergate” gained national attention after Palin was selected to be Sen. John McCain‘s running mate.
The McCain-Palin campaign has attacked the investigation as a partisan effort led by supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and said the public safety commissioner was dismissed because of poor performance.
The campaign released its own findings on Thursday, saying the Palins were justified in their actions because they were trying to protect their family from Wooten who they said had made threats of violence.