Palin cleared by Troopergate investigation

A report has cleared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of the state's public safety commissioner.

A report has cleared U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner.

The report, released Monday by the Alaska Personnel Board, said there is "no probable cause" to believe Palin, who is governor of Alaska, or any other state official, violated the state's Executive Ethics Act.

The report contrasts a separate legislative investigation released Oct. 10 that concluded that Palin, a Republican, abused her office by allowing her husband and staffers to pressure public safety commissioner Walter Monegan to fire a state trooper who went through a nasty divorce from Palin's sister.

Palin fired Monegan, but denies his dismissal was related to the trooper.

Although the legislative report issued a stinging rebuke of Palin's conduct, it carried no penalty. The Alaska Personnel Board, whose three members are appointed by the governor, has the authority to decide if Palin violated the law. The board investigates ethics complaints against members of the state's executive branch.

"Gov. Palin is pleased that the independent investigator for the Personnel Board has concluded that she acted properly in the reassignment of public safety commissioner Walt Monegan," Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said in a statement.

Alaska Personnel Board investigations are normally secret, but the board decided to release this report, citing public interest in the matter given Palin's status as a candidate for national office. Election day is Tuesday.

Palin was not subpoenaed in the investigation, but she did testify before Timothy Petumenos, an independent counsel the board hired to investigate the complaint, for two hours on Oct. 24. It marked the first time she spoke at length, or under oath, about the controversy, known as Troopergate.

Palin pushed for the Alaska Personnel Board investigation after accusing the legislative inquiry of becoming partisan.

Telephone messages left with state Senator Hollis French, who led the legislative investigation, and Senator Kim Elton, chairman of the Legislative Council, were not immediately returned.