11 Oct 2008

Ethics probe finds Sarah Palin abused her power

6:28 pm on 11 October 2008

An ethics inquiry found that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin abused the power of her office by dismissing the state's public safety commissioner, a report said.

The investigation centered on whether the firing of Walt Monegan, the state's public safety commissioner, was linked to Mrs Palin's personal feud with a state trooper.

The trooper, Michael Wooten, was involved in a contentious divorce with the governor's sister.

The report said Mr Monegan's refusal to fire Mr Wooten was not the sole reason he was dismissed but was a contributing factor.

Mrs Palin allowed her husband Todd to use the governor's office and resources to continue to contact state employees to find some way to get Mr 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 in the United States after Mrs Palin was selected to be Senator 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.