A political dodge

The Baltimore Sun

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin can run but she can't hide. The Republican vice presidential candidate now says she won't cooperate with a state investigation into her firing of the state public safety chief, an inquiry that she initially welcomed. The probe centers on charges that her dismissal of Walter Monegan was linked to his refusal to fire a state trooper who was caught up in a messy divorce with Mrs. Palin's sister.

Until the last week, Governor Palin had pledged to cooperate with the investigation initiated by Alaska's legislature and supported by Republicans and Democrats. "The governor has said all along that she will fully cooperate with an investigation and her staff will cooperate as well," the governor's spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, told the Anchorage Daily News in July.

In papers filed with the state Personnel Board, Governor Palin said she fired Mr. Monegan over budget issues and "outright insubordination." Last week, she told ABC's Charles Gibson, "There's nothing to hide. ... Commissioner Monegan has said, 'The governor never asked me to fire him [the trooper], the governor's husband never asked me to fire him,' and we never did. I never pressured him to hire or fire anybody."

Mrs. Palin apparently has had a change of heart. And Sen. John McCain's campaign spokesman, Ed O'Callaghan, is getting the word out: Governor Palin is "unlikely to cooperate" with the investigation, which he called "tainted."

A group of Republican legislators in Alaska also has come to her aid and gone to court to derail the investigation, which they described as "McCarthyistic." No hyperbole there.

Mrs. Palin's candidacy for vice president can't be her excuse to dodge the state investigation. She may be the Republicans' choice for vice president, but she's no longer the same Alaska governor who once promised transparency in government.

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