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Palin did not violate ethics act: Alaska board

[JURIST] The Alaskan Personnel Board [official website] on Monday released a report [text, PDF] finding that governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin [official profile] did not violate state ethics rules when she fired former public safety commissioner Walter Monegan. Monegan had alleged that Palin violated the state's Executive Branch Ethics Act (EBEA) [text, PDF] by using her office to pressure him to fire Palin's former brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten, and that she improperly dismissed Monegan when he refused. In the report, independent counsel Timothy Petumenos concluded that there was "no probable cause to believe" that Palin violated the act in her actions towards either Monegan or Wooten. Petumenos also criticized an earlier investigation into the charges by Stephen Branchflower, saying that it misinterpreted the EBEA and relied too heavily on weak evidence when it found Palin's conduct unethical. The New York Times has more.

Earlier this month, the Alaskan Legislative Council [official website] released Branchflower's report [text, PDF; JURIST report] on the allegations, concluding that Palin and her husband Todd had violated the public trust by using their influence in the Governor's Office to pressure for Wooten's firing. Branchflower found that while Monegan's refusal to fire Wooten was a contributing factor to his dismissal, it was nevertheless a "proper and lawful exercise" of Palin's authority to hire and fire executive branch heads under the Alaskan law.

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