In the US state of Alaska, politicians have voted to subpoena Todd Palin, the husband of Sarah Palin (photo, from bostonherald.com), the Republican nominee for US vice-president, as part of an investigation into alleged abuse of power by the Alaska governor.
On Friday, the Alaska senate judiciary committee voted five to three to subpoena Mr Palin.
The governor’s decision to fire Walter Monegan, the state’s director of public safety, is being examined by investigators.
According to Mr Monegan, he was removed because of his resistance to pressure to dismiss Mike Wooten, an Alaska state trooper and the former husband of Palin’s sister Molly McCann.
Although Ms Palin rejected the charge, in late July she launched the so-called “Troopergate” investigation.
After being a shock pick as running mate for John McCain, the Republican candidate for president in the election on November 4, Sarah Palin could be shadowed by the issue.
Before the vote, Stephen Branchflower, the senior investigator, said that Todd Palin was “such a central figure … I think one should be issued for him”.
‘Get the facts on the table’
Todd Palin, an oil-rig worker and championship snowmachine racer, attends meetings at the governor’s office and is copied in on emails concerning state business despite holding no official position.
Ms Palin’s chief-of-staff and deputy chief-of-staff have also been subpoenaed by the committee, even though they had agreed beforehand not to consider such a move against the Republican hopeful, on the understanding she would agree to an interview by the investigator.
Under the legislature’s rules, Lyda Green, the Alaska senate president, must approve the subpoenas.
When Charlie Huggins, a Republican state senator who represents Ms Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, sided with Democrats, Republican efforts to delay the investigation until after the election were thwarted as he said “let’s just get the facts on the table”.
Through Sean Parnell, the Alaska Lieutenant Governor, the McCain campaign released a statement criticising Democrat politicians.
“I’m disappointed by the complete hijacking of what should be a fair and objective process”, said the Republican, calling the investigation a “smear”.