Democrats interfering with subpoenas in Alaska?
posted at 8:15 am on September 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Amanda Carpenter noted a curious exchange in the Alaskan legislature committee hearing regarding subpoenas in the investigation into “Troopergate”. The lead investigator, who was supposed to act as an independent agent in the probe, testified that Democrat Hollis French had overruled him on his subpoena list and struck a witness he wanted to interview:
Investigator Steven Branchflower admitted he had ceded control of his subpoena list to Sen. Hollis French (D.) during Alaska’s Joint Judiciary Committee September 12 hearing that was scheduled to approve subpoena requests. [CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO.] French is a partisan who has endorsed Palin’s Democratic presidential ticket rival Barack Obama for president and is actively supporting his candidacy.
Lawmakers approved 13 of Branchflower’s subpoena requests that day, which included one for Palin’s husband, Todd. Four other subpoenas were approved for aides Branchflower believes participated in a meeting called by Palin’s former chief of staff Mike Tibbles where Wooten’s firing was allegedly discussed.
Rep. David Guttenberg (D.) asked Branchflower why he was requesting subpoenas for only those people attending the meeting and not Tibbles himself.
Branchflower said he would “have to defer that question to Mr. French.”
Branchflower then explained that he had submitted Tibbles’ name for a subpoena, only to have it removed by French. He could provide no explanation why French, who has endorsed Barack Obama, would have denied him a subpoena to interview the man who conducted the meeting in question. As both Democrats and Republicans pressed Branchflower to explain this omission, French himself interjected that he didn’t see a “political will” for the subpoena.
Clearly, this interference demonstrates the partisan nature of this inquiry. Why would the state of Alaska subpoena all of the attendees of a meeting but neglect to subpoena the man who called and ran the meeting? If the “political will” did not exist to question Tibbles, then why would it exist to subpoena the other participants in this meeting?
For some reason, French doesn’t want the committee to hear what Tibbles has to say about this meeting. Even beyond that question, though, French’s interference shows that this investigation is neither independent nor apolitical. French has been caught manipulating subpoenas for a predetermined outcome of this case. That strongly indicates that French doesn’t have much of a case, and feels the need to distort it for his own political reasons.