From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
Lots of talk today among legislators about investigating whether fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan was pressured by the Palin administration to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, who was in a messy divorce with Palin's sister.
Senate Judiciary chairman Hollis French said he spoke over the weekend with Senate President Lyda Green and other members of the Senate majority.
"I'm fairly confident at this point that what we're going to see is the appointment of an independent investigator to make sure that politics is not involved into the inquiry into the Monegan firing and if it was motivated by the handling of the Wooten case or something else," French said today. "And a separate track into whether there were violations of the personnel act in certain members of the administration's handling of the Wooten case."
French said he thinks a special investigator would be appointed within a week. Some legislators are talking about also having hearings right away on the Monegan firing. But French said he didn't think there would be immediate hearings. He said the Legislature has to focus on the gas pipeline and energy relief issues up now in the special session, and try to keep politics out of the Monegan issue.
Things are more in flux in the state House. There's discussion in the House of both an investigator and hearings -- and of what legislative committee would hold any hearings. Lawmakers were flying into Juneau today to resume the gas pipeline special session and the House majority hasn't made a decision on how to proceed.
"I think everybody will be all over the place until we have a few days to be down here and get assembled," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jay Ramras.