Todd Palin: Contacts with wife's staff were proper

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - October 8, 2008 The Republican vice presidential nominee and her husband, Todd, are the focus of an abuse-of-power investigation by a legislative panel. The investigation is scheduled to end Friday, the deadline for the release of a potentially embarrassing report into her firing of the state's public safety commissioner.

The inquiry has been a distraction for John McCain's presidential campaign, and the report could shed light on how his running mate - Palin - governs and what role her husband might have played in her administration.

"I have heard criticism that I am too involved in my wife's administration," Todd Palin wrote in an affidavit Wednesday that was provided to The Associated Press. "My wife and I are very close. We are each other's best friend. I have helped her in her career the best I can, and she has helped me."

The Palins are accused of pressuring Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan to fire a state trooper who had gone through a messy divorce with the governor's sister. When he resisted, Monegan says, Gov. Palin fired him.

Gov. Palin has said she fired Monegan after a series of budget disputes, which McCain's campaign has documented in e-mails between Monegan and members of her administration.

The 52-page affidavit submitted by Todd Palin was in response to written questions put to him by legislative investigators. He answered the questions and provided his first detailed views on how the Monegan case was handled. He also expanded on his complaints about his former brother-in-law.

The document was submitted to legislative investigators the same day a group of Republican lawmakers argued before the state Supreme Court that the legislative inquiry should be shut down and the report not released.

Although the investigation was approved by a bipartisan vote, attorney Kevin Clarkson told the justices that the case has become an unjust partisan sideshow. A lawyer for the Legislature said blocking the report would be unprecedented.

The court has said it will rule swiftly, but did not say when.

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