Posted by MataHarley on 16 September, 2008 at 1:20 pm. 10 comments already!

H/T to Jeffrey Setaro’s blog

Read all background posts on Trooper’gate here!

The mudslinging battles in the two investigations of Sarah Palin just got even muddier… Per the Portland Examiner today, five GOP lawmakers have decided to take legal action in the attempt to halt Sen. Hollis French’s legislative witch hunt.

The Personnel Board investigation will go on as planned.

JUNEAU, Alaska (Map, News) – Five Republican state lawmakers filed suit Tuesday to end the bipartisan investigation into Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of the public safety commissioner even though the vice presidential candidate once said she welcomed the probe into allegations of abuse of power.

The lawsuit called the investigation “unlawful, biased, partial and partisan.” None of the lawmakers who filed the suit in Anchorage Superior Court serves on the bipartisan Legislative Council that unanimously approved the investigation.

Continue reading Steve Quinn’s AP article here

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UPDATE: 4:36pm Pacific Time
Another HT to Jeffrey Setaro and Amanda Carpenter at Townhall

Per an ADN (Anchorage Daily News) article today, Kevin Clarkson, Anchorage attorney for the five GOP lawmakers, sent an email to ADN, giving notice on his filed brief. [Clarkson was interviewed on Mark Levin’s talk radio show this afternoon]

But first, I might say I disagree with Ms. Carpenter that there are two filed complaints. I believe there is only one. Reading the link to the brief, it appears the plaintiffs are the five GOP Senators – Robert Bettisworth, James Dodson, Seth Church, David Eichler, Thomas Temple and Alan Simmons – and filed *as* citizens of Alaska, being nailed for expenditures that are illegally appropriated. (None of which, I will add, are members of the Joint Legislative Council)

Now I can’t be sure as I have not seen any additional filed briefs. But who has the standing to file the lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Alaska – and if any could, it would be their elected officials. And if I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to issue a public “mea culpa”…. LOL

But my first inclination is that the brief is covering the lawmakers, and the lawmakers as citizens…. not two separate complaints asking for declaratory and injunctive relief.

Reasons cited for this action are not a surprise to me… unconstitutional via Alaska’s Constitution under procedure for possible impeachment (under Article II of the Constitutions), jurisdiction and due process.

Again, read the brief link provided above. But there’s a highlight that make me roar…

First, Clarkson alleges Steve Branchflower was not licensed to practice law in Alaska until August 5th. He apparently has some dual residency specifics as both SC and AK. Branchflower, of course, was appointed by Hollis and his merry band, the Legislative Council officially on the 31st of July, and in the news August 1st. ooops….

Back to some other more mundane, but pertinent issues now.

NO LEGAL JURISDICTION?

I mentioned in the most recent Trooper’gate post that this particular Alaskan legislative investigation was blazing some new procedural trails. The lawmakers appointed Branchflower (prematurely to his legal practice possibly), and are guiding his investigation by voting on witnesses. Other traditional legislative investigations – per federal law – are only pertinent if they are in connection with legislative development, and the lawmakers are not involved in the process.

Evidently, reading Clarkson’s brief, Alaska is no different.

Secondly, as also mentioned in some previous Trooper’gate posts, this investigation will cost the Alaskan taxpayers $100K. Well, guess what… the Legislative Council has no budget appropriations power to allocate these funds for the investigation. These funds must be appropriated thru the standard procedural legislative process before the full body.

… another oops

Clarkson’s brief goes on to state that the priority jurisdiction belongs to the Personnel Board, per Alaskan law. And if you’re a regular reader of this Trooper’gate series, you’re way ahead of the western MSM on these facts. Clarkson states in his brief:

The parallel investigation of the underlying facts by a partisan legislator serves no purpose other than to highlight the inquiry as a poorly disguised political attack.

Amen to that…

Something else I’ve mentioned several times is that this legislative process may violate Palin’s (and others they plan to investigate) Due Process, per the Alaskan Constitution. And Alaska, on the heels of the McCarthy witch hunts, was very specific in naming legislative investigations in their Declaration of Rights – Due Process in Article I.

Per Clarkson’s brief:

Legislatures are properly and inherently biased and therefore not well suited to serve as neutral adjuticative bodies. Delineating the Constitutional rights of Alaska’s citizens in the shadow of the McCarthy era, the State founders were acutely aware of the dangers of allowing partisan legislators to sit in judgment of their fellow citizens or political adversaries. To insure against that possibility, the Constitution itself guarantees that “the right of all citizens to fair and just treatment in the course of legislative and executive investigations shall not be infringed”. [Alaska Const Article I, Sect. 7]

The same basic concern over the abuse of legislative power inspired the Alaskan Legislature to act again, 50 years hence, to create the Alaskan Personnel Board as the neutral adjuticative body to resolve government ethics disputes, including disputes involving the Governor, in a fair and unbiased fashion. The Personnel Board, not the thinly-veiled “independent” adjuticated inquiry spearheaded by Senator French is the proper forum to conduct a neutral review.

Can I get another *Amen* here! I’ve been shouting this since the onset of this nonsense. Now if those of us that are informed can catch the media up on reality….

WHAT THEY WANT IN THE BRIEF?

For the “declaratory relief”:

The plaintiffs want the courts to rule that the Branchflower investigation is beyond the statutory power of the Legislative Council, and thereby unConstitutional.

For “Due Process” declaratory relief violations, Clarkson points out that Sen French has not only retained control over the investigative process, but is not conducting the process in an unbiased fashion based on his press statements. This, of course, violates Palins due process rights as it is not being handled with “fair and just treatment”, as the Constitution states.

For the injunctive relief”:

Stop Branchflower from spending State money that was appropriated outside the means of the standard procedure, there therefore not within the Legislative Council’s statutory authority. In other words… “freeze”! Funds already spent are outside of any lawful remedy. (Could Branchflower be eating his legal fees already???) The are asking for a temporary restraining order against Branchflower incurring any further costs.

And oh, BTW, the plantiffs are asking for Branchflower to pay for the legal costs incurred for this lawsuit… kewl.

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…. okay, added afterthought here. I don’t want to blame Branchflower for Hollis French’s vendetta and lack of legal authority. He’s just a guy accepting a job… even if he is a Monegan buddy. So I’ll be more benevolent, and recant the above as an instinctive evil “heh heh”… and hope that Branchflower sues the begeezus out of French to recoup his legal fees.

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