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Friday, September 19, 2008

Répondez Subpoena Vous Plaît

posted by on September 19 at 10:30 AM


Todd Palin, the husband of the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, has refused to testify in a legislative inquiry into whether Ms. Palin or members of her administration abused their power in the dismissal of a top state administrator, a spokesman said Thursday.

Mr. Palin, one of 13 people served with subpoenas in the inquiry, is a close adviser to his wife and is at the center of the controversy over the firing in July of Walt Monegan, then the public safety commissioner.

Ed O’Callaghan, a spokesman for the McCain-Palin campaign here, said that Mr. Palin would not testify and that he had filed “objections to the validity of the subpoena” with the independent investigator leading the inquiry for the Legislature, Stephen E. Branchflower, a former Anchorage prosecutor.

So do we all get to make are own judgment calls about subpoenas now? Are they, in the wake of Bush administration, merely invitations for testimony and/or evidence, and is honoring a subpoena entirely left to the discretion of the person served with the subpoena? Do subpoenas come with RSVP cards now? If I were to be served with a subpoena could I just shrug and say, “Hey, I have objections to the validity of this here subpoena!” and get away with it?

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In refusing to comply with subpoenas, Mr. Palin, Mr. Rove, etc., are basically calling the court's bluff. Why are the punishments for refusing to testify not being exacted?

Posted by Betsy Ross | September 19, 2008 10:48 AM

That's what I was wondering when I read this in the morning news. How can you just refuse a subpoena? But, apparently only the full state Senate can hold him in contempt and they don’t meet until January. So, this is a smart choice for them… they don’t want anything negative to come out before the election, so just refuse to testify until then, with no consequences until January.

I love how Palin has been painted as a reformer and a proponent of transparent government. Right.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | September 19, 2008 10:50 AM

Well, yeah, actually. You've always been able to contest a subpoena, Dan. You can file a motion to quash it, or do what Todd Palin appears to be doing, which is contesting its validity. Whether or not the court will agree remains to be seen.

Posted by Jane | September 19, 2008 10:54 AM

not to bring up marriage rights again, but what about spousal privilege?

Posted by infrequent | September 19, 2008 10:58 AM

Silly Dan. You may be physically white, but you know you're not really white.

Only White People get to blow off subpoenas.

Also, Julie in Chicago wrote, "I love how Palin has been painted as a reformer and a proponent of transparent government. Right.

Palin is a reformer because she says she is. And to every dumbfuck rube out there voting for her, that is good enough. They never let evidence get it the way of a good story.

Posted by Mike in MO | September 19, 2008 10:59 AM

If the Legislatures handing out the things would actually use the police powers they have been given, maybe they would be worth something.

Show-up, or go to jail.

For CSPAN/11 o'clock news cameras: Show-up on your own, or show up with a jailhouse escort. A refusal should come with consequences of worth.

But, nope. Doesn't look like it, not in national or local politics anyways.

Posted by Phenics | September 19, 2008 11:05 AM

We in Alaska are baffled. Palin promised to cooperate fully: "Bring it on," she said to us.

She told us "I have nothing to hide."

She agreed to the investigation: her AG negotiated the path of the SI.

Ugh. First we had all the corruption, now we have this bimbo on the national stage.

Please accept my apology for this clown car.

Posted by AK Rob | September 19, 2008 11:10 AM

What you call breaking the law the Palins call Standing Up To Business As Usual. Violating a court order is Putting An End To Partisan Politics. Palin is definitely ready to hit the ground running if she gets a chance to fill Cheney's shoes.

Remember, Todd's a secessionist, so his refusal to abide by the laws of the hated U.S. government isn't terribly surprising. Paradoxically, by refusing to obey the law the Palin clan probably endears themselves even more to the quasi-Libertarian crowd they're courting. The bizarre spectacle of anti-government types attempting to elect one of their own to public office in the very government they distrust and wish to see dismantled will produce many such paradoxes.

Practically speaking, they appear to be gambling that if they win (or, as Sequoia Voting Systems likes to say, "win") the election they can make this all go away through Executive Privilege.

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 19, 2008 11:15 AM

Didn't Dick Cheney tell us that we shouldn't object to the government investigating us if we have nothing to hide?

Posted by whatevernevermind | September 19, 2008 11:24 AM

It's astounding that McCain/Palin have managed to paint the investigation as a partisan witch hunt. It was unanimously authorized by a bipartisan committee of the legislature--with more Republicans than Democrats on it--well before Palin was tapped for the VP slot. The former prosecutor appointed to investigate is doing just that, investigating, and now it's somehow been 'hijacked by the left?' Please. Cheneyized is more like it.

Posted by avatar | September 19, 2008 11:24 AM

I think there's also a difference between a legislative subpoena and a subpoena issued in a criminal court case. The latter you should probably respond to or have an attorney respond to for you.

As far as the full Senate is concerned, can't the leader of the Senate call for an emergency session to enforce this? I know they probably don't want to, but isn't that usually how something like this is done?

Posted by joeyp | September 19, 2008 11:38 AM
Posted by Concerned Canadian | September 19, 2008 11:51 AM

I say hire a bounty hunter. Where is the Dog when you need him?

Posted by Greg | September 19, 2008 11:55 AM

@ 10: I love it! They sayObama is behind the investigation!

So, Barack Obama knew that McCain would pick her LONG before McCain knew it, and thus started an investigation using elected officials FROM FUCKING ALASKA!!!

Right. He is something else, that Barack Obama.

Posted by Mike in MO | September 19, 2008 11:59 AM

In large part because the Attorney General of Alaska is an appointee and close friend of Palin. He is the one that stepped in this week and said that he would refuse to prosecute anyone for contempt unless the entire legislature of Alaska voted overwhelmingly for the subpoenas. Inspite of the fact that the committee that issued the subpoenas is bi-partisan with 3 Republicans and only 2 democrats. This is a move right out of the Bush White House playbook. If Palin/Mccain are elected we could probably count on this idiot being AG of the US and be another Gonzales!

Posted by Sad Comment | September 19, 2008 12:05 PM

While not directly related to this slog - I wanted to point out something about the privacy that Sarah Palin is requesting for her pregnant daughter. If she wants privacy for her family, she should grant that same privacy to ALL familys...

"The Frank Rule
Frank's blunt stance on outing certain gay Republicans has become well-publicized. Dubbed "The Frank Rule," it holds that it is acceptable to out a closeted gay person, if that person uses their power or notoriety to hurt gay people. The issue became especially relevant during the Mark Foley page scandal of 2006, during which Frank clarified his position on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher:

I think there's a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. And people who want to demonize other people shouldn't then be able to go home and close the door and do it themselves."

Posted by Diana | September 19, 2008 12:46 PM

I know, it's insane. A bit of good news: Alaskans staged the biggest rally in the history of the state last weekend AGAINST Sarah! AK Alaska Women Reject Sarah Palin rally pics here:

Posted by Walden333 | September 19, 2008 1:32 PM


Excellent article - thank you.

As I'm sure you know, most Americans don't have a clue what's going on. And prefer Daddy Bush / Mama Palin take care of all that 'trivial' stuff.

There are concerned Americans, but we're in the minority...

Posted by Ayden/VA | September 19, 2008 1:43 PM

O.K. D's, heres a clue. Start asking and continue to ask, over and over and over "What do they have to hide?" Don't stop. Over and over. Create doubt these are the honest people they claim to be.

Posted by Vince | September 19, 2008 3:00 PM

The traditional subpoena form has in all capital letters at its bottom:


I think that's somehow appropriate for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 19, 2008 3:05 PM

Why is he a close adviser to his wife? Is he in politics too? I thought he was a fisherman.

Posted by STLJoy | September 19, 2008 3:18 PM

yeah, thats a real big surprise.
let's see, if you scramble the words subpoena, fuckin' redneck, pregnant and pit bull...

Posted by 4f...sake | September 19, 2008 9:38 PM

This one might have something to it. Could be he's asserting spousal privilege and trying to use it to weasel out of the whole shebang. I hope the investigator and judge throw his ass in jail over it though.

Posted by Ferin | September 19, 2008 10:29 PM

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