Commentary: Report gives Palin benefit of the doubt

November 7, 2008 

This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.

Alaskans now have dueling perspectives on Gov. Sarah Palin's handling of Troopergate. The state personnel board's investigator, Tim Petumenos, says she didn't violate the state ethics law; the legislature's investigator Steve Branchflower concluded that she did.

Gov. Palin won't face any sanctions from the personnel board, but the Legislature is free to follow up its findings in January in any way it sees fit.

Alaskans would benefit if the Legislature arranged a public forum where the two drastically different accounts are debated and tested. It would help Alaskans make sense of the two investigators' conflicting views of state ethics law and the available evidence.

Petumenos interpreted the law and his evidence in a way highly favorable to Gov. Palin; Branchflower was far less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

In fact, Petumenos' analysis reads as if it could have been written by the governor's own defense lawyer. His exoneration of Palin was conveniently released just a day before voters nationwide decided on her bid for the vice-presidency.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.

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