Alaska pols ask McCain to apologize for 'troopergate' role

Republican presidential nominee John McCain should apologize for his campaign's personal attacks on the Alaskan at the heart of the 'troopergate' controversy, according two former Alaska legislative leaders.

Former House Speaker Gail Phillips, a Republican, and former Senate President Chancy Croft, a Democrat, on Friday said McCain's campaign representatives made attacks that damaged the reputation of Walt Monegan, Gov. Sarah Palin's fired public safety commissioner.

Palin, McCain's vice presidential running mate, dismissed Monegan in July. At the time, she said she wanted the department to move in a different direction.

Monegan weeks later said his dismissal was tied to his refusal to fire Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten, who was involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Palin's sister. Before Monegan was hired, Wooten had been disciplined for drinking beer in his patrol car, demonstrating a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson and illegally shooting a moose.

An investigator hired by a bipartisan legislative panel concluded that Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired.

Phillips and Croft said that in the run-up to the investigator's report, the McCain campaign disparaged Monegan and tried to kill the investigation.

"It's unconscionable that an outside campaign organization which had no knowledge of the history, background or understanding of an Alaskan issue would come to our State to destroy the reputation and life of a dedicated Alaskan public servant," Phillips and Croft said in a joint statement.

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