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By Anne Sutton | The Associated Press

State lawmakers on Wednesday said they don't plan to pursue abuse of power findings against Gov. Sarah Palin, but they do want to know why their subpoenas were ignored in last fall's Troopergate investigation.

Some are steamed that possible witnesses, including several of Palin's top aides, snubbed a September legislative hearing into Palin's firing of her public safety director Walt Monegan.

They want to talk to Attorney General Talis Colberg about why the witnesses didn't show.

"Did he tell them not to answer the subpoenas? It concerns me that if we let it go, next time we try to subpoena people, they'll think there's no authority there," said House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.

Colberg and Palin did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

The Legislative Council last year, in an unanimous bipartisan vote, ordered an investigation into Monegan's firing, and Palin agreed to cooperate - until she was named John McCain's running mate.

Palin - through her campaign - accused lawmakers of manipulating the probe to be potentially damaging ahead of the November election.

Palin said she would cooperate only with a separate probe by the Alaska State Personnel Board.

Meanwhile Colberg, a Republican appointed by Palin, filed a lawsuit challenging the subpoenas issued in the legislative probe. He claimed the Senate Judiciary Committee had no jurisdiction to issue them and questioned whether the Legislative Council had the authority to begin a probe.

At the time, Colberg said he advised the state employees to either show up and testify or don't and join the lawsuit, which was ultimately dismissed by a judge.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, could hold hearings as early as next week.

"My own interest is in examination of the process and the relationship of the Attorney General: whether he works for the citizens of Alaska, the governor or the people whom he advised to ignore subpoenas issued by the Legislature," Ramras said.

He asked committee member and attorney Lindsey Holmes, D-Anchorage, to look into whether Colberg could refuse to testify, claiming attorney-client privilege.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French, D-Anchorage, said the Senate is still discussing whether to hold hearings.

The 14 people who were subpoenaed did ultimately testify or provide written statements, "which was good but doesn't undo fact that you were ordered to show up and didn't," French said.

State statute provides for fines and a maximum of six months in jail for contempt of legislative subpoenas, but French said the statute is rarely used.

The Troopergate investigation was looking into whether Palin and others pressured Monegan to fire a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce with Palin's sister, and then fired Monegan when he wouldn't dismiss the trooper.

Palin maintains that Monegan was ousted over budget disagreements.

Special counsel Stephen Branchflower found that Palin had abused her office but the firing was legal since Monegan was an at-will employee.

A subsequent investigation by the Alaska State Personnel Board found there was no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act.

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