Actually, it is all in the family, except when it extends to the governor’s office.

In Alaska they are calling it Troopergate. For several years Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, were trying to get their former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, fired as a state trooper. It began before her 20-month term as governor. The case was investigated, a 10-day suspension (later reduced to five) was put in place and in 2006, Wooten was kept on as a trooper.

A messy divorce, a custody fight, and the Palins were not satisfied.

Here is where it gets really messy. Palin appoints Walt Monegan to a Cabinet-level position as commissioner of public safety in Alaska. As a former head of Anchorage’s police force, he is well respected and ready be the chief of the state’s law enforcement arm. Shortly after becoming governor in December, Palin first raised the issue of Wooten with Monegan. She raised it again in January of 2007 and in February. Monegan checked on the procedures that were followed on the investigation and told Palin and her husband that there really was nothing more he could do.

Over 24 calls were placed to Monegan and others from members of Palin’s staff, and at least one was tape recorded. At least three top staffers were involved. According to Monegan, he received two or three e-mails directly from Palin.

Problem is, Palin denies pressuring Monegan. She denies knowing about the calls. She denies the conversations. She denies knowing of her husband’s constant involvement. Please.

Prior to becoming governor, she now admits that she and her husband hired a private investigator to go after Mike Wooten.

But, after nothing was done to fire her former brother-in-law, she fires Walt Monegan this July, because she “wants to go in another direction.”

Monegan blows the whistle and now there is a full-fledged state investigation into the matter and into whether Gov. Palin is lying about her involvement and lying about why she fired Monegan. And, of course, using her public office and pressuring state officials on a private matter is no day at the beach either.

Anchorage Daily News reporter Lisa Demer covered this unfolding Troopergate saga in a lengthy article on August 30. The sad part is that no one vetting Gov. Palin called Walt Monegan. And the McCain camp will not divulge who was called and what information they had in the course of their rash, politically charged pick. They appear to have taken her word for the whole affair. Dangerous. Scary. Risky.

Maybe they figured that since the deadline for the investigation is October 31 they could ride this out. Very dangerous. Very scary. Very risky.

Something smells and it isn’t Alaska’s salmon or halibut.