Alaska's 'First Dude' active in state business
Todd Palin, the husband of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), has taken an extremely active role in state business, drawing criticism from some voters, Democrats and at least one Native leader.

Palin regularly contacts lawmakers and government officials to discuss a wide range of issues. He often receives copies of e-mails sent to his wife about state matters.

A spokesperson for Sen. John McCain, who chose the governor as his running mate, says Palin's role is not unusual as a spouse of a governor. But Palin's interest has gotten him into legal hot water as part of a probe over the firing of the state's public safety commissioner.

Palin refused to testify about the firing of Walt Monegan, the first Alaska Native to hold the job, despite being subpoenaed by state lawmakers. Palin, who is also Native, contacted Monegan several times to discuss a state trooper who was married to his wife's sister.

McCain supporters have touted Palin's Native roots but his heritage doesn't appear to have brought about any major changes in the state's tumultuous relationship with Alaska Natives. State Republicans have long refused to accept the federal status of the more than 200 tribes in the state and they funded lengthy battles against Native subsistence rights.

"If she is truly honored that her husband has Native ancestry, she would not be attacking Native Alaskans," Evon Peter, the director of Native Movement, told The Washinggon Post of Sarah Palin's record.

Last year, the governor appointed a Native subsistence rights opponent to an important state board. She relented only after Native groups complained. A Native person was appointed instead.

After firing Monegan, the governor appointed someone who was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint. That candidate withdrew amid controversy and she ended up appointing a Native person to the post.

Get the Story:
'First Dude' Todd Palin Illustrates Alaska's Blend of Private and Public (The Washington Post 9/22)

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