Palin Lawyers Up

PALIN LAWYERS UP.... On Saturday, The American Prospect's Ann Friedman was on CNN, talking about Sarah Palin joining the Republican ticket. During the interview, she noted, "I'm actually less concerned about her lack of experience than I am about the fact that she's already under investigation by her own stage legislature for corruption." CNN's Betty Nguyen dismissed this out of hand, telling Ann, "Let's not blow that out of proportion. It's still an investigation."

Given recent developments, Nguyen and others in the media may want to reconsider the seriousness of the story. We learned yesterday, for example, that the Republicans vice presidential nominee has lawyered up.

Republican John McCain's pick for vice president â€" now has a private lawyer representing her and others in the governor's office in an investigation into the firing of her public safety commissionerIt wasn't immediately clear who hired and who is paying for Thomas Van Flein, who is with a large Alaska law firm.

To be sure, when politicians secure private counsel to help address an ongoing investigation, it's not necessarily indicative of guilt, but it does reflect the seriousness of the probe. (And just as an aside, when was the last time a candidate for national office had to hire a lawyer, during the campaign, to deal with an ongoing scandal?)

On a related note, the investigator is working on scheduling her deposition in the case. She will, in all likelihood, have to take time away from the campaign trail to answer questions, under oath, about her role in this scandal.

And if you're fuzzy on some of the details on this controversy, Josh Marshall had a terrific item over the weekend, summarizing the story to date. He concluded:

We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It's called an abuse of power.... The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened. These are, to put it mildly, not the traits or temperament you want in someone who could hold the executive power of the federal government.

Stay tuned.