The state of Alaska released thousands of pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her tenure as governor on Friday.
More than 24,000 pages, the dispatch comes in response to requests from media organizations, as well as individuals, under the state public records law during the 2008 presidential election. The emails were exchanged from when Palin first took office in December of 2006 through September of 2008. Emails sent by the former governor in the subsequent ten months through her resignation are expected to be disclosed at a later date.
During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" last weekend, Palin said that she's not concerned that the emails being released could produce any damaging revelations.
"I think every rock in the Palin household that could ever be kicked over and uncovered anything, it's already been kicked over," she explained. "I don't think there's anything private in our family now. A lot of those emails obviously weren't meant for public consumption. They are between staff members. They're probably between family members."
The former governor added, "They'll never truly know what the context of each one of the emails was, or each one of the issues were that I was working on that day, or in that time period."
Click here to read the emails released by the state of Alaska. See anything interesting related to the 2008 campaign? Todd Palin? Tell us what you find right here or by emailing us at email@example.com.
06/13/2011 8:45 AM EDT
Hostility Toward Big Oil
The Washington Post reports:
Sarah Palin for the most part hews closely these days to the Republican Party’s political orthodoxy. She says she hates President Obama’s health-care legislation; favors a smaller, less-costly government; stridently opposes abortion; and believes in American exceptionalism.
But on one issue in particular — the party’s long-standing ties to large oil and gas companies that have helped underwrite its attempts to seize and hold power in Washington — the Palin that emerges from e-mails during her Alaska governorship is a definite renegade.
Click here to read more.
06/11/2011 8:46 PM EDT
Weeks Before Veep Nod, Palin Already Tired Of Scrutiny
On July 10, 2008, Palin wrote her inner circle after a reporter filed a public records request for her travel and family expenses:
Remind him of the family travels w me that I have personally pd for, including with mileage. Hopefully our records very clearly show that. Also, my return of every per diem offer for everything related to the kids..and we need to be proactive in this issue with reminding him of all the steps taken to save state monies like no Anchorage apartment...no chef...security down from 7 to 2, whatever-I'm sorry you have to deal w this w the FOIA even, I know I'm tired of it already. It is important to know that probably a week doesn't go by without me asking if all the rules are being followed...
-- Jason Cherkis
06/11/2011 7:07 PM EDT
On April 1, 2008, Palin sent off an email concerned about security lapses at her house, after someone rang her doorbell repeatedly in the middle of the night:
Did the security alarm ever get re-set after you explained to Todd last week that something was wrong with it? And the security camera doesn't show on the tv or home computers anymore. I ask because it's 1:40am and someone's ringing the doorbell again and I can't see who it is without going down there [same thing happened Sunday]. All is fine, but haven't heard if something happened with security camera outdoors.-- Jason Cherkis
06/11/2011 6:25 PM EDT
SarahPAC Wants Your Help
Sarah Palin's political action committee is urging supporters to delve into the thousands of pages of emails released on Friday and help an effort launched by Conservatives4Palin to "gather links from the email database that prove what kind of leader Governor Palin really is."
The media went crazy thinking they were going to find a smoking gun on Governor Palin by forcing the State of Alaska to release 24,199 pages of email communications during her time in office. They were wrong and have admitted as much. After the media spent so much time and effort, they discovered no “bombshells,” which of course they were hoping for all along.... ... The media is cherry-picking small excerpts to highlight, but they are leaving the bulk of the 24,199 pages out of their reports. That’s where you come in…
"We want to show the stuff they aren’t reporting but is still available online," writes Stacy Drake of the media at Conservatives4Palin. "The media wanted to 'expose' what kind of executive Governor Palin was while in office… So, let us oblige them! We need your help collecting and archiving excerpts."
06/11/2011 3:44 PM EDT
More About Moose
If you happen to be one of those big-city, East coast reporters tasked with scouring Palin's emails for mentions of the key players in her 2008 election drama, you've probably noticed the prominence of one iconic Alaskan figure in particular: the Moose.
Throughout these emails, the Moose plods into view again and again, and although it generally maintains a low-profile, limiting its appearances to fleeting cameos in conversations on what Palin refers to as "rural issues," it occasionally it comes clattering onto the eight-lane highway of state and national politics.
Amid the din of the "Troopergate" scandal, for example, a reporter from the Alaska Daily News asked Palin to explain an accusation against her made by the state trooper Mike Wooten, whose acrimonious relationship with the Palin family formed the basis of the affair.
Earlier, Palin's family had accused Wooten, Palin's sister's ex-husband, of shooting a moose illegally. (You may recall that this turned out to be one of the central facts of the case.) Now Wooten was suggesting that Palin's father regularly (and illegally) killed moose and caribou using permits that belonged to Palin and her sister.
"Yep, [that] sounds like something Wooten would say," wrote Palin in a July 2008 email. Scoffing at Wooten's credibility as a witness, she continued, "Wooten has NEVER hunted with me, and except for his illegal moose hunt in question he has never hunted moose or caribou with family."
When Palin wrote those words, the Troopergate scandal had just begun to unfold. Earlier that month, she'd dismissed her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, in a move that would ultimately threaten to destroy her own career.
Remember, the scandal revolved around Monegan's claim that Palin fired him because he refused to sack Wooten, whom she despised. As the scandal developed, Palin repeatedly insisted that she hadn't technically fired Monegan. Rather, she'd offered him a different job –- a job that would have allowed him to concentrate on "rural issues" –- which he'd turned down.
Her defense, in other words, largely rested on her claim that she was deeply concerned about the problems facing Alaska's rural communities, and that it was Monegan's failure to address these problems that led to his dismissal.
But what were those "rural issues", exactly? About a year before he was fired, Monegan forwarded Palin a memo concerning a state police officer, and here again, the Moose rears its antlered head.
According to the memo, the officer had "traveled to the village of Kongiganek to investigate a complaint that several moose had been poached in the area." While looking into the case, "he was confronted by about twenty men from the town and informed that he would not be able to leave the town before attending a town meeting."
Kongiganek is a native village, and it seems that what was at stake here wasn't just the poaching incident but a question of local-versus-state authority. By refusing to let the officer leave, the villagers were asserting their authority over Palin's government.
Much of the material from these emails is redacted, but Palin's response is not. "This has got to be very bright on our radar screen," she wrote, "and I've got to have finding solutions to this type of rural issue as a top priority."
Here, at least, her concern about rural problems appears genuine. Yet there's no indication at this point that she'd begun questioning Monegan's ability to handle these issues. "We have the right people in the right place for such a time as this," she wrote.
-- Saki Knafo
06/11/2011 12:30 PM EDT
Courting McCain, But Not Digging His 'Pro-Environmental' Positions
During the first months of the GOP primary, Palin was not above wanting a little face time with the candidates -- especially top-tier hopefuls Huckabee and McCain. In February, Palin and her aides discussed their attempts to meet with the Arizona senator. In one email, Palin wrote: "He obviously doesn't need Alaska, but it'd still be good to talk to him before too long."
In a subsequent email, she added:
And is there any possibility I could hear from McCain on Alaska's resource development issues? ie. why is he opposed to ANWR oil drilling, why is he hooked up with Lieberman on a few anti-development initiatives?)
If anyone can help me hear from him on that, our state would appreciate it. I'll have a tough time explaining my support for him until I can say I spoke with him about my concerns re: pro-environmental stands he's taking that could hurt Alaska.
-- Jason Cherkis
06/11/2011 12:05 PM EDT
It Was All Newt's Idea
In a Feb. 17, 2008 email, Palin flack Ivy Frye emailed Palin regarding an upcoming speech for her she'd been working on for her. She wrote to say that she had taken an angle from Newt Gingrich:
Incorporated in a draft speech what newt said: good conservatives must declare their independence from the r party and start looking introspectively or R's will continue to fail...Man, you really are the PERFECT person to deliver such a msg!
-- Jason Cherkis
06/11/2011 11:57 AM EDT
Dems Annoyed Palin Team Over Abortion Session
Palin is famously anti-abortion -- she said in 2008 she would oppose it even if one of her daughters was raped -- and pushed for abortion legislation during her time as governor.
Her emails from April 24, 2008, reveal frustration with then-Senate President Lyda Green and other Democrats who opposed Palin's plan to call for a special session to deal with abortion issues. Green criticized Palin for considering for the special session, arguing she should have pushed more for the bills during the regular session, which ended on April 13, 2008.
The state Senate skipped two abortion bills that passed the House during its regular session: one, House Bill 301, that would forbid partial-birth abortions, and another, House Bill 364, that would require women under the age of 17 to get parental consent for an abortion.
Palin's team was frustrated with Green for not bringing up the bills for a vote. After she floated the idea of a special session, Palin emailed Russell Kelly, her legislative director, to find out how lawmakers responded.
"We've heard very little, except from some democrat legislators who were opposed to the abortion bills being added to the call of the special session on AGIA [a natural gas pipeline bill]," Kelly wrote on April 24. "Other random responses were that the letter was well-received among those who are sick of Lyda's games the numbers are MANY."
Palin echoed Kelly's frustration with Green in her response:
Lyda was supposed to call me today between 3-4 between flights, but I never did hear from her. If she does reach me, to chew me out, I'm going to tell her exactly what I think about all this. amazing that Tuckeman and her people succeeded to a degree here on putting the burden on us instead of her being held accountable. We are receiving great criticism by those who are misunderstanding the issue, and the process.
-- Elise Foley
06/11/2011 10:20 AM EDT
'First Dude' Spurs Action
The Los Angeles Times reports on an exchange that offers insight into the role Sarah Palin's husband played in her administration:
Todd Palin sent his wife an email to her personal account July 4, 2008, complaining that the Peter Pan Seafood operation that he provided with salmon out of the Bristol Bay was "plugged up" -- meaning that the processor was at capacity and couldn't handle any more fish. "Way to [sic] early to be on limits," he wrote. "Just venting."
According to the Times, the then-governor passed along her husband's email to her chief of staff at the time. In forwarding the message, she wrote, "This will have to be another mission we get on."
A fisheries policy adviser to Palin provided her and her chief of staff with an update on the matter days later.
06/11/2011 10:01 AM EDT
Palin Received Death Threats In 2008
In the wake of being tapped to be John McCain's running mate in 2008, Sarah Palin received death threats as her presence grew on the political scene.
AFP reports on the revelation:
"She doesn't belong to the NRA (National Rifle Association) to support the right of each citizen to have weapons in an aim of self-defence, but just to support the right of every Southern white citizen to shoot all non-white people legally!" wrote a sender identified as Dominique Villacrouz.
"Sarah Palin MUST BE KILLED," said the email, highlighted by the Los Angeles Times.In another message dated September 12, a resident in Antwerp, Belgium, also called for Palin to be shot, saying that "only on that moment justice will be accomplished," the LA Times said.