Sarah Palin aide Frank Bailey, whose story was published in the tell-all book Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin (Frank Bailey, Ken Morris, Jeanne Devon - Simon & Schuster) has agreed to pay $11,900 in civil penalties to the state of Alaska for publishing revelatory emails he retained from his time working for the State of Alaska as a senior aide under Palin.
From the Alaska Dispatch:
The book, "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin," was published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Largely centered around Bailey's time as Palin's trusted adviser, its narrative relies heavily on emails sent between Bailey and Palin.
There have been at least a few books written about Palin's time as governor, but none as intimate -- because of those emails and because of Bailey's close relationship to Palin-- as "Blind Allegiance."
The payment of the fine was in response to an ethics complaint filed against Bailey by Palin watchdog and nemesis, Andree McLeod. McLeod had previously filed numerous ethics complaints against Palin. This complaint against Bailey alleged that he had shared and profited from confidential state emails in violation of ethics law.
I, along with the Associated Press, Mother Jones, MSNBC, and others submitted legitimate public records requests in the fall of 2008," McLeod wrote her Sept. 7, 2010, complaint. "After 2 years and more than a dozen extensions, we are still waiting for Palin's email documents to be made public. Yet, it seems that a former Palin aide and two others who remain anonymous have free access to Palin's emails ... all because Bailey worked for her in the governor's office.
The "two others," McLeod referenced no longer remain anonymous. Bailey shared his emails with co-authors Ken Morris and myself. These emails were sent and received by Bailey on private Yahoo! accounts which he himself created, admittedly at the time to allow communications in the Palin administration to remain off the radar, and not subject to public records requests. An Alaska court unbelievably ruled that the emails on these Yahoo! accounts were legal and not subject to public records laws.
Regardless of this decision, the State of Alaska has had these Yahoo! emails from the Palin administration in its possession for years now. Bailey turned all the records over to Palin's attorney Thomas Van Flein, and to the State, but the state has thus far refused to make any of these emails available to the public.
These emails, which corroborate first-hand accounts in the book, contain critical information, solidifying evidence that Palin broke campaign finance law by coordinating with the Republican Governor's Association, then headed by current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. They revealed the extreme measures to which the Pain administration went to exact revenge for perceived personal slights by private citizens, political enemies, and also by Palin's former brother-in-law Mike Wooten in what became the scandal known as "Troopergate."
In addition, the more than 60,000 emails reviewed by the three authors, many of which were revealed in the pages of Blind Allegiance, paint a sobering and frightening portrait of a woman who has been considered at times a strong possible candidate for President of the United States, and who is utterly emotionally unfit to lead. Even now, with the astonishingly weak and unstable GOP field of candidates, there is talk of Palin "making her move" at a brokered convention.
It is for these very reasons that transparency in government is so critical. Timely dissemination of information which can inform the media and the public about former elected leaders who presume to drive the political conversation of the times, and perhaps even to seek the highest office in the land, should be requisite. It continues to be inexcusable and, frankly, audacious that the State of Alaska, and Governor Sean Parnell (Palin's former Lieutenant Governor) continue to withhold this information, yet inflict penalties on an individual with the courage to come forward at great personal risk to share that information in the public sphere.
Co-author Ken Morris stated today:
From my perspective, this story is far from over. The actions initiated by the state of Alaska do not, I believe, serve the interests of justice. To the contrary, this judgment is (in my opinion) the antithesis of what sound government should do for its citizens. Individuals who speak to the truth ought not be quashed, but nurtured. A democracy demands transparency not suppression. As his co-author, I know for a fact that Frank Bailey's efforts took courage and his contribution to unmasking the fraud that was Alaska's half-governor are praise-worthy. After three years of collaboration, I stand proud to have contributed and am equally proud to be Mr. Bailey's dear friend.
Frank Bailey, who did not respond to the original story in the Anchorage Daily News, has now released the following statement.
In August of 2009, after an incident involving my former boss and the Alaska Family Council, I decided that my story needed to be shared. I knew it would be a tough row to hoe, not only writing it, but sharing the full truth, and backing it up with fact. There were thousands of emails in my personal accounts that, if not shared, would give fodder to those eager to dismiss the story as false. After 19 months of diligence, expert research, attorney consultation, and thousands of hours by skilled co-authors, Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin was born.
Blind Allegiance shook people. Readers across the country and the world commented. Conservatives and liberals alike thanked us for the work of getting the story out, and backing it up with hard evidence. Palin herself, unable to dispute the facts of the book, took to the airwaves along with a small group of supporters, attacking the messenger. On an August drive home from Eagle, Alaska, I described the counting of that cost. I knew the price of staying silent and allowing her to rise to power without the truth ever coming to light, was far greater than the predictable responses of her supporters.
While we spent countless attorney hours, and the writing team went to great lengths to do our due diligence, the chances of failing to redact materials the State of Alaska deemed confidential, were high. Despite my best efforts, two items were left in the book that the State did not want published. For that, I am sorry. It was not my intention to do so and it was unfortunate that it happened. The State also deemed it against ethics rules that I shared my own personal emails with my co-authors. Because of both issues I paid a settlement to the State in the amount of $11,900.
For the many, many people who read Blind Allegiance with an open mind, and later shared how you could not put it down, thank you for your discerning spirit. I hope that all of those who passionately involve themselves in the causes they believe in, learn from my mistakes and keep their core beliefs solidly in front of them as they fight for what they believe.
Ken Morris and I will continue to share information regarding this situation over the coming days. Check back for more in-depth coverage of the State of Alaska's handling of the situation, and additional perspective from the co-authors.