Alaska promises release of Palin emails by May 31

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:18pm EST

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks to reporters at a storage area containing supplies for shelters run by Samaritan's Purse, a charity associated with the ministries of U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, in Cabaret December 12, 2010. REUTERS/Kena Betancur

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks to reporters at a storage area containing supplies for shelters run by Samaritan's Purse, a charity associated with the ministries of U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, in Cabaret December 12, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kena Betancur

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Alaska officials must release by the end of May an estimated 26,500 pages of emails exchanged between former Governor Sarah Palin and her aides, the state's attorney general has determined.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Governor Sean Parnell's administrative director, Alaska Attorney General John Burns said it was his "unequivocal expectation that all requested records that are not privileged will be provided no later than May 31, 2011."

If the records are made public on May 31, the wait for them will have exceeded Palin's 32-month tenure as Alaska's governor.

The email records initially were requested in 2008, while Palin was running for vice president on the Republican ticket, by MSNBC, Mother Jones magazine and Anchorage political activist Andree McLeod. Records sought include communications with Palin's husband, Todd, who has been accused of wielding inappropriate governmental powers.

Normally, state officials must provide requested public records within 10 days under Alaska laws. But the governor's office, during Palin's term and that of her successor, Parnell, has sought and been granted numerous delays from the state Department of Law.

State officials argued that the volume of material was overwhelming and it required scrutiny by experts to determine whether some of the information is legally privileged and should be redacted.

Burns said in his letter to Administrative Director Linda Perez that one last extension was "reasonable" under the circumstances, which include a legislative session competing for state officials' attention and legitimate questions about executive privilege.

"Although further delay clearly is far from desirable, I find that on balance a careful review best serves the public's multiple interests -- including the interests both in a transparent government and in protecting privileged and confidential information from inadvertent disclosure," Burns wrote.

Palin, during her term in office and after she abruptly resigned in July of 2009, has been accused of circumventing state public-records requirements by conducting state business on private email accounts.

She also has been accused of using state government resources to campaign nationally and of using her government position to advance her private and financial interests.

Palin defenders have accused the journalists and McLeod of going on a fishing expedition for damaging information and of imposing an unreasonable workload on state officials.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton)

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Comments (11)
As Ms. McLeod’s “fishing expedition” resulted in the Alaska Public Offices Commission in finding Sarah guilty of breaking campaign finances law, results in a FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE, I think Ms. McLeon caught a record-sized spawning salmon. This is the $500,000 figure Sarah uses that she incurred personally as legal fees to defend herself and started her legal defense fund. It’s the fine, not legal fees. She quit because she knew this law breaking and the above story would come out during her short tenure, which she obviously was able to put off until after the recent elections. This woman is a lawbreaker, guilty of a large offfense, and I wish Reuters would get their story straight.

Jan 27, 2011 7:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
justiceserved wrote:
She wants transparent govt., just not her emails? Can you say hypocrite?

Jan 27, 2011 7:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
grasspress wrote:
“She also has been accused of using state government resources to campaign nationally and of using her government position to advance her private and financial interests.”

sounds like bush and rove. is this typical inside strategy for republicans?

Jan 27, 2011 7:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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