Alaska Politics Blog

This is the place to talk about Alaska politics, state, local, national. Public life in the Last Frontier has rarely been more interesting -- a full slate of federal and state elections, the influence of former Gov. Sarah Palin, the usual hardball Alaska politics. Come here for news, tidbits and information, and join the discussion. We encourage lively debate, but please keep it civil and stay on point. Don't use profanity, make crude comments or attack other posters. Posts that violate the Terms of Use will be deleted. Repeat offenders will lose their ability to post comments.

New Senate organization announced - 11/7/2012 12:48 pm

Homer Revealed - 8/22/2012 2:08 pm

Seven-day countdown - 5/25/2012 8:37 pm

Anchorage city clerk resigns (UPDATED) - 5/23/2012 10:51 am

Gara to seek re-election - 5/2/2012 2:04 pm

For one lawmaker: Good news - 4/27/2012 12:20 pm

Anticipation in the Capitol - 4/26/2012 11:38 am

Election Commission finds 1/2 of precincts ran out of ballots; recommends no investigation - 4/25/2012 5:08 pm

Palin emails released (With updates through the day)

(AP/Brian Wallace)(AP/Brian Wallace)

NOTE: We've posted the entire volume of 24,199 emails that Sarah Palin sent or received as governor in a series of large, downloadable files you can read here. The New York Times and msnbc.com have also made the emails available on their websites.

The state released the emails today as printed pages. The records begin when Palin took office in December 2006 and run through the fall of 2008, when she was a candidate for vice president (and media organizations requested them).

We've posted a who's who in the emails and want to hear what you're finding interesting. Email us at emails@adn.com with the details.

Daily News reporters reviewed a sampling of the emails throughout the day. Our notes:


Sarah, it's Lance

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage, 11:30 a.m., Saturday --

From: Lance Mackey
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:59 PM
To: Governor Sarah Palin
Subject: RE: Other
Iditarod is closing in and still wondering if you are interested in riding my 2nd sled out of Anchorage?
The other option is an Iditarider which rides in the sled but is chosen by the highest bidder.all proceeds go to Iditarod. Please let us know ASAP and we can get into specifics or I can choose some one other than yourself If you are unable.
Lance

From: Governor Sarah Palin (GOV sponsored)
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 6:11 AM
To: Lance Mackey
Subject: RE: Other
Thank you for writing to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The concerns, opinions, and/or information you have sent are important and valuable to the Governor. Although she is unable to respond to each and every email herself, your message has been received and is being reviewed by the appropriate staff person in this office who can best address your need, suggestion, or comment.


"Play Tina Fey"

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage, 6:45 p.m. --

Pat Galvin to Palin on Sept. 16: Subject: "Tina Fey."

"My suggestion is you offer to go on SNL and play Tina Fey, and you interview her as she plays you," Galvin says. This advice seems unsolicited.


Haters and well-wishers

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage, 6:45 p.m. --

I've been going through the very last emails of the bunch, from the fall of 2008. This is post-fame Palin, and the messages reveal a little about what life was like in the governor's office after Palin had become a political rock star.

Haters and well-wishers e-mailed the official governor's account, seemingly in equal measure. Some called for Palin to be shot from a plane like an Alaska wolf. A Juneau woman decried the first dude's increasing role in state government. Others asked Palin to support charity runs or hold fund-raisers in their home states.

-- On Sept. 20, someone claiming to be a Wikipedia editor asked for a high-quality photo of Palin. The governor's office turned him down. "Any request that is any way campaign or partisan-related must be directed to the appropriate campaign," wrote communications director Kate Morgan.

-- On Sept. 17, Mike Nizich e-mailed to say that Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, hoped to met Palin the following month in Dallas.

-- On Sept. 15, a woman from Utah writes to say that she's an old aquaintance. Their kids used to go to elementary school together at Iditarod Elementary. Plus, like Track, her son is in the military. The woman's 17-year-old daughter "finds herself in the same predicament as Bristol."

"I hope you don’t mind if I feel I can (identify) with you in some small way," she writes.

-- On Sept. 15, Pat Galvin writes that the national media have suddenly discovered AGIA "and they WANT it to be wrong somehow."

"First, the New York Times wrote that the gasline is no sure thing, quoting Bert and Lyda as recent converts against it ("We're shocked that TC demands $500 million from the statel"), acting as if you had said the gas was practically flowing right now. Recently, we hear that a Newsweek reporter wants to "blow the lid" oli' the real story that everybody knows we'll never get through Canada, and AGIA was all a ruse to get you to the White House."

"Holy cow," Palin replies the next morning. "Thank you guys for continuing to get the truth out! And Meg can help."

-- On Sept. 12, Barbara Dewberry of Dallas, Texas, writes that she was visiting Alaska and overheard Jay Ramras talking about Palin at the Snow City Cafe. "We said hello and asked if you were in town and that we loved you - wanted you to come to TX. He said you were not
smart and were dangerous."


What's NOT being released

From David Hulen in Anchorage, 1:25 p.m. --

Hundreds of Palin emails are not being released, with various reasons cited by the state. Here are spreadsheets of what were withheld or redacted posted by msnbc.com. It's a big file.


Palin on Don Young: "I don't want to get chewed out by him yet again again"

From Richard Mauer in Anchorage, 12:20 pm. --

Here's an email that touches on Sarah Palin's difficult relationship with Rep. Don Young and her apparent weakness in dealing with him.

On Sept. 16, 2008, about three weeks after she was selected as John McCain's running mate. Chief of staff Mike Nizich tells Palin that Young wants a call from her. Palin responds: "Pls find out what it's about. I don't want to get chewed out by him yet again again, I'm not up for that."


Ghost-writing letter to editor

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchroage, 11:35 a.m. --

In another example Palin’s effort to counter-punch criticism in the media, she ghost-wrote a letter to the editor – quoting herself – that would reply to a complaint that Palin had failed to appear at the 2008 Miss Alaska pageant.

In the July 26th, 2008 note to Frank Bailey, Kris Perry and Rosanne Hughes, Palin drafted a letter to the paper and asks her aides to find someone to send it to the Daily News under his or her name:

Palin writes:

“I’m looking for someone to correct the letter writer’s goofy comments, but don’t want the letter to ADN in response to come from me.”

Palin then provides her aides a draft of the letter:

“Dear Editor: To address Judi Spry’s Anchorage Daily News letter-to the editor on July 26 asking where the governor was during this year’s Miss Alaska Pageant:
First, when I asked Gov. Palin if she was ever Miss Alaska (as Ms. Spry stated), our Governor replied, “Nope, a mere “Miss Congeniality”, one of the runner-up sashes, and much-needed college scholarships were my wins as a participant in that scholarship program, about 100 years ago it seems now.’”

Palin tells her staff she wants the letter to argue that she didn’t blow off the pageant because of a “lack of support” for the event, but in order to keep a commitment to travel to Fairbanks to meet with U.S. Congressmen who were touring ANWR.

Palin aide Ivy Frye replied to the e-mail later that day, suggesting Palin friend Kristan Cole could send the letter.

“Kristan Cole would be perfect as she knows the pageant world but also she knows how busy you and Todd are. I’ll touch base w her today, and Frank too to make sure we’re sending variations and not duplicates of this letter,” Frye wrote.

“Also, we’re rallying the troops re: letters for dps and agia. Phil Schneider’s should run this wkend,” Frye added.

A few days later, on Aug. 2, a letter appeared in the paper attributed to Hughes, Palin's director of "external communications." It paraphrased some of the same points that Palin made in her e-mail, but did not include the quote.


Palin on blog commenter: "Our security guys should check into her..."

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau, 11:10 a.m. --

Palin seemed to be particularly sensitive to the comments posted on the Anchorage Daily News politics blog, at one point asking that her security team check out one of the most critical commentators.

Palin wrote her staff on July 9, 2008 about comments posted on the ADN by Sherry Whitstine of Wasilla.

“I think our security guys should check into her because the times she’s blogged about Todd’s schedule and what we drive have really infringed on our privacy rights and potential safety when psychos know when Todd’s out of town,” she wrote.


Where to read the emails as they're posted

From David Hulen in Anchorage, 10:30 a.m. --

In addition to the links I posted earlier below, msnbc,.com now has a searchable archive of 500+ pages (out of 24,199) up online.

The Washington Post has posted a searchable PDF of roughly the first two months of Palin's governorship - December 2006 through most of February 2007.

Again, we want to hear from you about you're finding interesting as you read through these. Email us at emails@adn.com with the details.


"Now. About the blogs..."

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau, 10: 20 a.m. –

The emails show Palin and her team obsessive about countering criticism of the governor. One example, from April 24, 2008, is an email from Palin communications director Roseanne Hughes to the top members of the governor’s staff.

“Now. About the blogs. As you know, our boss is getting pounded. Let’s take action. TODAY.

Frank and Ivy, if you could get the word out to your contacts – grassroots supporters who love our boss – we need to get them out there FLOODING that Anchorage Daily News Alaska politics blog. I mean FLOODING.

She then offered ideas of what people could say, including “Quoting Newt Gingrich that Governor Palin is one of the most aggressive reformers in the country.”'


Per diem

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau 10:10 a.m. --

Another email string shows Palin chief of staff Mike Nizich giving Palin advice in how to handle the issue of her taking state per diem for nights she spent in her own home.

This email, sent to a personal account of sp@hslak, was from Sept. 11, 2008, as Palin was running for vice president.

It includes talking points like “State of Alaska rented an apartment in Anchorage for Governor Murkowski” and “Governor Murkowski’s travel in 2006 totaled $525,392.”

It also said that Palin prefers to driver herself, “no chauffeur” and that Palin does not travel with an entourage.

“Just some info we have used to counter comments on the per diem issue,” he wrote to Palin.


Tell us what you're finding in the emails

From David Hulen in Anchorage, 10:05 a.m. --

It looks like the New York Times has a partial easily searchable archive of emails up online now. it covers nine days, with new material being added. The Huffington Post also has some emails posted.

Readers: As you're going through the documents, we want to hear what you're finding interesting or newsworthy. Email us at emails@adn.com with as many specifics as possible.

A list of the emails withheld from release has been scanned and posted by msnbc.com. It's a big pdf.


"This is of course ridiculous."

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau, 9:50 a.m. --

I’ve just started going through the 24,199 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails. One, from July 3, 2008, has Palin expressing incredulity that the Daily News is working on a story about the state paying for her daughter, Piper, to come with her to an event in Barrow,

“Huh? Is he writing a story on the First Family’s invitation to attend a native celebration? The state bought one, one-way ticket for only one other member of the First Family (only the return flt,) as not all 7 of us attended of course.

…And we didnt even spend the night so no hotel! And my travel is ¼ what Murk’s was, despite having a large family that’s always invited to all these Alaskan first family events,” Palin wrote her top staffers from her gov.sarah@yahoo.com private email account.

Someone with the email account ftb907@yahoo.com wrote back (might be Palin aide Frank Bailey) Comparing Murki’s travel is key here.

“Also I bet Kris could get Mayor Itta or someone to indicate the desire and/or specific request from the community of Barrow for the whole family This is of course ridiculous. The community of Barrow was elated that you and Piper visited,” the person wrote.


"The emails detail a Governor hard at work. Everyone should read them."
Update, 9: 05 a.m.:

This from the Palin camp:

Statement on email release by Tim Crawford, Sarah PAC Treasurer.

"The thousands upon thousands of emails released today show a very engaged Governor Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state. The emails detail a Governor hard at work. Everyone should read them."


Released

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau, 9:02 a.m. --

We picked up our set of the documents and are headed to the airport. The whole things seems to be going off without a hitch so far.


(ADN/Sean Cockerham)(ADN/Sean Cockerham)

(ADN/Sean Cockerham)(ADN/Sean Cockerham)


Palin emails to be released this morning

Original post:

From Sean Cockerham in Juneau, 7:19 a.m. --

In less than two hours the state will be handing over 24,199 printed pages of emails that Sarah Palin sent or received as governor, a massive trove that has the potential to give insight into how she governed Alaska before vaulting to celebrity.

I’m in Juneau to pick up the boxes of emails being released under public records requests made by more than a dozen media outlets, including the ADN. The document release has attracted intense media attention, with network television crews and reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and other outlets descending on Juneau to pick up their boxes.

Media organizations are recruiting volunteers from the public to help them sort through the enormous stack of emails, and going to convoluted lengths to figure out how to get them all scanned and posted up on their websites ASAP.

We're inviting readers to share what they're finding newsworthy or interesting (or not) as they read the documents later today. Let us know what you're seeing that's interesting at emails@adn.com

It’s not clear just what all this effort is going to reveal. The emails being released cover from when Palin took office at the end of 2006 until the end of September 2008, the heat of the vice presidential campaign. What they don’t cover are the tumultuous final months of Palin’s term, when she returned to Alaska after the McCain-Palin loss until her abrupt resignation in July 2009.

Other records requests have been filed for those emails, the state isn’t saying when they’ll be released.

The state is withholding more than 2,000 pages of Palin’s 2006-2008 emails, having deemed them private, personal or otherwise exempt from Alaska’s public disclosure law. The state’s lawyers made recommendations for what to withhold and the final decision was made by the governor’s office, which includes holdovers from the Palin administration. A set of the emails to be released was also previously sent for review to Palin’s lawyer, John Tiemessen of Fairbanks. The state says the Palin team made no requests to redact or withhold any of those records.

It’s also questionable if the state even has all of Palin’s emails. Palin did state business using her private yahoo account. The state has sought to retrieve those records, but it’s not clear how many of them remain outside of the public’s view.

But with Palin coming off her East Coast bus tour and flirting with the idea of running for president, the interest is enormous in whatever she had to say. For Alaskans, the release also has the potential of giving insight into how their governor and state government did the public’s work.

Our plan is to get our six boxes of emails as soon as they are released and use a hand truck to bring them to the Juneau airport. I’ll start going through them while waiting for the next flight to Anchorage, scheduled to leave at 12:20 p.m.

I’ll try to blog and post photos of what I see, although I’ll only be able to get a taste of what’s in the emails before we need to check the boxes for the flight to Anchorage. Once in Anchorage, though, the plan is to have a local document firm scan them into electronic form so we can post them for the public on adn.com starting later in the afternoon.

We plan to by Saturday have them up in searchable form, allowing readers to narrow their look at the huge email archive into topics, whether they’re interested in how Palin dealt with the oil companies, or what she had to say about specific issues or people during her time as governor.

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