Appeal Filed in the Case of Sarah Palin’s Secret Emails

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Days ago, Mother Jones reported that Governor Sarah Palin’s office withheld about 1100 emails in response to an open records act request filed in June and claimed that these emails to and from Palin aides and the governor herself covered confidential and official policy deliberations between Palin and her staffers. But the list (PDF) of the undisclosed emails indicates that many had subject lines suggesting they were not about policy matters. (A series of emails referred to one of Palin’s political foes, another set to a well-known Alaskan journalist.) And many of the emails were CC’ed to Todd Palin, the governor’s husband, who holds no official position in her administration. On Tuesday, Andrée McLeod, the independent watchdog who filed the original request, submitted an appeal (PDF), asking Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, to review the decision to keep these emails secret. Here is the statement McLeod issued afterward:

September 9, 2008, Anchorage, Alaska—Andrée McLeod, a registered Republican and well-known citizen watchdog filed an administrative appeal in which Ms. McLeod requested Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to review the decision to withhold or redact over 1,100 public records in violation of the Alaska Public Records Act. The records document the day-to-day operation of the Governor’s Office and members of her administration during Sarah Palin’s tenure as governor.

“The people of Alaska have a right to know the inner workings of their government. They have a right to know how the individuals they elect to public office are discharging the public trust,” McLeod said. “The decision to hide documents to which state law allows citizens to have access suggests that Governor Palin’s promise to have a transparent administration is bogus.”

“Equally troubling,” said Donald Mitchell, the Anchorage attorney who is representing Ms. McLeod, “is the fact that the records that have been provided to Ms. McLeod document that for the past two years Governor Palin has allowed her husband, Todd Palin, to compromise governmental decision-making by inserting himself whenever he chooses to do so into the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Governor.”

Documents received in response to a public records request by McLeod contained logs of undisclosed emails and thousands of e-mails assigned to Palin administration appointees Frank Bailey and Ivy Frye. The logs and redacted e-mails are the basis of this administrative appeal.

“Keeping government communications secret is not being a ‘champion of transparent government’ and fails to meet Governor Palin’s promises that she established and ran on,” McLeod says. “What is Sarah Palin hiding?”

Will Palin get to this review before Election Day—if at all?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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