Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alaska's Strangely Selective Release of Last Palin emails Draws Strong Reaction from Andrée McLeod

Earlier Thursday, the state of Alaska seems to have released the last batch of Palin emails solely to The Associated Press:

JUNEAU -- Sarah Palin's final months in office saw her fighting for a signature accomplishment of her tenure as Alaska governor -- a natural gas pipeline project -- and frustrated over a series of ethics complaints that had been filed against her, according to emails released Thursday by state officials.

All articles published nationwide so far are  based on the AP story's very limited information.

Muckraker Andrée McLeod, who was one of the first to file a request for the records is miffed.  It is understandable, given the hard time - to the point of being base, craven government conduct - the Parnell Administration gave her when it released the first batch back in June 2011.

Here's Ms. McLeod's letter on this to the legislature:
To Alaska legislators:
I am ashamed and embarrassed for our great state that the releases of official documents have been handled in such a tawdry manner by the Palin and Parnell administrations…and took nearly 3 years! 

This latest release smacks of cronyism, as the Associated Press received them before others.  Parnell and his staff’s disregard for this citizen requestor leaves no doubt that he’s pettier in nature than imaginable.   

What will you do about it?

When will you raise the standards and fix our broken public records laws?

For starters, when will you prohibit the use of private email accounts and networks for official business?

Andrée McLeod
David Corn at Mother Jones, one of the very first to ask for this correspondence, defending McLeod, has written:
The state turned over 34,820 pages of email only to the Associated Press (withholding almost 1000 emails). This dump also included emails supposedly inadvertently left out of the initial release. I and the other requesters—including, the Anchorage Daily News, the Washington Post, and CNN—should have been informed of the release and provided copies of the material. But we've been frozen out.

This development is particularly curious, given that prior to the original release, the state of Alaska devoted much time to discussing all the details of that release with all the requesters. It was a rather elaborate process that entailed—to the state's credit—much communication and coordination. This time, the state has improperly just handed the emails to the AP, without any interaction with the other requesters. This is a selective release and certainly not in keeping with the spirit, if not the actual dictates, of Alaska's open records act. 

Andrée McLeod, a citizen watchdog in Alaska who has long pursued Palin records, fired off an angry email to Governor Sean Parnell (who served as Palin's lieutenant governor), state Attorney General Michael Geraghty, and Randall Ruaro, who handles public records requests within the governor's office. It says:
Why was I not notified that the emails were available for release in response to my records request?
It is absolutely unfathomable that you have released the emails in such a disparate manner solely to the Associated Press, before anyone else.
This is totally egregious and smacks of cronyism.
I've sent my own note to these officials:
As the original requester, I am quite surprised I received absolutely no notice of the release of this second batch of Palin emails—especially after all the coordination that went into the initial release. This strikes me as a selective release. Like other requesters, I would like an explanation as soon as possible.
Palin is not much in the news these days, but it's not up to the state of Alaska to decide to whom to release these records. This move has a fishy smell to it.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the State is being run by the Mafia.

George said...

obvious that the admin. doesn't care about law, reporters or anything but just getting rid of this whole mess. kinda surprised that AM is surprised by this