Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Andrée McLeod Presses Forward Against Alaska State Intransigence - and More

Leading Alaska muckraker and community activist, Andrée McLeod, is continuing her efforts to force the State of Alaska to comply with the law regarding emails having to do with the Palin administration:
From: Andree McLeod
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:16 PM
To: ''
Cc: Don C. Mitchell (; ''
Subject: Request for ALL documents RE: Settlement of Ethics Complaint against F. Bailey

Mr. Geraghty.

I hereby request ALL the ‘confidential’ and still undisclosed documents that Frank Bailey confiscated from the state and shared with members of the public, including Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris, since Bailey obviously and admittedly broke the chain of custody of these confidential documents.

Andrée McLeod
Since the story broke Tuesday that ex-Palin aide Frank Bailey had agreed to pay a substantial civil penalty involving emails he has, the story has gained more coverage in the media and on blogs.  Bailey himself has released a 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.
Co-author Ken Morris has released a statement:
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.
 Co-author Jeanne Devon, in a blog entry at The Mudflats, wrote:
 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.
In one approved, moderated comment at The Mudflats, a commenter wrote, regarding McLeod's persistent courage:
I hope McLeod is happy with her pound of flesh. Too bad that pound wasn’t out of Palin’s bloated carcass of ethics violations. Parnell is not much better—bloat-wise. In fact, much of the state government of Alaska is one stinking bloated carcass.

McLeod’s victory puts me in mind of Welsh battle tactics against the English in the 13th century: harry and kill the unlucky schmucks on the fringes of the army (common foot soldiers) whilst the King and his retinue continue unscathed in their mission of conquest and domination. (Yeah, those tactics turned out well; the Prince of Wales hasn’t been Welsh for 700 years.)
The Immoral Minority posted on this late yesterday.  Here's Gryph:
Okay so here's the thing. I understand Andree McLeod's point here, but the facts are we would NEVER have seen those e-mails if Bailey had not put them in that book.

Oh we may have seen bits and pieces, but the majority of them would have been redacted completely out of existence.

You know I tried to get Bailey to release all of the e-mails before the book came out, or even after, and he has refused to discuss to do so, or even discuss it with those who have asked.

I doubt seriously that the state is going to release the next batch of Palin e-mails intact, so the only way to REALLY know what she is hiding is through Bailey. What do you think the chances are NOW that he will risk giving them to the public?

Dammit why is getting the truth out so fucking hard?
I agree in part to what Jesse wrote.  It is important that Bailey release all the emails he took.  However, he and his co-authors manipulated the totality of what was in there, to craft a narrative that has been termed the third Troopergate coverup.

Politicalgates devoted a long post to this development late yesterday.  Patrick wrote:
In order to avoid a misunderstanding, let me just say the following: We are very grateful that Frank Bailey and his co-authors published "Blind Allegiance", as the book provides unique insights into the "real" Sarah Palin. The book didn't get the attention it really deserved - however, the dreadful controversy with Joe McGinness also significantly contributed to the fact that the book was partially ignored.

If Frank Bailey had just handed all the emails over to the State of Alaska, then the Alaskan government would have probably redacted (=censored) a huge number of them. This can still happen, of course. The leaked manuscript and the published book provided us with invaluable information, for example about the fact the Sarah Palin couldn't even prove that she was pregnant while she was supposedly pregnant with Trig - and was also desperate at the same time to find ways to fight the rumours.

Pretty, pretty strange if you supposedly carry a huge baby in your belly, or supposedly gave birth just a few days ago...But the media just ignored all of this, and rather presented the former AP-reporter Steve Quinn as a "crown witness" for the fact that Sarah Palin was indeed pregnant - when in reality Steve Quinn himself was labelled as a "cheerleader" for the Palin administration by Palin's closest staff in the published emails, just to give one example, and also had a love affair with Sarah Palin's top aide Ivy Frye! Needless to say that these facts were ignored by the media as well, which makes Justin Elliott's "definite debunker" in "Salon" the biggest embarrassment ever of this distinguished liberal website. When it comes to Sarah Palin, even liberal journalists are willing without hesitation to ignore facts and reason.

So I can see that Frank Bailey was between a rock and a hard place. It was a difficult choice. My hope is that we will now see all the emails, with only very small redactions, and they should prove very interesting indeed, as Sarah Palin has more secrets than the CIA (almost).
I responded in the comments:
I beg to differ with my good friend Patrick on both the quality of Blind Allegiance and to the reasons - he seems to place a degree of blame on the McGinniss controversy - the book failed. It was hastily and poorly written by a team that never had any chemistry that could make the product into a resonant statement. Additionally, as Geoffrey Dunn so clearly wrote soon after BA came out, it is the third Troopergate coverup.

I applaud comments here and at the post at IM that reach out to Bailey to release all he stole. Maybe he could turn it over to wikileaks for free.

I doubt he will, but we should try to encourage him.

Andree, as always, is one of the few true heroes we have here in Alaska.
Patrick responded:
Phil, it's of course true that the book had flaws, as our friend Geoffrey Dunn also pointed out, but it still had a lot to offer, as it contained damning information, especially emails, which could be found nowhere else. It certainly still served as an eye-opener for many people. In this tiresome, endless fight against the lies and manipulations of Sarah Palin it allowed a rare view on the workings of her very own "spin machine." The authors "blew it" and for example got into an amateurish confrontation with Joe McGinniss and others. My hope now is that some positive result will follow, and that we will see many more emails.
Amanda Coyne, writing for the Alaska Dispatch, concluded:
No matter the explosive material, the book suffered in sales in large part due to the fact that the rough draft of the manuscript was leaked before publication by author Joe McGinniss, who had moved next door to Palin and was also writing a book about her.

This is how the New York Times described McGinniss' book: (D)ated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like 'one resident' and 'a friend.'"
Bailey, Devon and Morris' book didn't fail because of Joe McGinniss.  It failed because it wasn't very good, and because Bailey, on his book tour, was inarticulate, defensive and looked even shadier than Richard Nixon saying "I am NOT a crook."  Who'd want to buy a used book from that guy, let alone a new one?  Interestingly, Coyne's article mentions neither McLeod nor [fails to mention] that bloggers and others are pressuring Bailey to release all the emails.

Richard Mauer at the Anchorage Daily News, who broke this story Tuesday, concludes:
The settlement only generally describes the subject of the confidential information that was published: "Mr. Bailey admits that his published book contains information regarding the appointment of an attorney general that the Office of the Attorney General advised him was confidential prior to publication of the book," the settlement said.

The penalties in the settlement were attributed to three violations: $3,600 for using confidential information in drafting his book; $7,200 for disclosing confidential information to his two co-authors; and $1,100 for publishing confidential information after he was advised it was secret.
McLeod said the penalty against Bailey demonstrates that Palin's administration didn't achieve the reforms it claimed.

"State employees know not to do this -- from commissioners on down to the admin clerk, they know you can't personally benefit form information acquired when you're working for the state. But Palin and her cohorts thought they were above the law, or they didn't give a hoot," she said.

Read more here:
The State needs to relent and grant McLeod's request.  Additionally, Bailey should release what he has held that isn't hurtful to people in any unnecessary ways.


Anonymous said...

What's truly amazing is that so many people are wasting their precious time writing about all of this.

So what ?

Who cares ?

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 6:50,

some people feel that how a state handles important communications in terms of the law is important. some people feel that when a state fails to abide by its own laws on public record disclosure, this is important.

perhaps you don't feel that way.

Anonymous said...

Concurr on the book promotion fail. Awkward appearances, and that's being charitable. It's was a compelling story- why he didn't have a 30 second pitch down is why he couldn't sell what he had. I suspect that this also had a bad influence on the book itself.

Haven't read what leaked, and didn't buy what was published yet.

Q: Would you be willing to name the name that caused the fine? If there is a date and time associated with the name I'd be really pleased. I have been wondering for a while, and now with the latest release I do have a specific question to answer.

I have wondered whether it is an AG or one of the assistant AGs.
In the spirit of open government done on secret non governmental email systems, who was it?