Palin's Six-Month+ Delay in
Releasing Official Emails is Inexcusable, Democrats Say
February 02, 2009
The Alaska Democratic Party (ADP) on Friday objected to a request
from Governor Sarah Palin's Office for another two months or
more of additional time to release official emails sent and received
by Governor Palin in 2007 and 2008.
The Alaska Democratic Party's request for the Governor's emails
about specified topics already has been pending more than four
months, since Sept. 22, 2008. The latest request from Linda Perez,
Palin's Administrative Director, to Attorney General Talis Colberg,
asks for an additional extension until March 31. Perez's letter
of Jan. 28 says that she will ask for yet another further extension
"once I have an estimate of the additional time necessary
to provide the records." Under the Public Records Act, public
records are supposed to be provided within 10 working days of
being requested, or as soon as practicable.
"Governor Palin's campaign promises to conduct the State's
business in a transparent and open manner appear meaningless,"
said Alaska Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins. "These
repeated delays are excessive and unwarranted. There is obvious
obfuscation going on here. Sarah Palin is proving herself to
be anti-transparent about her own communications and activities."
An email from David Jones, Senior Assistant Attorney General,
to Perez dated Jan. 28 states that "we have made little
progress" in preparing public records for release. His email
indicated that new software was obtained that was supposed to
enable the Department of Law to number, review and redact the
records electronically, but the department has not been able
to use the new software. "The records are not yet available
to us in a form that will permit us to number, review and as
necessary, redact them," Jones wrote.
It appears that the Office of the Governor and the Attorney General
have lumped in the ADP's straightforward request with more complex
requests from other entities involving private mailboxes, and
thus the State has not dealt with the ADP's request in compliance
with the statute and regulations. Just because the State is not
able to fulfill other requests without an extensive search does
not mean that the State is relieved of the obligation to provide
accessible records in a timely manner to the ADP.
The state informed the ADP in earlier correspondence that its
request would require a search of the state mailboxes of 51 separate
individuals. Complying with the ADP's records request requires
searching only the email of Governor Sarah Palin, Higgins said.
The emails sought could have been identified with simple search
commands, and the records sought should have been produced by
now, Higgins said.
"We trust that the Attorney General will not make another
biased decision for the benefit of the Governor, but rather will
act to protect the interests of Alaskans who have a legal right
to obtain public records," Higgins said.
Extension request letter from Linda
Perez, Palin's Administrative Director, to Attorney General Talis
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