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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.


Related Information:

Extension request letter from Linda Perez, Palin's Administrative Director, to Attorney General Talis Colberg pdf

Source of News:

Alaska Democratic Party (ADP)


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