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Sarah Palin emails: Alaska set to release new trove of documents from Palin's governorship

June 09, 2011|By Matea Gold
(AFP / Getty Images )

The state of Alaska is expected to release more than 24,000 pages worth of emails from Sarah Palin's tenure as governor, more than two years after they were requested by news organizations and local activists.

The Palin emails were originally sought to shed light on the then-little-known running mate of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Their release comes at a very different time -- as Palin, who enjoys near-universal name recognition, is contemplating a White House bid of her own.

The documents will be made available in Juneau in paper form. The Los Angeles Times' Data Desk will scan them and post them online, making each available in a searchable archive.

Readers will have the ability to submit comments and suggestions on the page, or by emailing The Times at documents@latimes.com.

The emails span from the beginning of Palin's term in December 2006 through Sept. 30, 2008, when media outlets originally asked for the materials. Palin remained in office until July 2009, when she abruptly quit with 18 months left in her term, citing her lame-duck status and costly challenges from critics.

The state redacted more than 2,200 pages worth of materials, citing exemptions to public records laws including the privacy provision of the Alaska Constitution, attorney-client privilege, work product privilege and executive and deliberative process privileges.

Alaskan state officials said the large number of emails and technical limitations of the state’s email system caused delays in locating and reviewing the appropriate materials.

One complicating factor: Along with her official state email account, Palin used two personal Yahoo accounts to conduct state business. Included in the release are emails from her personal accounts if they were sent from or received by official state accounts.

Another challenge: The state said it was unable to create an electronic copy of the materials and had to manually print out each email.

The office of Palin's successor and former running mate, Gov. Sean Parnell, originally estimated that it could cost the state millions of dollars to identify the correct emails, subject them to review by attorneys and copy them. In the end, each requester was charged $725.97 in copying fees, at three cents a page.

The Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau submitted a public records request this spring for all emails Palin sent or received during her tenure as governor. The state has yet to respond when it will provide Palin's emails from after Sept. 30, 2008.

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