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Sarah Palin emails released to throng of waiting reporters

June 10, 2011|By James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
(Ed Andrieski/ Associated…)

Thousands of records detailing Sarah Palin's tenure as governor of Alaska were released Friday to a waiting throng of journalists at a state office building in the capital of Juneau.

Palin's political action committee issued a statement as the documents were released to the public.

"The thousands upon thousands of emails released today show a very engaged Gov. Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state," said the treasurer of SarahPAC, Tim Crawford. "The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them." 

RELATED: Read the Palin emails

About 30 journalists, along with three TV camera crews, had been crammed into a small space in a state administrative building in Juneau on Friday, waiting for the release of boxes filled with 25,000 printed emails stemming from Palin's tenure as governor.

Nearby, the boxes were stacked up and waiting for representatives of approximately 20 news organizations to grab them and take them from the building in a scene that promised to be fairly chaotic. Each organization was to be given six boxes

"It could be fun," said the Los Angeles Times' Ken Schwencke, who was part of the scrum waiting to rush the room where the boxes were stacked. The state of Alaska is releasing the emails in paper form; several news organizations are scanning them to turn them into electronic, searchable documents.

The Times' Data Desk is one of those scanning the documents and posting 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 run 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.

Alaska 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 Friday's release are emails from her personal accounts if they were sent from or received by official state accounts.

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 concerning whether it will provide Palin's emails from after Sept. 30, 2008.

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