On September 10, 2008, the Washington Post published an article by staff writer Karl Vick regarding Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s refusal to release over 1,100 email, including 40 that were copied to Gov. Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, currently withheld following a public records request by a local Alaskan Republican activist.
Palin had claimed executive privilege for documents copied to her husband, who is not a state employee, in responding to an open records request in June made by Andrée McLeod, an activist in Anchorage. The administrative appeal filed yesterday by McLeod’s attorney, Donald C. Mitchell, argued that by copying Todd Palin on sensitive state correspondence, the governor and her aides shattered the privilege rightly afforded elected officials.
“She has allowed Todd Palin — who has not been elected by the people of Alaska, who is not a state employee — to entangle himself apparently as he sees fit in the operations of the executive branch of the state government,” Mitchell said.
“From the case law, if government voluntarily opens up that internal decision-making to what I would call civilians, then that is waiver of that protection of the government policy decision-making process. That is what happened here, and it happened because Sarah Palin doesn’t understand it,” he said.
Todd Palin was frequently copied on e-mails relating to Alaska State Troopers and the union representing public safety employees, according to McLeod, who received four boxes of redacted e-mails in response to her request. At the time, both Sarah and Todd Palin were complaining to the state public safety commissioner about a disciplinary matter involving Sarah Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper.
Palin also routinely does government business from a Yahoo address, firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than her secure official state e-mail address, according to documents already made public.