By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter, msnbc.com
The long-delayed release of public records in Alaska, 24,199 pages of emails sent between former Gov. Sarah Palin (and her husband) and state officials, will happen in Juneau at 9 a.m. Friday, the Alaska governor's office announced Monday.
News organizations and citizens requested the emails under the state public records law back in 2008, when the relatively unknown Palin burst onto the national scene, and when it became known that she and her staff were using personal Yahoo accounts to conduct state business outside the usual reach of public records requests.
The records to be released include emails that went between the Yahoo accounts of Palin or her husband, Todd Palin, and about 50 top state officials. When one side of those email discussions passed through the state mail computers, it became a public record. (A legal challenge now in the state Supreme Court addresses the broader question of whether all the governor's emails about state business, even if conducted between Yahoo accounts without passing through state computers, should also be considered a public record.)
Soon after the emails are released, msnbc.com plans to scan them and put them online in a public archive, restoring the electronic records to electronic form. This archive will be co-sponsored by Mother Jones magazine, which also requested the documents back in 2008, and with Pro Publica, the nonprofit investigative newsroom. A similar archive was created by msnbc.com for a smaller batch of Todd Palin emails last year. Those emails showed the vigorous role the "First Dude" played in the operation of state government. Here is that archive. In both cases the legal services company Crivella West volunteered its services.