Ex-Palin aide is complying with state on emails, attorney says

Sean Cockerham | Tribune Media Services

The lawyer for former Sarah Palin aide and author Frank Bailey said Tuesday that Bailey is fully cooperating with the state's investigation into how he put together his upcoming "expose" of Palin.

"Mr. Bailey has complied with all requests from the Attorney General's office and his actions are within the boundaries of his legal rights," attorney Kevin Clarkson said in an emailed statement.

He said the ethics complaint filed against Bailey by Anchorage activist Andree McLeod is as "baseless as the countless other complaints she has leveled against other individuals, including Governor Palin, since she was turned away from employment within that Administration."

Bailey, along with co-authors Ken Morris and Jeanne Devon of the Anchorage website Mudflats, is to release his book, "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin," on May 24. Bailey joined Palin's 2006 campaign for governor and was among her closest aides when she was in office.

Bailey has said his book was put together with the help of more than 60,000 emails he sent or received while working for Palin. McLeod, who filed the ethics complaint against Bailey in September, says he can't use unreleased state records to cash in.

The Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act says former public officials can't use information acquired in the course of their work for personal gain if the information hasn't been publicly disseminated.

Bailey's lawyer said Tuesday that provision is meant for different situations, such as when an official learns the state will build a road to a piece of property and then leaves state employment and buys and develops that property. The emails don't have inherent value, he argued.

"The value that exists in Mr. Bailey's book comes not from the emails, but from his personal recollections of events that transpired within the Palin Administration ... the emails simply serve to refresh Mr. Bailey's recollections as he writes of events, and also as proof of his recollections," he said.

He said the First Amendment protects Bailey's right to pen a book about Palin.

McLeod has been asking the attorney general for months about what's being done with her ethics complaint against Bailey. Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton Walsh responded to her on Friday. Among the issues, Paton Walsh said, are whether Bailey has possession of official state emails that are no longer in state archives.

Bailey attorney Clarkson said Tuesday that, in response to requests from the attorney general's office, Bailey took care to make sure everything was legal.

"Mr. Bailey provided his manuscript to the attorney general's office, along with copies of the emails referenced in the manuscript, for review and approval prior to submitting the final manuscript to his publisher," Clarkson said.

He said Bailey removed from his book references to a few emails that the state felt were privileged information or confidential.

"In addition, Mr. Bailey is making available to the state any and all of his personal email accounts that might possibly contain 'state records,' " Clarkson said in an email.

McLeod responded that Bailey should have released his full trove of emails back in 2008, when Palin was being investigated over whether she used her office to punish a state trooper who was once married to her sister.

"Instead, Bailey is only now producing the emails ... to make a profit?" McLeod said. "That's absolutely immoral, unlawful and just plain wrong."

McLeod, Bailey and Clarkson are all longtime players in the Palin drama.

McLeod's extensive ethics complaints included one in 2008 aimed at both Palin and Bailey for using influence to win a state job for a campaign supporter. The investigator concluded Palin didn't do anything wrong but recommended ethics training for Bailey.

Clarkson represented five Republican state legislators who unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to stop the Legislative Council's investigation of Palin over the "Troopergate" affair when she was the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008.

Clarkson said Tuesday that the attorney general's office has minor concerns that Bailey shared with co-authors Morris and Devon a few emails considered privileged and pulled from the book. "But the vast bulk of Andree McLeod's ethics complaint is baseless and will be disposed of as such," he said.

Reach Sean Cockerham at scockerham@adn.com or 257-4344.

More Sarah Palin coverage