The state of Alaska released the last emails in the most recent Sarah Palin message dump Wednesday, concluding one of media history's most anti-climatic moments.
About 30 days of emails, 54 pages in all, had not been included with the rest of the roughly 24,000 pages that spanned Palin's time as governor until September 2008.
Much like the rest of the earlier email dump, there was barely any there, there. Perhaps this is because the emails were heavily redacted. (There’s one black page that is appears to be a letter to Alaskans, signed by Sarah Palin). Or perhaps it’s because Palin was, in the beginning at least, what she always claimed to be: a small town mayor from Wasilla who often talked about the need for transparency in government and regularly reached out to engage members of the media in the discussion.
It also could be that much of her most interesting correspondence took place far away from official state email addresses.
In any case, the tendency to withdraw and rely on a few select confidants was apparent in one surprisingly un-redacted email, where she was obviously upset with John Bitney, her new legislative liaison and former Wasilla High School classmate. In an email to Bruce Anders, who worked for the Department of Natural Resources and was on her gas line team, she took Bitney to task for talking about candidates for attorney general. In response to a long, redacted email from him, Palin wrote on December 12, 2006:
"I’m very disappointed that Bitney continues to speak of candidates when I’m not ready for those candidates’ names to be discussed yet. I am finding my circle of confidants to be shrinking daily."
The email was sent only a week after her inauguration. Palin would fire Bitney about seven months later, after he began dating the soon to be ex-wife of Todd Palin's good friend.
In another email on that same day, she wrote about what she would like to see for her attorney general.
“All I have been looking for is a good legal mind, someone totally committed to ethical government, a less political, unpretentious long-time Alaskan who is free from the influence of any of the 'more of the same' circles running in Juneau.”
The next day it was announced that Palin tapped Talis Colberg, a Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly member -- a near completely unknown name in Alaska's political circles. He had no obvious experience in oil and gas cases or criminal law.
On Feb. 9, 2009, about three months back in Alaska after Palin's run for vice president, Colberg submitted his resignation letter. Colberg had been grilled in public and sharply criticized by state legislators for trying to kill subpoenas ordering Palin aides to testify in Troopergate, the inquiry over the firing of Walt Monegan as public safety commissioner.
Contact Amanda Coyne at amanda(at)alaskadispatch.com