State officials released the emails in printed format at Juneau’s Court Plaza Building at 9 a.m., charging $725.97 plus shipping costs per copy -- a significant discount from late 2008, when the Palin administration quoted a cost of $15 million per copy.
Media outlets from across the nation descended on Juneau to receive their copies of the messages, with the Associated Press, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and MSNBC all sending crews to sift through their contents.
In a statement released Friday Tim Crawford, the treasurer of Palin's political action committee SarahPAC, told MSNBC he was confident about the emails' content.
"The thousands upon thousands of emails released today show a very engaged Gov. Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state," Crawford said. "The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them."
Palin kept a close eye on media reports about herself and her staff. Responding to a July 26, 2007 letter to the editor printed in the Anchorage Daily News complaining that Palin did not meet with Miss Alaska, Palin wrote staffers, "I'm looking for someone to correct the letter writer's goofy comments, but don't want the letter to the ADN in response to come from me."
Ever since Palin burst onto the national scene as Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate on the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential ticket, public access to her emails as governor has been fraught with controversy.
Shortly after Palin was tapped for the 2008 ticket, she wrote an email to her spokesperson, former Channel 2 reporter Bill McAllister, complaining about a slew of media inquiries -- which ranged from questions about whether she paid for a tanning bed in the governor's mansion to inquiries about her belief in dinosaurs and humans coexisting at the same time.
"Arghhh! i am so sorry that the office is swamped like this! dinosaurs even?! I'll try to run through some of these in my head before responding. And the old, used tanning bed that my girls used a handful of times in juneau? Yes, we paid for it ourselves. I too will continue to be dismayed at the media and am thankful you and Sharon (Leighow, Palin's former spokesperson and Gov. Sean Parnell’s current spokesperson) are not part of the strange going's on in the media world of today,” Palin wrote.
Palin’s personal email account was breached in September 2008 by hacker David Kernell, who gained access by illegally resetting her Yahoo password. He subsequently released several messages Palin had sent and received from the account concerning state business.
The revelation prompted media organizations to ask the state on Sept. 30, 2008 for copies of Palin’s emails from her December 2006 election as governor to that date. In October 2008, a judge in a lawsuit filed against Palin by activist Andree McLeod ordered Palin to preserve her personal email messages.
Kernell, the son of DemocraticTennessee state representativeMike Kernell, was ultimately convicted on federal charges for the email hack in April 2010 and sentenced in November to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
In January 2010, state Superior Court Judge Patrick McKay ruled in Palin’s favor in a lawsuit over the personal accounts, saying their use to conduct state business did not violate Alaska law. Since then, the Legislature has considered clarifying the state’s laws concerning officials’ use of private email accounts.
The state has taken more than 32 months -- longer than Palin’s tenure as governor -- to release the e-mails, with state officials periodically extending deadlines to process the records. There is no word from state officials on when Palin’s emails as governor from September 2008 to her resignation in July 2009 will be released.
Contact Rebecca Palsha at email@example.com