In summer 2007, Sarah Palin scored a bipartisan victory when the Alaska Legislature approved her ethics reform package. By December, she was proposing a three-year plan for education funding and was astonished when the Alaska speaker of the House, John Harris, a fellow Republican, disparaged it -- and her ethics package -- in a story that ran Dec. 7, 2007, in the Juneau Empire.
"It ain't going to happen," Harris told the newspaper about the education proposal. "The Legislature is not going to give up their ability to fund education year to year.”
Palin fired off an email to three of her top aides, Frank Bailey, Ivy Frye and Kris Perry: "I just read the article... Sheeeeesh, Harris is saying some very foolish things in there."
She added later, "His comments need to be picked up by other press. Three-yr educ plan: 'Aint gonna happen.'"
But it was Harris' comments about her ethics reform package that really set Palin off:
"What more is there to address that wasn't addressed already?" Harris told the Juneau Empire. "I don't know what the hell they've been smoking if they want to do more ethics reform. I want to get down to some substantive issues to deal with the economy."
Harris added that more ethics reform could discourage people from running for office.
"Oh my goodness -- I think that's the most stupid comment I've heard all year," wrote Palin. "[H]is statement says it all re; his beliefs: 'What the hell can we do...'? Nice talk, Mr. Speaker. Reflects well on your commitment to ethical leadership."
Bailey responded: "I bet someone writes a letter to the editor on this. I'll make a call but I'm pretty sure I know who'll be responding to this one."
Bailey, whose rupture with Palin resulted in the just-published memoir, "Blind Allegiance," wrote at length in the book about the army of volunteers that Palin and her staff called on to write letters to various newspaper editors when they were unhappy with coverage.