JUNEAU — A former member of Sarah Palin’s inner circle has written a scathing tell-all, saying Palin was ready to quit as governor months before she actually resigned and was eager to leave office when more lucrative opportunities came around.
“In 2009 I had the sense if she made it to the White House and I had stayed silent, I could never forgive myself,” Frank Bailey told The Associated Press.
Palin’s attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.
“Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years” is due out Tuesday and based on tens of thousands of emails that Bailey said he kept during his time with Palin. It began with working on her 2006 gubernatorial campaign and continued through her failed run for vice president in 2008 and her brief stint as governor.
The Alaska attorney general’s office has said it’s investigating Bailey’s use of the emails. Executive ethics laws bar former public officials from using information acquired during their work for personal gain if the information hasn’t been publicly disseminated.
The state has yet to release thousands of emails that Palin sent and received during her 2 1/2 years as governor. Bailey’s attorney has said Bailey took “great care” to ensure his writings were consistent with legal requirements.
Billed as the first Palin book by a former aide, “Blind Allegiance” bolsters the perception of Palin as self-serving, while casting Bailey as her enforcer — willing to do the dirty work, no questions asked.
Bailey became a footnote in Alaska political history by getting embroiled in an investigation of Palin’s firing of her police commissioner over allegations the commissioner wouldn’t fire trooper Mike Wooten, who’d had a bitter divorce with Palin’s sister. Bailey was caught on tape questioning a state trooper official about why Wooten was still employed.
Bailey, who was Palin’s director of boards and commissions, was put on leave after news of the recording broke, though he claims his actions were with the prodding of Palin’s husband, Todd.
In spite of this, and what he describes as campaigns by Sarah Palin over the years to tear down others who have crossed or confronted her, he stuck around.
To speak up when he saw things he didn’t agree with “went against all that investment of time and energy that I put into her,” said Bailey. He said he “shed his family,” his wife and two kids, to singularly focus on Palin during her rise to the governor’s office and beyond.
When Palin burst onto the statewide political scene, she was seen as a “breath of fresh air” amid the corruption that had seeped into Alaska politics. “We looked at her as ... that queen on a horse that could come in and save the state,” he said. “As we started to see that that was not the case, I kept silent and I just kept on working.”
Among the claims made in the book: that Palin’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign coordinated with the Republican Governors Association, or RGA, in violation of campaign rules. The book describes cameras rolling as Palin strode through the door at an Anchorage hotel “over and over and over,” for an RGA ad.
At that time, there was a one-year statute of limitations on complaints, and the Alaska Public Offices Commission did not receive any complaints related to Palin and the association during that period. However, the RGA was fined — unrelated to Palin — for late reporting, according to the commission’s executive director, Paul Dauphinais.
Bailey said the final straw for him came in the summer of 2009, when Palin didn’t attend a rally he believed she’d repeatedly agreed to attend, for supporters of a voter initiative to require minors get parental consent for an abortion. This came after a string of cancellations, including one before a Republican women’s group at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. Her aides claimed no one had committed to this well-publicized event..
“Getting Sarah to meetings and events was like nailing Jell-O to a tree,” Bailey wrote. On the campaign trail and as governor, Sarah went through at least ten schedulers, with few lasting more than months. Nobody wanted the job because Sarah might fail to honor, at the last minute, the smallest commitments, and making excuses for her became a painful burden.”
By the time she cancelled on the parental notification event in Anchorage, Palin had resigned as Alaska’s governor and embarked on a new path, one in which she’d become a best-selling author, highly sought-after speaker, political phenom and prospective presidential candidate.
Bailey claims her heart wasn’t in governing after she returned to Alaska from her failed run for vice president. At home, she faced a barrage of ethics complaints — nearly all of which were ultimately dismissed — and Bailey said she told him as early as February 2009 that if she could find the right message to tell Alaskans, she’d “quit tomorrow.”
She resigned in July 2009.
Bailey confesses to “a ton of mistakes” and speaks of a return to God; he said his church has become a sanctuary and that he’s reconnected with his family. He said writing the book — which itself has generated controversy — was cathartic.
In February, the book project also made headlines when a draft manuscript was leaked. An attorney for Bailey and his co-writers accused author Joe McGinniss, who has his own Palin book coming out this year. McGinniss’ attorney acknowledged McGinniss selectively shared the manuscript, but said the manuscript included no request for confidentiality.
Bailey dismisses any suggestion he’s disgruntled or bitter; he said he got a front-row seat to state and national politics and was able to recommend judges and set up “hundreds” of board positions.
“Yeah, there were some tough, tough times but hopefully I’ve learned from some of that,” he said. “Time will tell.”
He said he has no ill feelings toward Palin, with whom he says he hasn’t spoken since the fall of 2009. If anything, he said, he feels sad for her.
“I’m sad at a lot of wasted potential,” said Bailey, who believed she could accomplish more than she did as governor. “I certainly don’t hate her but I look at a lot of wasted opportunities on her part.”