JUNEAU — In the final months before she resigned as Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin displayed growing frustration over deteriorating relationships with state lawmakers and outrage over ethics complaints that she felt frivolously targeted her and prompted her to write: “I can’t take it anymore.”
The details are included in more than 17,000 records released Thursday by state officials — nearly 3 1/2 years after citizens and news organizations, including The Associated Press, first requested Palin’s emails. The emails, most from Palin’s final 10 months in office, illustrate what Palin has said all along: The intense scrutiny of her family and work was a financial and emotional drain that forced her to step down as governor.
In a March 19, 2009, email to spokeswoman Sharon Leighow and aide Kris Perry, she complained that more than 150 freedom of information requests had cost the state more than $1 million, adding: “and who knows what all the bogus ethics charges have cost the state.”
She expressed anger at having to pay for her own defense, with a bill that at that point totaled more than $500,000, saying her husband had to go back to work on the North Slope because of it.
“We’ve all had to pay for our OWN legal defense in this political bloodsport — it’s horrendous — why do you think Todd is on the slope today?” Palin wrote. “I am paying to defend in my capacity as GOVERNOR — actions taken in my official position. This is unheard of anywhere else.”
She added that she had been the target of “many frivolous suits and charges since the DAY I became VP candidate. I can’t afford this job.”
Palin expressed frustration with the media in an April 11, 2009, email: “If there were any other way I could speak to Alaskans without going through some of these reporters, I sure would.” Palin currently works as a commentator for Fox News.
By the spring of 2009, the emails show, Palin was regularly butting heads with lawmakers of both parties over her absences from the Capitol. She asked her aides to tally how many days she was out of Alaska in 2008. The staff came up with 94 days, but 10 less if you count travel days when she was in the state part of the day, The absences included all of October and most of September while she was on the campaign trail as the GOP vice presidential candidate.
“It’s unacceptable, and there must be push back on their attempts to lame duck this administration,” Palin wrote to her top aides on April 9.
Citizens and news organizations, including the AP, first requested Palin’s emails in September 2008, as part of her vetting as the Republican vice presidential nominee. The state released a batch of the emails last June, a lag of nearly three years that was attributed to the sheer volume of the records and the flood of requests stemming from Palin’s tenure.
The 24,199 pages of emails that were released last year ended in September 2008, as she was campaigning with GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Thursday’s release includes 17,736 records, or 34,820 pages, generally spanning from October 2008 until Palin’s resignation as Alaska governor, in July 2009.
Tim Crawford, treasurer of Sarah Palin’s political action committee, on Thursday encouraged everyone to read the emails. “They show a governor hard at work for her state,” he said.
Several media organizations, including msnbc.com, said they were not informed of Thursday’s release.
Leighow, now a spokeswoman for the current governor, Sean Parnell, said records in the governor’s office indicated that msnbc.com did not request the second group of emails but she said a CD containing the documents was being sent to their offices because it contained emails inadvertently omitted from the first release.
Palin’s frustration over a series of ethics complaints filed against her, one of the issues she cited when stepping down, emerges in an April 2009 email in which she commiserated over a story indicating another ethics complaint was to be filed: “Unflippinbelievable... I’m sending this because you can relate to the bullcrap continuation of the hell these people put the family through,” she wrote to aides Ivy Frye and Frank Bailey.
Later that day, in an email to her husband and two top aides, on the issue, she said: “I can’t take it anymore.”
Earlier, after a Feb. 18, 2009, Washington Post story titled, “Back Home in Alaska, Palin finds cold comfort,” was pointed out to her, she emailed her husband. “Would you pray for our strength. And for God to totally turn things around... Enough is enough. May we see victories and feel His hand of mercy and grace.” He replies, “I did.”
In a Sept. 26, 2007, email to Perry and her husband Todd, titled “Marital Problems,” Palin writes: “So speaking of... If we, er, when we get a divorce, does that quell “conflict of interest” accusations about BP?” Her husband was a former BP employee on the North Slope.