Sarah Palin, email and Alaskan Sunshine

Sarah Palin is refusing to release more than 1,000 emails that might expose illegal shenanigans in Alaska and is claiming executive privilege and  “deliberative process” privilege.  Alaska has such a privilege in the books but the emails Palin is trying to hide are not covered by the state’s executive privilege laws. (See David Corn\’s MJ blog

To be covered, the emails would have to be 1) policy oriented and not political oriented, and 2) they would have had to be concealed from members of the general public. If already released to the general public there is no basis for a confidentiality claim. Keep in mind one citizen = any other citizen under this provision of the law.

as for point 1. The email headings point to political rather than policy concerns. They deal with individuals in the republican party, the former alaskan governor, and individuals connected with trooper-gate. Unless these headings are intentionally misleading (and there is no reason for this), they are not policy oriented and thus there is no basis for executive privilege.

2) Executive privilege may cover confidential policy matters. let’s see if they are confidential. To be confidential they cannot be shared with citizens who hold no government office. Todd Palin, who holds no official office, was cc’d on these emails. If the first dude can see the emails so can joe and suzy public. they are not confidential. Executive privilege does not protect non-confidential emails.

so what’s up here:

1) Palin is abusing the powers of her office to cover-up embarassing or downright illegal activity.

The alternative is that palin is using the “trooper-gate” scandal to make a philosophical point about executive power. Although this would show some deep thinking on her part, it is even scarier that covering up scandal because were she elected veep and became president, this approach to executive power would echo John Yoo’s and david addington’s unitary executive power theory, which is an anathama to the constitution.

the Lesson:   Lipstick on a pig!


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