Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Frank Bailey and Sarah Palin's e-mails

The Bailey manuscript saga is the topic of the week and is still unraveling. Some issues have been overlooked and they add an extra twist to the proceedings.

Andree McLeod has issued a press release regarding an ethics complaint she filed with the AK Attorney General last September and has sent me a copy of it this morning:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Anchorage, Alaska: An ethics complaint filed last fall against former Palin aide Frank Bailey is still under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. It was filed by Alaska resident and registered Republican Andrée McLeod and charges Bailey with improper use and disclosure of official records.

Alaska law prohibits employees to use or disclose information acquired in the course of their official duties for any benefit and personal gain, if that information has not been made public. And, employees can’t use or disclose information acquired in the course of their official duties if that information is confidential by law.

The Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act states: Sec. 39.52. 140. Improper use or disclosure of information.

(a) A current or former public officer may not disclose or use information gained in the course of, or by reason of, the officer's official duties that could in any way result in the receipt of any benefit for the officer or an immediate family member, if the information has not also been disseminated to the public.

(b) A current or former public officer may not disclose or use, without appropriate authorization information acquired in the course of official duties that is confidential by law.

“I, along with the Associated Press, Mother Jones, MSNBC and others, submitted legitimate public records requests in the fall of 2008. More than 2 years and countless extensions later, Palin’s email documents have yet to be made public,” McLeod said. “Yet, it seems that a former Palin aide and at least two others have had free access to Palin’s emails….all because Bailey worked in the governor’s office.”

It was widely reported last week that a manuscript written by Bailey and 2 others is being shopped around for a publisher. The reports state that the book is based on tens of thousands of Baileys emails, which include official emails he accessed while a public official.

“The revelations in and about the manuscript raise additional questions that must be addressed by the Attorney General,” McLeod said. “The people’s business continues to be breached by Palin’s (former) aides. Making matters worse, Bailey’s recently outed co-writers admittedly and illegitimately have had access to confidential emails that others, who have followed the rule of law, still anticipate. This is wrong. The AG has yet to provide resolution, since the Legislature has indicated that public records should not be made available for public inspection until they’ve been reviewed for privacy and policy reasons.”

Andree McLeod
At this point there are countless people in possession of the manuscript who have access to a number of the e-mails mentioned above. As Jeanne Devon put it, "the toothpaste is out of the tube."

Regardless of who leaked the manuscript, there are other issues that could explain why the authors had not found a publisher for such a revealing book. There are legal and ethical issues that have not been resolved yet.

Of course there is great curiosity about anything involving Sarah Palin's wrongdoings, but it seems to me that the only way Bailey could have bypassed the state of Alaska statutes regarding the confidentiality of the e-mails would have been to report any illegal activities to the proper authorities when he first became aware of them.

It is a complicated affair and Watergate comes to mind. Without confidential information leaked to the press, Nixon would have met a very different fate.

It should be mentioned that we have lost faith in the proper authorities in Alaska a long time ago.

The rights and wrongs of the manuscript saga seem to get more complex by the minute, but that's to be expected whenever anything involves Sarah Palin...

Copy of ethics complaint may be viewed HERE