From an Alaskan: Palin e-mails reveal ‘Abuse of Power’

Palin e-mails reveal a powerful ‘first dude’

In Sarah Palin administration, her spouse was active in state business

By Bill Dedman

Investigative reporter
Nearly 3,000 pages of e-mails that Todd Palin exchanged with state officials, which were released to and NBC News by the state of Alaska under its public records law, draw a picture of a Palin administration where the governor's husband got involved in a judicial appointment, monitored contract negotiations with public employee unions, received background checks on a corporate CEO, added his approval or disapproval to state board appointments and passed financial information marked "confidential" from his oil company employer to a state attorney.

While 1,200 separate e-mails were released this week, 243 others were withheld by the state under a claim that executive privilege extends to Todd Palin as an unpaid adviser to the government. Still, just the subject lines of those e-mails provide a glimpse of the ways the Palins divvied up their responsibilities when she became governor in December 2006, less than two years before Republican Sen. John McCain pulled her onto the national political stage by nominating her as his vice presidential candidate.

You can read all those e-mails in's searchable online archive, created in cooperation with a legal services company, Crivella West. We're still going through the documents, and invite readers at to search for themselves, connect the dots with public issues, and send us an e-mail with your own analysis.

The still-secret e-mails between Todd Palin and senior officials reach into countless areas of state government and politics: potential board appointees, constituent complaints, use of the state jet, oil and gas production,  marine regulation, gas pipeline bids, postsecondary education, wildfires, native Alaskan issues, the state effort to save the Matanuska Maid dairy, budget planning, potential budget vetoes, oil shale leasing, "strategy for responding to media allegations," staffing at the mansion, pier diem payments to the governor for travel, "strategy for responding to questions about pregnancy," potential cuts to the governor's staff, "confidentiality issues," Bureau of Land Management land transfers and trespass issues and requests to the U.S. transportation secretary.

Also withheld: a discussion of how to reply to "media questions about Todd Palin's work and potential conflict of interests."




Confidential information
Todd Palin also often served as a conduit for information to flow from one part of state government to another. When a friend or campaign aide's spouse got a state job, he was often notified. At other times, he notified the governor's office.

Sometimes information from outside flowed through him to the government. In one instance, the e-mails show, Todd Palin sent confidential financial information from his longtime employer, the oil and gas company BP, to a lawyer for the state, which does a lot of business with BP. The e-mail of financial results, written by Steve Marshall, president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., was marked "confidential"; it told BP staff about financial results and the levels of annual bonuses to be received. Todd Palin received that e-mail from Glenn Trimmer, the secretary-treasurer of the United Steelworkers local where he was working while on a leave from BP. Palin forwarded the e-mail from his work account to his personal account, then forwarded it again from his personal account to an attorney for the state, along with financial details for a second year.

BP did not reply to a request for comment sent Thursday to the company's press contact.

The Palins did not reply to a message from

Hers's the link to the searchable archive: 

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39 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kat
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 02:33:00

    Thanks for all YOUR good work Syrin!


  2. Alaska Pride
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 02:54:00

    Yes. Thanks Syrin! You've been right about the Palins all along.


  3. Madonna
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 13:43:00

    While there is no instruction manual for First Spouse involvement,
    there's little doubt that Todd's input on Alaskan governmental issues
    was more than merely 'advising' Sarah Palin. Given that they sought to
    suppress knowledge of Todd's membership in the extremist AIP party,
    it does beg the question how much his far-right secessionist beliefs
    played into his influence on matters of judicial appointments and other
    matters of state.It also shines a new light on the news that the Palins jointly cheated on their taxes by never declaring two properties built on parcels they owned as Palin ran on a platform of cleaning up Alaskan corruption. Ironically, Palin refused to do a commercial endorsing another candidate when it came out that he had an unpaid tax debt.


  4. sjohnson
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 14:53:00

    Strangely silent on the Ken-troll front. Hmmmmmmm…..I'm guessing this hasn't been a good week for the Palinafia.


  5. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 15:02:00

    I woke up to several emails from all over the country. They found through the searchable database lots of tidbits of information that they think is significant..
    Karen to me show details 8:18 AM (6 hours ago)
    In my humble opinion, a clear connection to the AIP. A few google clicks and it is clear that Fish is a member of the American Freedom Movement, which I think is a cloak for the AIP. Sarah clearly was and is their puppet.
    The AIP connection is clear no matter how she spins it.
    thank you for your workK. LCT


  6. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 15:04:00

    Palinafia!!! Ha, true that..


  7. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 15:29:00

    I found one with your website:
    I'll let you know if I find any more 🙂


  8. FlynnD
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 18:16:00

    I have it on good authority that Ken is consulting with his media advisers on a stinging rebuttal to your sneers…


  9. sjohnson
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 18:31:00

    Thank you, thank you (deep, sweeping bow).


  10. ken
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 20:12:00

    isn't that nice,johnson&johnson misses me,by the way did you see the palin speech tonight,all the cable networks carryed it,and gayboy on cnn didn't even crack a teabagger joke,freedoms coming, get on the train or off the tracks.


  11. sjohnson
    Feb 06, 2010 @ 21:05:00

    Oh there you are, Bully-Boy! Heard the speech and screechy voice. I'm still waiting for some substance. She was factually incorrect on several talking points, and quite hypocritical on many, but that's no surprise. Have you read any of the 3000 emails that were released? Hmmm? All her experience as a governor? Not so much, apparently. Looks to me like Todd was the governor and Sarah was the deer caught in the headlights.


  12. ken
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 20:54:00

    i'm going to draw the big picture for you,the creeping socialism in this country is coming to a end,american values are making a comeback,palin is just the figurehead right now,she is shining the light for others to see,even ones as dimsighted as you.america got started for one reason and that was freedom,and it will stay that way,if you wish to be a part of the herd,buy a kayak and paddle over to russia.


  13. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 15:16:00

    …if you wish to be a part of the herd? NO I do not wish to be part of the herd…
    2 Corinthians 6:17-18 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you


  14. ken
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 16:25:00

    i like it,she's stood apart from the herd and so far she's trying to stay clean.she's not perfect but she's a damm sight better then all the socialists in d.c. now…


  15. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 16:44:00

    she's trying to stay clean??? Are you paying attention? Have you and all the PalinTARDS checked out yet. stood apart? Never in Alaska's history…….This corrupt individual was the catylist to more corruption, behind closed door deals, unethical and illegal behavior and Abuse of Power…. NO! Not even this whackjob and her husband can just walk away from this!


  16. ken
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 17:17:00

    you send me to msnbc,home of the three marxist stooges,that whole station should be tried for treason.what country did you say your from.


  17. sjohnson
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 19:08:00

    Herd? Do you mean the tea-bagger herd? "She's trying to stay clean"? Do you do any research besides Faux News? The Grifter is dirty and fake as a three yen note. Boy, your ignorance is astounding. Then again, if you never learn anything other than what Glenn Beck tells you, it would make perfect sense that you are so colossally ignorant of the facts regarding Sarah. However, I don't see how you have missed out on her many, many, MANY lies and vindictive attacks. Yeah, a real Christian. Not so much. BTW, loved her hillbilly palm pilot. hee hee hee.


  18. sjohnson
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 19:12:00

    Treason? Oh dear! Are you being a bit histrionic? Do you need a hug? Too bad your favorite false news show is Fox where you can listen to your hearts content to the racist, anti-American likes of Glenn Blech and Ann Coultergeist, two truly disgusting individuals. Then too I'm sure you also subscribe to the hatritude of Rush Limpballs as well. You probably also think that it is ok that Rush-the-giant-hypocrite is a drug addict and was getting drugs illegally. Poor Rush, he has a problem. It isn't his fault. PUKE.


  19. ken
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 19:50:00

    no,i mean the socialist herd,you can't elect a palin but you can elect a obama,who wasn't really raised in this country,who's first mentor was a card carrying communist,who's first political ties were with socialist party's and bombers,who's wife is not proud of her country unless she has things her own way,who's preacher hates this country,who's inner circle are all present or ex-communist,damm what high standards you have….glenn beck good….olbermann bad….. glenn beck likes the american system, olbermann likes the marxist system….TREASON… yes very much so…pelosi and obama are very much guilty of treason,any elected official that can stand up and say they will do whatever they can to over rule what the majority of americans want are guilty of treason.


  20. sjohnson
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 20:01:00

    So, just to re-cap, anyone who disagrees with your idiocy is anti-American, communist, socialist (WTF), and atheist. That about sum it up? Go educate yourself, and try to cast a wider net when you do research, bonehead. Typical under-educated, tea-bagging, moron who is in love with Scarah Palin because "she's hot!" Try thinking with the other head.


  21. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 20:03:00

    MSNBC requested a FOIA and they just put them on a searchable data base. Access to the hard copy documents was recieved a couple weeks ago by the parties that made that request (a private citizen in Alaska also made the request). These are a FOIA request recieved 18 months after requested.. 10 days was the protocol…


  22. sjohnson
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 20:08:00

    And exactly how is it that you and you alone knows what the majority of Americans want? A bit of an exaggeration, don't you think. You would do well to lose the histrionics and actually use your brain. You sound like a little girl having a tantrum.


  23. ken
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 21:12:00

    don't take my word for anything,prove it to yourself,every poll in this country was saying that the present health care bill was wrong,60 to 70% were against it.think,think,think,do some research,know what your talking about,not just the conservative polls,not just the socialist polls,but the country as a whole did not want this bill.its just as bad when obama talks about having a mandate to pass a gay marriage law,when in every state that has put it to a vote its been made 38 states have laws against gay marriage but obama keeps pushing it.he has no mandate he was voted in on a 54% margin,thats 46% of americans that want nothing to do with his marxist ideals.where is this guy getting this ''mandate'' he keeps talking about..


  24. ken
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 21:25:00

    have you heard of the blackberry scandal,have you heard of blago,have you heard about the backdoor deals obama has made with all the pharma companys.since when does anybody get to demand private e-mails,this is a lopsided war,when the palins are forced to live up to such high ideals and the obama's are allowed to get away with any crime.i know republicans hold themselves to higher standards,but don't the democrats have any standards.your talking about private e-mails that could have been put out for different effects for different people,for different reasons,i really woudn't use these to judge a person by……there is a girl on the front page of vox right now,in the news and politics section, who is quoting the federalist papers as a way of judgeing bush and the republican party in general,she isn't judging the times they were written,the people they were written to,or the effect they were hoping to get, in effect she is slanting them as much as possible to get a reaction she hopes to get.much like any dirt on palin,she wants to do the most damage with the smallest amount of ammunition. completely taken out of context….


  25. sjohnson
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 04:52:00

    All emails in which government business is conducted should be open to FOIA requests. You're such a blind-in-love-with-the-hot-governor idiot that you can't see how "transparent" her efforts were to hide what she was doing by using Yahoo to conduct state business instead of using secure government email accounts. WTF!!! Any other state (yes, even the notoriously corrupt Florida) would have owned her for that one, but Alaska's government corruption raises it to an art form. I wonder how you would feel if Grayson were your governor and used Yahoo accounts. Oooooh no, Mr. Bill!!! You would be ranting and raving all over the place. Your bias is so obvious.


  26. Inside_Passage
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 12:42:00

    Congratulations, you're starting to make Syrin look like a mature and rational adult by comparison. More importantly for you, you're starting to sound like Ken.
    … and no, that's not a good thing.


  27. ken
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 15:23:00

    by your sense of reasoning blago,j. jackson jr. and obama should be in jail,and all e-mails by anyone should be a part of public record.whats next,all phone calls should be recorded,all mail should be opened,all houses should be bugged,there is a line that should not be crossed,how did she use e-mails for government buisness,they are not legally binding.these are private e-mails used for private reasons,they may show you intent to conduct government buisness,but they are suggestions,and intentions,not a done deal,not a devation from normal practice,if anything palin should bring this tocourt and see if her rights were violated..


  28. sjohnson
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 16:40:00

    I don't think you are really very familiar with the FOIA. Do some research first.


  29. sjohnson
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 16:43:00

    Syrin doesn't need my help to show her maturity or intelligence. And, no, sounding like Ken is never a good thing, so on several levels I take issue with your comparison. However, you are entitled to your opinion right along with everyone else. Peace…


  30. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 17:42:00

    What does your comment offer? mature or intelligent? You say nothing in response to the article, you just call me names. Hey……You sound like a clanging gong called Ken


  31. Inside_Passage
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 20:08:00

    Actually, my comment had plenty to offer – like some insight into the fact that sjohnson is lowering himself to Ken's level. Since he takes exception to being compared to Ken, it would probably behoove him to stop making Kenn'esque comments like that play on Limbaugh's name.As for you, I didn't call you any names. I did point out past immaturity on your part, such as those godawful "Whore" comments you made about Palin. There's nothing out-of-line about that, and while it was probably mean-spirited, it's in keeping with the general attitude of your blog.To the article itself, of course I didn't respond to it – my reply was for sjohnson, not for you.


  32. ken
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 20:54:00

    your form of backseat driving is what brought this country to this point,arguing about the meaning of ''is'' is something i will leave up to you democrats.the broadstrokes that are needed are being just now getting started and palin,the founding fathers,and the tea partys are starting to paint with those broadstrokes,either get on the train or get off the tracks.


  33. sjohnson
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 20:56:00

    Oh goody, goody!!! A train wreck in the making!!


  34. Inside_Passage
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 21:03:00

    I'm as much a Democrat as you are a liberal, kiddo.


  35. Syrin from Wasilla
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 21:44:00

    This you consider godawful? "Whore" comments made about Palin? Hey, Palin is a public figure. Do you ever read anything in context? Sarah Palin is a political whore. Is that a new term to you? Have you ever heard political prostitute? You can use that if you rather… Well, now you know….


  36. ken
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 23:21:00

    hey, thats a great site, and such a touching story,i think i saw the same thing on the saul alinsky site,or was it the obama site,no,no, wait it was on the clinton site,and its always the ''people''we have to help the ''people'' and such great examples,a golf course,good food,good music,such terrible things and we all know that in the socialist utopia no one will have or want these things,you know like in russia,china,cuba,or now venuzuela.ah,this great socialist utopia that you demand everyone join you in.and of course when i insist on not joining you in this socialist utopia, you will of course kill me like in russia,china,cuba and now venuzuela.i've always been worry'd about people who talk about wealth redistribution,it seems the ones who talk about it the loudest end up getting the lions share of the know like ted kennedy who died with a $100 million to his name…so i guess the only question is,who are you whoring for.


  37. sjohnson
    Feb 11, 2010 @ 03:35:00

    You have come to the crux of the problem, Syrin. The trolls can only form an argument by taking words out of context and exhibiting faux outrage. Developing an intelligent counter opinion requires too much work such as considering instead of rejecting the context of a comment and doing basic research.


  38. Inside_Passage
    Feb 11, 2010 @ 09:18:00

    Oh, I recall the context vividly. It had nothing to do with political whoring, but specifically the Whore of Babylon which has nothing to do with the former concept. You attempted to equate Palin with one of the embodiments of evil and corruption out of the Book of Revelations.Even if one were to really beat the context all out of whack to make visions of the end times somehow relevant to Sarah Palin, it's still godawful. Why? Because you are twisting the contents of the Bible to suit your political agenda. It's Christless behaviour at best, and borderline blasphemy at worse. You serve the word of God; the word of God does not serve you.


  39. Inside_Passage
    Feb 11, 2010 @ 09:20:00

    If I'm a troll, why is it you're acting far more childish than I could ever hope to with the juvenile crotch jokes on Limbaugh's name? Why is it that you have to lower yourself to Ken's level? He's already proven time and again that he's not willing to listen to anything in opposition to his spew, reasonable or otherwise.


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