Palin complains of losing confidants in 2006 email

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 07, 2011 10:03 PM
Palin complains of losing confidants in 2006 email

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said in a newly disclosed email she sent just days after taking office in 2006 that she felt her circle of trusted advisors was "shrinking daily."

The message was released late on Wednesday as part of 54 pages of additional email correspondence from Palin's early days as governor that state officials said were inadvertently omitted from a load of over 24,000 pages furnished last month to news organizations.

Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, prematurely resigned as governor two years ago and has said she is thinking about running for president in 2012.

The latest release of documents contained only half a dozen emails from Palin, with the rest of the collection consisting of notes sent by her aides. The most frequent topics discussed in the messages were appointments to Palin's then new administration.

One message in particular illustrated Palin's apparent sense she only had a few aides she felt she could trust.

In the email sent to an official with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Palin complained about her legislative director, John Bitney, whom she eventually fired.

"I am finding my circle of confidants to be shrinking daily," Palin said in the message dated December 12, 2006, eight days after she was inaugurated as governor.

Bitney had been a key figure in Palin's campaign for governor, but in the message Palin said she was "very disappointed" that he spoke about potential appointees before she was prepared to discuss those names.

Palin, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, is known to rely on a relatively small, tightly knit group of advisors as she weighs her political ambitions.


The newly released emails cover the period from December 9 to December 29, 2006. The documents, along with the earlier load, have been released in response to a number of 2008 public records requests from news organizations and Alaska citizens that were made when former Republican presidential nominee John McCain chose Palin as his running mate.

Alaska plans to release more emails that will cover the last 10 months of Palin's truncated gubernatorial tenure. Palin abruptly resigned as governor on July 26, 2009, with a year and a half left in her term.

Exactly when the next batch of emails will be released is unknown, said Linda Perez, administrative director for Governor Sean Parnell, Palin's successor. The material is being reviewed by the state Department of Law and the governor's office to ensure confidential material is not released, she said.

Perez said she does not know the volume of yet-to-be-released emails. "I can only assume it would be similar" to the load of made public a month ago, she said.

Most of the e-mails released so far involve mundane government matters, a pattern likely to continue in the next release, said Ivan Moore, an Anchorage-based pollster and political consultant.

Those messages from the final months in office could reveal Palin "becoming gradually more and more fed up with the job," Moore said.

Publication of the emails seems to have had little effect on Palin's popularity in her home state, according to Moore's recent polling.

In a mid-June survey of about 650 registered voters, he found Palin's positive rating in Alaska at 39 percent and her negative rating at 49 percent, similar to figures posted since March 2010.

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Steve Gorman)