Palin Email Dump Precedent

Posted earlier today to Mark Levin Fan Forum:  (http://marklevinfan.com/forum/)

The State of Alaska is apparently making the Palin emails available to the press without a court order or some version of an “Alaskan Freedom of Information Act”.  As a former Mayor, I would not have appreciated any of my official, private communications regarding the running of the city to be “dumped” into the public domain.  Luckily for me, my tenure was in the 70’s email consisted of typed memos…  In the course of the daily business of an executive officer of a city or a state, there are many personnel related issues that are privileged and should be kept confidential, if nothing else, than to protect the subject in the email.  If there were any administrative personnel hearing issues, the disclosures could cause lawsuits to be filed in order to utilize the content of the emails in the re-opened proceedings. There are probably many emails regarding labor negotiations that would weaken the State’s position in subsequent negotiations with unions.  There are probably emails regarding the pipeline and other oil and gas resource issues between the State, oil companies, and even Canada that would only serve to weaken the State’s future bargaining position.  In short, the question is really, how much does the public have a right to know regarding the intricate day to day management of a State, a County or a City? 

 

Or, is the public’s right to know unbounded?  Then, Mark Levin is exactly right in saying that Obama, the Congress, and all Federal agencies should make all their emails and other private forms of communications available to the public 24-7.  Hold your breath; we can’t even get this White House to comply with bonafide Freedom of Information Act requests.  We all know the Federal Government will never willingly give into making emails and other forms of private communication public.  They will hide behind national security or other issues, and perhaps rightfully so, in order to thwart the disclosures.

 

But, the witch hunt behind the Palin emails was a direct result of her being the Republican Vice President candidate.  If we are going to require 1of the 4 candidates that are involved in the race to disclose his or her emails, then all 4 should be required to do the same.  I doubt if Biden’s would be all that coherent but they may help us to understand just how bad it would be if he had to assume the office of the President!  Obama’s emails would certainly be pertinent as would McCain’s.  Both were sitting Senators and insights into their communications with the outside world would have been helpful to judge their fitness.  Even if it is after the fact, it would inform us as to the real intentions of the candidates. 

 

But (#2), if it becomes a matter of day to day policy that emails are fair game in the public domain, then how many emails would politicians really send out that were not scrubbed squeaky clean beforehand?  (Anthony Weiner does not count)  They would have to resort to other forms of communication to avoid eventual disclosure.  So, we are probably driving the real communications farther underground by disclosing Palin’s emails.  Sarah is a big girl and is more than capable of fighting back at any attempts to use her emails as a weapon against her.  She would probably relish the opportunity.  After all, Katie Couric would have to have someone explain them to her before she could read the question to Sarah that someone else had written for her!

 

So, be careful what we give into.  We all know that the media will only ask conservatives to disclose their emails while giving the progressive-left a pass on any disclosure.  This embryonic policy could make the Nixon Tapes seem small indeed!

 

RD Pierini

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