Palin And Secrecy

A revealing op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News. In 1991, the author and his wife set up a watchdog Alaska Budget Report seeking to keep the government honest. Two governors did all they could to prevent access to state documents but the couple persisted and succeeded in the courts. At first, they were thrilled by Palin's pledge for reform and transparency. Then they realized who they were up against:

As Palin's first Juneau press conference as governor was breaking up, she called my wife and me aside. With apparent sincerity she asked us why we had had so much trouble getting public records from previous governors: "Why wouldn't they want you to have the full story about what they were doing?" It struck me at the time as both naive and refreshing.

Two weeks later I discovered a memorandum from a senior state attorney revealing that a top Palin aide had instructed him to keep documents secret from our newsletter even if the legal basis for doing so was weak or problematic.

A few weeks after that, Meghan Stapleton, Palin's then-press secretary, told me they were keeping the documents secret because the public might misunderstand them.

Since then Palin has become the most secretive governor in Alaska's history. This month she refused to release even her official schedule or reveal when she is leaving the state. Questions from reporters are often simply ignored, or she answers a different question than the one asked. All the while she continues to mouth the claim that her administration is "open and transparent."

--- AS