Palin Favored Secrecy and Censorship While in Office

The New York Times examines Sarah Palin’s record and finds much of concern. There are two passages in particular which are essential reading. The first provides an example of how she would carry on the tradition of secrecy from the Bush/Cheney administration:

Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.

Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process.

When Mr. Steiner finally obtained the e-mail messages — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists had in fact agreed that the bears were in danger, records show.

“Their secrecy is off the charts,” Mr. Steiner said.

The article also provides further information on Palin’s attempts to censor books which social conservatives objected to:

The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.

“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

Previous information on Palin’s attempts to ban books has been posted here and here.

1 Comment

  1. 1
    yarrrr says:


    Last summer State Representative John Harris, the Republican speaker of the House, picked up his phone and heard Mr. Palin’s voice. The governor’s husband sounded edgy. He said he was unhappy that Mr. Harris had hired John Bitney as his chief of staff, the speaker recalled. Mr. Bitney was a high school classmate of the Palins and had worked for Ms. Palin. But she fired Mr. Bitney after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.

    What happened in between? According to Mr. Bitney, Gov. Palin got a call from another old friend, Scott Richter, informing her that his wife, Debbie Richter, and Mr. Bitney were having an affair. Mr. Bitney had kept that secret from the governor, even as he told her of his divorce, he said.

    Allies of Republican presidential nominee John McCain like to point out that his running mate is the governor of the largest state in the union. But at times, Alaska seems more like a small town, run by folks with overlapping professional, political and personal ties that can be difficult to untangle.

    Gov. Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, were also close friends of the Richters. Ms. Richter served as treasurer of Gov. Palin’s gubernatorial campaign and her inaugural committee. After taking office, Gov. Palin put Ms. Richter in charge of the Permanent Fund Dividend Division at the Department of Revenue. The fund allocates oil revenues to Alaska residents; this year each Alaskan is expected to receive $3,269.

    The two couples owned property together on Safari Lake, north of Wasilla, according to Gov. Palin’s financial disclosure reports. Each couple had its own cabin on the land, where the families would vacation side by side, according to Ms. Richter. In the most recent disclosure form, the governor reported that she and Mr. Palin now own the property with Mr. Richter alone.

    “They were, you know, professionally my bosses, but they were my friends,” Mr. Bitney said of the Palins. “And so what caused them to want me to leave the governor’s office was my relationship, my divorce, my dating a woman with whom they had a personal relationship.”

    When Gov. Palin was notified by Mr. Richter in July 2007, she called Mr. Bitney into her office. She already knew he was going through a divorce, and, Mr. Bitney said, he had “led her to believe there weren’t going to be any more surprises.”

    Mr. Bitney said the governor “indicated to me that she was hurt, disappointed and upset, and that she didn’t know what she wanted to do.”

    A few days later, Gov. Palin’s chief of staff “indicated to me that I needed to leave the governor’s office,” Mr. Bitney said.

    “I understand why I had to go,” Mr. Bitney said. “I accept that. I was in the governor’s office and a trusted adviser. I betrayed that trust by not being forthcoming about what was going on in my personal life.”

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