Sarah Palin’s Lost Email

When not inventing conspiracy stories regarding Benghazi, conservatives are preoccupied with conspiracy theories about the IRS, primarily spread by looking at investigations of conservative groups while ignoring similar investigation of progressive groups. The lost email has further excited them, despite a policy of only backing up email on IRS servers for about six months, making the claims of lost email appear quite plausible. Surely conservatives are capable of understanding the consequences of government inefficiency, such as a poor backup policy.

Of course the same conservatives who see a conspiracy here showed no concern over the 22 million lost emails under Bush during the controversy over the improper dismissal of U.S.  attorneys for political reasons (when, contrary to the IRS case, there was real evidence on wrong doing). Similarly they ignore the manner in which the Bush administration broke the law by using outside email accounts to avoid detection.

If we are seeing rampant hypocrisy among conservatives, the most flagrant, not surprisingly, is Sarah Palin. Despite all her attacks on Obama over the lost email (which would have nothing to do with him even if Lois Lerner really was hiding something), Palin had a number of missing email of her own:

Perhaps Palin forgot what it was like to be the subject of a similar investigation exactly three years earlier after her office released her emails to the press. On June 13, 2011, the Anchorage Daily News reported that “Nearly a month of former Gov. Sarah Palin’s emails are missing from the documents released to media organizations last week, a gap that raises questions about what other emails might also be missing from what’s being nationally reported as her record as Alaska governor.”

According to the documents Palin’s office provided, she sent no official emails from between December 8, 2006 and December 29, 2006, in other words her first full month in office. As the paper put it, “That means zero emails during a period during which, among other things, Palin put out her proposed state budget, appointed an attorney general, killed the contract for a road out of Juneau and vetoed a bill that sought to block state public employee benefits to same-sex couples.”

The Anchorage Daily News that the gap was due to Palin’s preponderance to use a personal Yahoo email account instead of the official state account, thereby allowing her to hide certain communication from public view. The first email Palin was on record as sending came on January 2, 2007, one month after she took office.

If the IRS deliberately destroyed evidence of wrongdoing by “losing” emails, that would be unacceptable. So far, there is no concrete evidence that that is what happened. Similarly, Palin’s camp never offered an explanation for the missing emails from her office and we will likely never know if they were intentionally trying to hide specific actions.

Either way, Palin’s decision to focus her anger on missing emails has more than a whiff of hypocrisy.


  1. 1
    Randy says:

    Both Sarah Palin and the IRS have missing official e-mails. The conclusion should be they’re both either dishonest or incompetent, something I have no trouble believing. The fact that Palin is a hypocrite doesn’t somehow negate concerns about the missing IRS e-mails.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Not necessarily both lying. The lost email at the IRS can easily be explained by the limitations in the backup procedures at the IRS. In the case of Sarah Palin, she appears to have violated the law in using a personal email account for official business to keep some of her email from being examined.

  3. 3
    Randy says:

    Yeah my point was more that Palin “losing” her e-mails has no bearing on the underlying reason for the lost IRS e-mails. She looks like a hypocrite, but that’s about all you can say.

    I also believe the IRS policy of keeping e-mail backups for only six months runs counter to other stated IRS policies.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    The policy is to move them to their own computer, which doesn’t provide much in the way of assured backups. However it is rather irrelevant considering that the whole IRS deal turned out to be nothing other than bureaucrats having understandable problems dealing with vague rules on political organizations.

    The only scandal here is the way in which dishonest people like Issa create the illusion of a scandal by specifically looking at investigations of conservative groups and ignoring the investigations of liberal groups.

  5. 5
    David Duff says:

    Whilst I recognise that ‘mail’ may be used as a collective noun when referring to letters, surely in regard to ’email’ the plural should be ’emails’. This would make your post more accurate because, of course, we are talking about hundreds of the damn things in Ms. Lerner’s case! And such a happy coincidence for her that, just like Mr. Nixon’s famous tapes, it was the crucial period that is missing.

    By the way, Ron, you seem to be of a trusting, not to say, gullible, nature so it’s such a pity you’re ‘over there’ and I can’t sell you one of my bits of old ‘shrapnel’. I used to love customers like you ‘back in the day’.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    That is incorrect–it is emails from before the crucial period that is missing, not emails from the crucial period. Not to mention that the evidence has shown that the entire “scandal” has been a Republican fabrication. The number is tiny compared to the amount of emails lost in a true Bush scandal when investigated.

    The gullible ones here are the ones that still believe the Republican claims regarding the IRS after the facts came out that there was no more targeting of conservative groups compared to liberal groups. Maybe Lerner does have something to hide, but if so it has nothing to do with the false claims the Republicans are making.

    Throughout history authoritarian groups, such as today’s American right wing, have counted on gullible people like you in order to impose their agenda by falling for their propaganda.

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