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Alaska will miss deadline for Palin emails, but hold on a bit longer...
By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter, msnbc.com
Want Palin's e-mails? That'll be $15 million
With the state's deadline of May 31 fast approaching for the long-delayed release of 25,000 emails sent between former Gov. Sarah Palin (and her husband) and state officials, the Alaska governor's office on Tuesday sought another delay.
This delay will be brief, and the records should be ready by June 10, the governor's office said in asking for permission from the state attorney general for a new delay.
As we have reported, the delays so far have amounted to a couple of weeks longer than the time than Sarah Palin spent as governor of Alaska.
News organizations requested the emails under the state public records law back in 2008, when the relatively unknown Palin burst onto the national scene, and when it became known that she and her staff were using personal Yahoo accounts to conduct state business outside the usual reach of public records requests. The records to be released include emails that went between Palin or her husband and about 50 top state officials. The state at first quoted prices as high as $15 million for the records, but the price is now down to 3 cents a page.
The office of the current governor is still going over the emails, deciding which ones should be withheld under exemptions to the public records law.
When the emails are released, msnbc.com plans to put them online in a public archive, in cooperation with other news organizations, as it did with a batch of Todd Palin emails last year. Those emails showed the vigorous role the "First Dude" played in the operation of state government. Here is that archive.
The Anchorage Daily News has the details here.9http://www.adn.com/2011/05/24/1880263/state-officials-seek-more-time.html)
Sarah Palin's office has discovered a renewable resource to bring millions of dollars into Alaska's economy: the governor's e-mails.
The office of the Republican vice-presidential nominee has quoted prices as high as $15 million for copies of state e-mails requested by news organizations and citizens. No matter what the price, most of the e-mails of Palin, her senior staff and other state employees won't be made public until at least several weeks after the Nov. 4 presidential election, her office told msnbc.com on Thursday.
How did the cost reach $15 million? Let's look at a typical request. When the Associated Press asked for all state e-mails sent to the governor's husband, Todd Palin, her office said it would take up to six hours of a programmer's time to assemble the e-mail of just a single state employee, then another two hours for "security" checks, and finally five hours to search the e-mail for whatever word or topic the requestor is seeking. At $73.87 an hour, that's $960.31 for a single e-mail account. And there are 16,000 full-time state employees. The cost quoted to the AP: $15,364,960.
And that's not including the copying costs. Although the e-mails are stored electronically in Microsoft Outlook and on backup servers, and although a blank CD-ROM costs only 41 cents at Capital Office Supply in Juneau, the governor's office says it can provide copies only on paper.
Why? Because lawyers need printouts so they can black out, or "redact," private or exempted information. That task is more difficult because Palin and her senior staff have used government e-mail accounts for some personal correspondence, and personal e-mail accounts for much of their government correspondence. The photocopies of those printouts will be a relative bargain, only 10 cents a page. A state administrator said he understood that such redaction could be done electronically, but that state offices weren't set up to do that.
That process of deleting information is likely to be so lengthy that most requestors won't be able to see the records until well after the next president and vice president are chosen, Palin's office said.
E-mail sent between the governor's staff and their private Yahoo e-mail accounts won't be collected until Oct. 31. Searches will take an additional two weeks, until Nov. 14. And then the legal review of each e-mail will begin. There's no telling how long that will take, because no one knows how many e-mails there are, wrote Linda J. Perez, administrative director for the governor, in a letter she sent to the state attorney general seeking approval for a delay.
(printer says "3 cents a page")
A small victory: Copies of the requests themselves
Msnbc.com did receive from Palin's office copies of all the public records requests filed since she was inaugurated, and the replies from the governor's office. Palin took office in December 2006, after seeking office on a platform of clean and transparent government.
The price quotes reveal that Palin's office has repeatedly tried to charge different news organizations the cost to reconstruct the same e-mail accounts of the governor, her senior staff and other employees. Each time an e-mail is requested, the office quotes the same cost of $960.31 for 13 hours to recover and search each employee's e-mails.
NBC's price quote for e-mails sent to Todd Palin: $15 million.
The AP's price for e-mails between state employees and the campaign headquarters of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain: $15 million.
And the AP again, for e-mails between state employees and the National Park Service (on polar bears, wolves and other topics): $15 million.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost