Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’


FOI DAILY DOSE: Release of pricey Palin e-mails, oversight for Seattle schools

Two years later, Alaska to release 24,000 pages of Palin e-mails

It took more than two years, but the Associated Press, CNN, Andree McLeod of Anchorage and others will finally get the gubernatorial e-mails they wanted.

The requests from individuals and news outlets for Palin’s e-mails, made when she was running for vice president, will be honored by the state of Alaska soon.

The 24,000 pages are to be sent for copying this week and will then be mailed to the requesters.

But there’s a catch: 2,415 pages will be withheld due to exemptions from the state’s disclosure laws. And some of those that are released include an as-yet-unknown number of redactions.

The price for the long-overdue records release: $725.97 for copying fees, plus the cost of shipping about five boxes of the records at 55 pounds per box, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The reasons for the two-year records delay, according to state officials, were that the state was unprepared for such a huge request for electronic data and that Palin’s use of a Yahoo account for business matters further complicated the process.

But it won’t just be the requesters who get to see the Palin e-mails. MSNBC.com, ProPublica and Mother Jones plan to publish the 24,000-plus pages in a searchable online archive.

Scandal sparks plans for Seattle school watchdog

There’s nothing like a scandal to drum up support for more official oversight.

A financial quagmire over a business development program resulted in the sacking of a superintendent and, now, a watchdog plan for Seattle Public Schools.

Seattle’s city council passed a measure Tuesday for the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to create a district program for ethics and whistleblower protection.

The program will last until 2012, and hopefully beyond.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

FOI DAILY DOSE: Executive order on contractors fought in D.C., Calif. universities grow more transparent

In D.C., lawmakers fight back against draft exec order

Bills in the House and Senate could preempt a draft executive order by President Obama that would force federal contractors to disclose their political contributions.

The legislation would prohibit the federal government from both collecting and using data about federal contractors’ political expenditures. The House also passed an amendment May 25 to the 2012 defense bill to ban federal departments from collecting such information.

Obama’s draft executive order has received support from open government groups, but has also faced opposition from businesses and members of Congress from both parties.

Calif. universities embrace transparency (with a few caveats)

California State University and the University of California have agreed to withdraw their opposition to public disclosure of campus foundation finances through a compromise with state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and various public records supporters.

While state university officials didn’t want to reveal how campus foundations manage almost $2 billion, the compromise allows them to protect the identities of most donors.

The call for disclosure by campus foundations gained media attention in 2010 when CSU Stanislaus hired former Alaska governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to deliver a speech at a fundraiser but wouldn’t disclose the amount she received until a judge ordered the contract be made public.

CSU and UC will not oppose Senate Bill 8, which was introduced by Yee and would make campus foundations and other operations, such as campus bookstores, to function under the California Public Records Act.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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