In an interview filmed yesterday at the Tea Party for broadcast on Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin told Chris Wallace that she was willing to consider running for president in 2012 “if I believe that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family.” One possible consideration: it could be a good career move for Todd. He’s between jobs just now, and serving as the unelected incumbent of the office his wife was elected to turns out to be something he’s got a fair amount of experience in.
According to almost 3,000 pages of e-mails (available here) unearthed by NBC/msnbc.com under Alaska’s public records law, the “first dude” was deeply involved in contract negotiations, had government employees run checks on matters that affected his personal business activities, approved and vetoed appointments, and acted as a private conduit between a government attorney and BP, his oil company employer. Sometimes the e-mails, which he previously was said to merely be cc’d on, bypassed his wife altogether.
That’s just the 1,200 e-mails that were released, many of which were heavily redacted. 243 others were held back, with a claim of executive privilege for Todd as an advisor to his wife. The subject lines of those e-mails, according to msnbc, show that they were about, among other things,
potential board appointees, constituent complaints, use of the state jet, oil and gas production, marine regulation, gas pipeline bids, postsecondary education, wildfires, native Alaskan issues, the state effort to save the Matanuska Maid dairy, budget planning, potential budget vetoes, oil shale leasing, “strategy for responding to media allegations,” staffing at the mansion, pier diem payments to the governor for travel, “strategy for responding to questions about pregnancy,” potential cuts to the governor’s staff, “confidentiality issues,” Bureau of Land Management land transfers and trespass issues and requests to the U.S. transportation secretary… [and] a discussion of how to reply to “media questions about Todd Palin’s work and potential conflict of interests.”
In non-Todd-related news, among the released e-mails, most from private accounts, were instructions from Sarah Palin to hide the cost of wiring the Governor’s Mansion tanning bed and a request from the Governor’s travel manager for an official event to pretend Willow was taking part in so the Governor could charge the state for her airfare.
Alaska originally quoted a price for the e-mails, which were undoubtedly released by the administration of Governor Palin’s successor on the Friday before Super Bowl weekend by pure happenstance, of as much as $15 million dollars. They arrived at that figure based on research, vetting costs, and the cost of having the e-mails printed out by interns and professionally photocopied (the technology for redacting a pdf has not yet reached Alaska). The final price, which they say covers over half a million dollars worth of staff time, was $323.58.