E-mails suggest Palin spouse’s advisory role

SATURDAY, FEB. 6, 2010

JUNEAU, Alaska – E-mails shed new light on Todd Palin’s role while his wife was Alaska’s governor, showing that the one-time oil field worker’s advice was sought on board appointments and suggesting he was close to matters related to state government, his wife’s image and politics.

Relatively few of the messages obtained as part of a public records request were sent by Todd Palin.

Rather, his personal e-mail address is included on messages sent by administration staff, top aides to then-Gov. Sarah Palin and Palin on topics ranging from use of the state plane to day-to-day governing issues and oil and gas legislation that Palin made a hallmark of her 2 1/2 years in office.

It’s not clear from the e-mails whether there was a policy, unspoken or otherwise, that Todd Palin be copied in on certain matters either because he was a key adviser or a mere backstop to the governor. Several former aides to Sarah Palin declined comment Friday.

Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein said in a statement Friday that each spouse of a chief executive is free to define his or her own role.

Todd Palin “was, and remains, a close advisor to the governor. Those in the administration knew this, and the public knew this,” he wrote. “There is nothing unusual, untoward or inappropriate for a spouse of a chief executive to provide guidance, input and hands on assistance.”

The e-mails range from housekeeping issues such as travel arrangements and power for a tanning bed to board appointments, legislation and ethics and politics.

In an e-mail from June 2007, Todd Palin asks the state Director of Boards and Commissions Ivy Frye about a potential judicial candidate, saying he’s “getting calls from folks hoping he’s not selected. Let me know whats happening so I can put to rest some of the rumors.” The person’s name was redacted.


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