CREW Fact Sheet: Palin Administration Not So Open Or Transparent After All

For Immediate Release

CREW Fact Sheet: Palin Administration Not So Open Or Transparent After All

WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
released a fact sheet detailing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's record on
transparency issues.

Governor Sarah Palin campaigned in 2006 on the promise to "open the door wide to transparent and accountable government."

FACTS

The Alaska Attorney General issued an opinion on August 21, 2008
concluding that state employees have a right to privacy while using
state-issued communication equipment shortly after it was revealed that
Governor Palin and her staff used their state-issued blackberrys and
computers for communications related to Governor Palin's efforts to
have her former brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten,
fired. [read Alaska AG opinion here]

This is a radical departure from Alaska's previous position that
employees have no expectation of privacy in government email. [read AK State Policy Regarding Personal Use of State Office Technologies here]

When confronted with Governor Palin's abandonment of her promise to
have an open and transparent government, her communication director
claimed that commitment related only to "the stranded gas act versus
the AGIA concept under Governor Palin." (A gas pipeline development
issue) [listen to communications director Bill McAllister on the Palin administration's view of transparency here]

A review of the State of Alaska's website, however, reveals that the phrase "open and transparent" is used repeatedly in regard to a wide variety of government initiatives

BUSH ADMINISTRATION COMPARISON

Governor Palin mirrors the Bush administration's approach to transparency.

  • When confronted with a Freedom of Information Act
    ("FOIA") request for documents from the White House Office of
    Administration ("OA") that relate to the White House's discovery of
    millions of missing emails, the Bush administration abruptly took the new position that the OA is not an agency subject to the FOIA.
  • When confronted with requests for White House
    visitor records created and maintained by the Secret Service, the Bush
    administration took the novel position that the records are actually presidential records not available to the public under the FOIA.
  • Bush White House staff had RNC email accounts on their blackberries to avoid creating public records of their actions.
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