JUNEAU, Alaska — In the final months before she resigned as Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin displayed growing frustration over deteriorating relationships with state lawmakers and their perceived efforts to "lame duck" her administration, along with outrage over ethics complaints that she felt frivolously targeted her and prompted her to write: "I can't take it anymore."
The details are included in more than 17,000 records released Thursday by state officials — nearly 3 1/2 years after citizens and news organizations, including The Associated Press, first requested Palin's emails.
By the spring of 2009, the emails show, Palin was regularly butting heads with lawmakers of both parties over her absences from the Capitol and over her picks for vacancies in the state Senate and her own cabinet. The emails she sent to staff illustrate Palin's growing suspicion that those legislators were seeking to undermine her administration by harping on how often she was away from Juneau, the state capitol.
She asked her aides to tally how many days she was out of Alaska in 2008. The staff came up with 94 days, but 10 less if you count travel days when she was in the state part of the day, The absences included all of October and most of September while she was on the campaign trail as the GOP vice presidential candidate.
"It's unacceptable, and there must be push back on their attempts to lame duck this administration," Palin wrote to her top aides on April 9. "That's only going to get worse as they try to pull more bs and capitalize on me being out of the capitol building for 36 hours."
Palin also asked her aides to see if they could hold certain legislators' "feet to the fire" and hold votes on her nominees. She wrote words of encouragement to Wayne Anthony Ross, her nominee for attorney general, telling him to "stay strong."
"Those who want to turn this into a kangaroo court will soon see you confirmed as Alaska's AG," Palin wrote.
Ross was not confirmed, the first ever cabinet level candidate rejected by the Alaska Legislature. Palin traveled to an anti-abortion rally in Indiana the day he was defeated.
Tim Crawford, treasurer of Sarah Palin's political action committee, encouraged everyone to read the emails. "They show a governor hard at work for her state," he said.
The emails are the last of her emails from her time as governor, according to Alaska state officials. Citizens and news organizations, including the AP, first requested Palin's emails in September 2008, as part of her vetting as the Republican vice presidential nominee. The state released a batch of the emails last June, a lag of nearly three years that was attributed to the sheer volume of the records and the flood of requests stemming from Palin's tenure.
The 24,199 pages of emails that were released last year left off in September 2008. When it became clear that the June release would not include all the emails from Palin's tenure last June, requests were then made for the remaining emails. Thursday's release includes 17,736 records, or 34,820 pages, generally spanning from October 2008 until Palin's resignation, in July 2009. Of those, 13,791 records were released without redactions, according to the governor's office. Another 965 documents were withheld.
Several media organizations, including MSNBC.com, said they were not informed of Thursday's release.
Sharon Leighow, a spokeswoman for the current governor, Sean Parnell, said records in the governor's office indicated that MSNBC.com did not request the second group of emails but she said a CD containing the documents was being sent to their offices because it contained emails inadvertently omitted from the first release.
Palin's frustration over a series of ethics complaints filed against her, one of the issues she cited when stepping down, emerges in a series of e-mails on March 24, 2009.3 comments on this story
"These are the things that waste my time and money, and the state's time and money," she wrote to then-Lt. Gov. Parnell.
In an April 2009 email, she commiserated over a story indicating another ethics complaint was to be filed: "Unflippinbelievable... I'm sending this because you can relate to the bullcrap continuation of the hell these people put the family through," she wrote to Ivy Frye, an aide during the first part of her term, and to Frank Bailey.
Later that day, in an email to her husband and two top aides, on the issue, she said: "I can't take it anymore."
The first batch of emails released last June, before she announced she would not run for president, showed that Palin was angling for the vice presidential slot months before John McCain picked her to be his running mate. Those records produced no bombshells, while painting a picture of an image-conscious, driven leader, struggling with the gossip about her family and marriage, involved in the day-to-day duties of running the state and keeping tabs on the signature issues of her administration.