JUNEAU, Alaska — Fed up with mounting legal bills and rattled by intense scrutiny of her family and work, Sarah Palin was ready to step down as Alaska's governor months before she left office in July 2009.
Emails released Thursday, most from the last 10 months of her time in office, show she told her husband in April, "I can't take it anymore" and complained to spokeswoman Sharon Leighow and aide Kris Perry in March that she had been the target of "many frivolous suits and charges since the DAY I became VP candidate."
"I can't afford this job," she wrote.
The emails illustrate what Palin has said all along: After running for vice president unsuccessfully with John McCain, she returned to Alaska to find that the financial and emotional drain of her gubernatorial job was too much. She flirted with a presidential run last year, but told supporters she instead was dedicating herself to "God, family and country." She currently serves as a commentator on Fox News.
In a March 19, 2009, email, Palin complained that more than 150 freedom of information requests had cost the state more than $1 million, adding: "and who knows what all the bogus ethics charges have cost the state."
She expressed anger at having to pay for her own defense, with a bill that at that point totaled more than $500,000, and said her husband had to go back to work on the North Slope to help deal with the growing costs.
"We've all had to pay for our OWN legal defense in this political bloodsport — it's horrendous — why do you think Todd is on the slope today?" Palin wrote. "I am paying to defend in my capacity as GOVERNOR — actions taken in my official position. This is unheard of anywhere else."
By the spring of 2009, the emails show, Palin was regularly butting heads with lawmakers of both parties over her absences from the Capitol.
"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.
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 ended in September 2008, as she was campaigning with GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Thursday's release includes 17,736 records, or 34,820 pages, generally spanning from October 2008 until Palin's resignation as Alaska governor, in July 2009.
Tim Crawford, treasurer of Sarah Palin's political action committee, said Thursday the emails "show a governor hard at work for her state."
Palin said a series of ethics complaints filed against her contributed to her decision to step down. 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 aides Ivy Frye and 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."
Earlier, after a Feb. 18, 2009, Washington Post story titled, "Back Home in Alaska, Palin finds cold comfort," was pointed out to her, she emailed her husband. "Would you pray for our strength. And for God to totally turn things around... Enough is enough. May we see victories and feel His hand of mercy and grace." He replies, "I did."
Emails show she faced rumors about her family long before she became McCain's running mate.
In a Sept. 26, 2007, email to Kris Perry and her husband Todd, titled "Marital Problems," Palin writes: "So speaking of... If we, er, when we get a divorce, does that quell "conflict of interest" accusations about BP?" Her husband was a former BP employee on the North Slope.