Officially he was the first gentleman of Alaska. More people called him the "first dude." But newly released e-mails show that Todd Palin was busy doing more than snow machine driving and salmon fishing during Sarah Palin's two and a half years as governor and vice presidential candidate
Nearly 3,000 pages of e-mails that Todd Palin exchanged with state officials, which were released to msnbc.com and NBC News by the state of Alaska under its public records law, draw a picture of a Palin administration where the governor's husband got involved in a judicial appointment, monitored contract negotiations with public employee unions, received background checks on a corporate CEO, added his approval or disapproval to state board appointments and passed financial information marked "confidential" from his oil company employer to a state attorney.
The governor coached her staff on how to disguise the amount of electrical work needed at the mansion to hook up her new tanning bed. Palin and her staff stewed over the refusal of the state Public Safety Department to provide a plane so the children could fly to Todd's family's home in Dillingham; after all, they were going to attend a bill signing, so the travel requests could be justified. Sarah Palin called the decision "outrageous," and an aide said it provides "a great excuse to privatize" the governor's jet service. The manager of the Palins' travel schedule searched for a public event to use as justification ("I just need one") to charge the state for an airplane flight for Palin's daughter, Willow, who made the trip but had missed the event given as its justification. When Sarah Palin complained that the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner wrote a critical editorial after she did them the favor of meeting with the editorial board, Todd Palin advised the press chief to "take the news miner off the press release address list for a few days, see how long it takes them to realize their not on the list."