A court in Alaska has ruled that Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin must hand over emails sent via a private webmail account because they relate to state business.
Palin's Yahoo account was hacked last month and the emails were exposed online, showing that she was conducting state business using the account. This is prohibited under state rules for accountability and security.
Although the hacker behind the attack has now been charged, the furore over Palin's use of webmail for private correspondence about state affairs has not abated.
"On one hand I am pleased that the judge saw fit to order the retrieval and preservation of these emails to the extent of going to the providers to get them," Andree McLeod, a Republican who was formerly close to Palin and who brought the case to court, told The Washington Post.
"But on the other hand, I am amazed that I even have to go to court to get the governor to comply with Alaska's public record laws."
The paper also reported that Palin maintained a second webmail account for use by her and a close circle of aides described as 'Palinistas'.
The technician who set it up said that he offered to encrypt the emails but the US$1,000 price tag was deemed too high.
"As a champion of government accountability and transparency, Governor Palin was exercising an abundance of caution to ensure that all state and personal business matters were being kept separate," said Palin aide Meghan Stapleton in a statement.
"Governor Palin is committed to serving with the highest regard towards ethics."
Court rules Palin 'must' hand over emails
By Iain Thomson on Oct 15, 2008 10:01AM