Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney admitted Monday that he and his team had destroyed official government records for purely political reasons.
WCVB-TV reported Friday that as Romney’s term as governor Massachusetts was ending, all of his administration’s emails were wiped from the servers. At the same time, eleven of his top aides purchased their computer hard drives for $65 each, and the remaining computers in the governor’s office were wiped clean as well.
After dodging questions about the matter over the weekend, the candidate finally confessed in an interview with the Nashua Telegraph Monday.
“Well, I think in government we should follow the law,” Romney said. “And there has never been an administration that has provided to the opposition research team, or to the public, electronic communications. So ours would have been the first.”
Romney is just one of current and former Republican governors who have deleted official electronic communications.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) office was forced to temporarily stop deleting emails in September after an enterprising Wisconsin blogger found a loophole in the Texas records retention laws. Until that point, the governor’s office had been deleting emails after seven days to avoid them from being viewed by the public.
A newspaper in South Carolina revealed Sunday that Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) office had deleted most emails that were sent prior to Oct. 3. Only emails between the governor and members of the public are being retained, according to The State.
“Even if for the sake of argument (deleting the emails) is completely acceptable under the (retention) law, that’s ludicrous for an office to do so,” South Carolina Press Association attorney Carmen Maye told the paper. “They’re public records.”
Haley made the promise of transparency a centerpiece of her 2010 campaign for governor.
Watch this video from Nashua Telegraph, broadcast Nov. 21, 2011.
With earlier reporting by Muriel Kane.
(H/T: Think Progress)