The Boston Globe reports that aides to Mitt Romney wiped e-mails from the state servers and purchased their hard drives effectively eliminating the e-mail trail of actions during their four years as governor.
The Romney administration apparently took advantage of a loophole in the Massachusetts Public Records Law that does not explicitly include the governor's work product. So Mark Nielsen, Romney's chief legal counsel, may indeed be correct about the letter of the law.
But spirit? Eliminating an electronic record of four years as the state's chief executive officer leaves any rational person with the question: what have you got to hide?
The Romney camp is obviously touchy about document elimination and private purchase of hard drives, going into full attack mode. Says campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul:
“In leaving office, the governor’s staff complied with the law and longtime executive branch practice. Some employees exercised the option to purchase computer equipment when they left. They did so openly with personal checks.’’
But to highlight just how unseemly the practice looks to the average person, she accused Deval Patrick of “doing the Obama campaign’s dirty work’’ and called it one in a series of “political attacks to distract from Obama’s horrible record on jobs.’’
Way to misdirect attention away from a blatant slap at the notion of transparency. There are legitimate reasons built into the law to protect certain work product from public disclosure. But to eliminate information wholesale suggests either of two things: a blatant disregard of the public trust or a deep need to hide.
Unless of course the Romney staffers are enjoying the hard drives as unique jewelry items or framed works of art.