The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Server

by Alec MacGillis | November 17, 2011

When I was reporting my piece in the current issue of the magazine about Mitt Romney's past enthusiasm for anti-car, anti-sprawl smart-growth policies, I thought about putting in a Freedom of Information request for any relevant correspondence from Romney's gubernatorial files, but decided against it because of the time constraints I was under. Turns out that I wouldn't have gotten anything back anyway, based on what the Boston Globe reported today:

Just before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor’s office and first ran for president, 11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s e-mails were all wiped from a server, according to interviews and records obtained by the Globe.
Romney administration officials had the remaining computers in the governor’s office replaced just before Governor Deval Patrick’s staff showed up to take power in January 2007, according to Mark Reilly, Patrick’s chief legal counsel.
As a result, Patrick’s office, which has been bombarded with inquiries for records from the Romney era, has no electronic record of any Romney administration e-mails, Reilly said.

Wow. This is outdoing even Rick Perry, who has been roundly criticized in the Texas press for his administration's policy of deleting emails deemed unimportant and "transitory" every seven days, a practice it halted under pressure in September. But having your top staffers buy their hard drives and take them home with them as a souvenir -- that's taking things a step further. It certainly confirms that Romney in 2006 was dead serious about running for president (despite what he's said more recently about his deep reluctance to run for the White House.)

The hard drives cost the Romney aides $65 each. What makes me think that the odds of that $65 being reimbursed by the boss -- in some form or other -- are about as good as the odds of a Mike Bloomberg campaign aide being able to expense a nice Manhattan lunch?

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-stump/97583/the-eternal-sunshine-the-spotless-server