Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says his administration deleted all its emails near the end of his term specifically to frustrate political opponents. Though the move appears unorthodox, if not downright illegal, the Republican presidential candidate claims everything was above board and dismisses the recent flap about the emails as pure politics.
On November 17 the Boston Globe reported that at the end of 2006, just as Romney was leaving office and gearing up for his first presidential run, “11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s emails were all wiped from a server.” In addition, the remaining computers in the Governor’s office were replaced. “As a result,” explains the paper, “[Gov. Deval] Patrick’s office, which has been bombarded with inquires for records from the Romney era, has no electronic record of any Romney administration emails.”
Mark Nielsen, Romney’s chief legal counsel as Governor, told the Globe that the administration “fully complied with the law and complied with longstanding executive branch practice,” a refrain repeated by the Romney campaign. The campaign points out that in 1997 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Governor is not explicitly included in the state Public Records Law, which requires the preservation of electronic communications.
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Photo of Mitt Romney: AP Images