December 6, 2011
Before preparing to launch his first presidential bid in 2007 aides for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney paid nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money to order hard drives from his time as governor erased and destroyed.
According to reports Romney’s staff purchased the hard drives of their state-issued computers and then proceeded to wipe out emails from state servers before signing a lease for new computers for the governor’s office, breaking a former lease and costing the state $97,000.
Former Romney representatives say the practice followed all proper uses of law and precedent however the former director of administration for the Governor’s office says the efforts to wipe out all forms of records was unprecedented in her 23 years of serving successive Governors.
Massachusetts state laws have not been updated to include digital records requests which has caused an influx of requests for paper records from Romney’s time as governor, including some documents he failed to destroy before leaving office. In the meantime Romney has argued that a 1997 state court ruling states that governor records in the state are not subject to disclosure, a contention that is being fought against by various public records rights activists.