The Democratic National Committee is now requesting records sent during Gov. Mitt Romney’s tenure in office in Massachusetts, filing a Freedom of Information Act request just hours after Romney’s campaign used the same means to request records of correspondence between President Obama’s re-election staff and current Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick.
According to the DNC, the formal paperwork was filed because, “Americans deserve to know whether the Romney administration deliberately sought to delete public records in anticipation of requests regarding Gov. Romney’s record on a range of issues – from abortion to health care – and how he reached policy decisions when in office.”
An article in the Boston Globe earlier today launched the back-and-forth requests, unveiling an investigation into Romney aides who the paper claimed tried to digitally cleanse Romney’s office in 2006 when he was still governor of Massachusetts. The piece led Romney’s presidential campaign to accuse his gubernatorial successor – Obama ally Patrick – of being “an opposition research arm of the Obama re-election campaign.”
Now, the DNC is asking the state of Massachusetts for any electronic correspondence dated between Jan. 3, 2003 and Jan. 4, 2007 between any of the 11 aides described in the Boston Globe investigation as having purchased hard drives and working to wipe a digital data server prior to leaving office.
Eleven of Romney’s top aides purchased 17 state-issued hard drives for $65 each, some doing so just weeks before Gov. Patrick – a Democrat and strong supporter of President Obama – took office, effectively obliterating the electronic record of the Romney administration, the Globe reported.
In a statement to the paper, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul had this to say: “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.”
Saul did not immediately respond to the DNC records request.
Following the Globe’s article today, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades responded and submitted a Freedom of Information Act request asking that Patrick’s office make public all email correspondence, phone logs and visitor logs showing contacts that his office has had with Obama campaign figures David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Jim Messina.
In the letter to Patrick”s office, Rhoades wrote, “State law strictly prohibits you and your staff from using public resources for political campaign purposes. Under state law, a public employee may not provide services to a candidate or campaign during his or her work hours.”
“Nonetheless, it is evident that your office has become an opposition research arm of the Obama re-election campaign,” Rhoades continued, making reference to the Globe investigation and accusing Patrick”s chief legal counsel of supplying the paper with copies of checks used by Romney staffers to buy the computers.
“This action was nothing more than a weak attempt to disparage practices that you know were in complete compliance with the law,” wrote Rhoades.