With the Republican Presidential nomination race just about to start, the political scene is going through major changes. Herman Cain dropped out, Newt Gingrich is now the front-runner and Rick Perry has virtually no electoral support. Mitt Romney, the former front-runner and favorite, seemed to have a clean track history, but recent news say that he spent $100,000 in state fund to hide records.
According to Reuters, Mitt Romney spent $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007, in the attempt to keep his records secret.
On top of that, it seems that 11 of Romney’s aides bought the hard drives of the computers used in the governor’s office to keep for themselves. At the same time, all emails along with other electronic communications sent by Romney’s staff have been wiped from state servers.
Mitt Romney responded to this news through his spokesman, who tried to point out that the former governor only followed the law and precedent in deleting the emails, installing new computers and buying hard drives.
Seemingly, what Mitt Romney pulled out was legal, however a little bit unusual for a governor at the end of his term. Reuters points out that Romney made this move only months before he lost the bid in the Republican Presidential nomination race.
Reuters talked with Theresa Dolan, who worked as a director of administration for the governor’s office. She said that what Romney did to hide his records is not illegal, but it is unprecedented. She said that “in her 23 years as an aide to successive governors ‘no one had ever inquired about, or expressed the desire’ to purchase their computer hard drives before Romney’s tenure”.
When doing some back of the envelope calculations, it looks like cleaning up Romney’s records billed the governor’s office $205,000 for a three-year lease on new computers. But, in signing the lease, Romney’s aides broke an earlier three-year lease that allowed them to get the same number of computers for about half of the new price, $108,000.
Although at the first sight Romney’s hiding of his records might be innocent, it’s difficult not to remember that his efforts were said to be “unprecedented” and wonder what kind of information he erased.