The wrong candidate to push ‘transparency’

Nearly six years ago, Mitt Romney decided he had a pretty credible shot at the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Once that judgment had been made, the governor put together a to-do list.

First, Romney had to announce he wouldn’t seek a second term, in large part because he’d lose and it would interfere with his ambitions. Second, he had to trash his entire worldview and adopt a new one that might be more palatable to GOP primary voters.

And finally, it was time to deal with all of those emails.

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.

“The governor’s office has found no e-mails from 2002-2006 in our possession,” Reilly said in a statement. “Before the current administration took office, the computers used during that time period were replaced and the server used during that time period was taken out of service, all files were removed from it, and it was also replaced.”

Romney’s campaign said the former one-term governor did nothing wrong and has nothing to hide, and all of those emails were erased because, well, just because.

The consensus seems to be that Romney and his team did not violate the letter of the state’s Public Records Law, but it does seem strange that 11 Romney administration officials felt the need to buy 17 hard drives from the governor’s office for no apparent reason.

Secretary of State William Galvin told the Globe that sales of state property to private individuals is “odd.”

Maybe Romney ought to revisit those complaints about “transparency” in the Obama administration.