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Romney campaign calls foul after report of missing emails

November 17, 2011|By Kim Geiger | Washington Bureau
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya )

Seeking to downplay a report that records from Mitt Romney’s time as governor of Massachusetts were removed and destroyed before he left office, the Romney campaign on Thursday charged that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is using his post as an “opposition research arm” of President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades told the Associated Press that Patrick’s attorneys improperly revealed to the Boston Globe that Romney aides had purchased their state-issued computer drives when they left the administration.

Eleven of Romney’s aides bought their hard drives from the state, the administration’s emails were wiped from a server and officials had other computers replaced before Patrick took over in January 2007, the Globe reported Thursday.

Romney has effectively been campaigning for president ever since, so reporters have for years been scouring his record in search of interesting tidbits from his time in office.

Patrick’s office has been “bombarded” with requests for records from the Romney years but has no electronic records of emails to turn over, the Globe reports.

The implication is that Romney, gearing up for a presidential run, sought to clear from the record any details from his time in the “corner office ” – as they say in Massachusetts, since the governor there does not occupy an official residence  – that might embarrass him as the media stepped up scrutiny of the presidential hopeful.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, a Democrat, told the Globe that it was  unusual for employees to buy their computer drives from the state.

“I don’t sell things to people who work for me,” he said. "I’ve heard of people getting their chair or something as a gift. But generally if you work for me you don’t take your laptop with you when you leave.”

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney’s campaign, told the Globe that Romney’s staff “complied with the law and longtime executive branch practice,” and that Patrick was “doing the Obama campaign’s dirty work.”

Rhoades continued that line of attack Thursday when he told the AP that Patrick was attempting to embarrass Romney, and  he called on Patrick to release records of communications between his office and Obama senior advisors.

The Democratic National Committee responded Thursday night by submitting a public records request for records relating to requests by Romney staff to destroy or purchase records or computer hard drives. It also asked the agency to estimate the cost of providing records that include terms like "delete emails," "change position," "flip-flop," "political expediency," and "move to the right."

kim.geiger@latimes.com

Michael A. Memoli in the Washington Bureau contributed to this report.

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