"Romney Spent $100,000 In Taxpayer Money To Conceal Digital Records"
Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spent almost $100,000 in taxpayer funds to replace computers when he left office “as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret,” Reuters reports. As ThinkProgress has previously noted, Romney led an obfuscation campaign that state officials described as “unheard of.” Staffers deleted emails, purchased official hard drives, and otherwise obliterating digital records of Romney’s time in office.
As the presidential candidate himself explained, these efforts were designed to prevent “the opposition research team” from accessing what should be public records.
Now, according to Reuters, Romney used state funds to carry out this political activity:
The cleanup of records by Romney’s staff before his term ended included spending $205,000 for a three-year lease on new computers for the governor’s office, according to official documents and state officials.
In signing the lease, Romney aides broke an earlier three-year lease that provided the same number of computers for about half the cost – $108,000. Lease documents obtained by Reuters under the state’s freedom of information law indicate that the broken lease still had 18 months to run.
As a result of the change in leases, the cost to the state for computers in the governor’s office was an additional $97,000.
Unfortunately for Romney, the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office announced today that it will allow public access to hundreds of previously off-limits boxes of official records from the former governor’s time in office. Romney has argued that while the law required him to turn over those paper documents to the state archives, they should be kept off limits from the public.