Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign on Thursday charged Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s (D) office with providing “opposition research” to President Obama’s reelection campaign.
Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Patrick’s office, requesting that staff provide Romney’s campaign with “copies of all email correspondence, phone logs, and visitor logs showing contacts that [Obama advisers] David Axelrod, David Plouffe and [Obama campaign manager] Jim Messina have had with you and members of the Executive Office from 2007 to the present.”
The request is an aggressive move by the campaign, pushing back against a negative report that Romney’s gubernatorial staff wiped out their records when Romney left office as Massachusetts governor in 2007.
“Under state law, a public employee may not provide services to a candidate or campaign during his or her work hours,” Rhoades wrote in the letter accompanying the FOIA request. “Nonetheless, it is evident that your office has become an opposition research arm of the Obama reelection campaign.”
Patrick’s office told The Boston Globe that Romney replaced the majority of the computers in the governor’s office shortly before Patrick took office.
“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,” Patrick’s chief legal counsel Mark Reilly told the paper.
Rhoades slammed Reilly’s participation in the Globe article, writing that “in the absence of a legitimate public records request,” Reilly supplied the paper “with copies of cancelled checks from 2006 documenting the lawful purchase of computer equipment by departing members of the Romney administration.”
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded to the report, saying Romney’s staff “complied with the law and longtime executive branch practice’’ in allowing some members of the staff to buy their computers before leaving office.