Republicans who are trying to blame Obama for the missing IRS emails need to look in the mirror. Gov. Scott Walker, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have all had emails go missing, hidden, or intentionally destroyed.
Here are just a few of the Republicans who have either wiped hard drives, or lost emails:
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney – The Bush White House was the Republican founding father of private email systems. In order to avoid public accountability the Bush administration used a private email network on RNC servers. The Bush administration also lost 22 million emails. They just so happened to lose the emails from the architects of Bush’s torture policy. Within those 22 million lost emails were five million emails that were lost relating to the 2007 firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. The Bush administration denied for years that any emails were lost, but as part of settling a lawsuit, eventually admitted that twenty-two million emails had been lost. The Obama administration tried to clean up the Bush mess, but was only able to restore 61 days worth of emails.
Mitt Romney – According to The Boston Globe, “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.” This meant that the emails from Romney’s entire time in office (2002-2006) were deleted.
Scott Walker – Much like the Bush administration, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker used a secret email system to keep his correspondence hidden from the public when he was Milwaukee County executive, “Thousands of documents unsealed Wednesday link Gov. Scott Walker to a secret email system used in his office that would avoid public scrutiny when he was Milwaukee County executive.”
Sarah Palin – We first wrote about Palin’s missing emails four years ago, so for those who are discovering this fun fact today, welcome to the party. The Palin administration intentionally made those who requested emails wait for years, and then they redacted and didn’t include all of the emails. As Sarah Jones wrote in 2010, “So, after a year and a half, we are supposed to believe the administration just left out the emails from June 07-Dec 07 during the submission period. They’re going to “look into” why they weren’t included. No reason was given, apparently, but we were treated to a reason for the redaction of other emails. Apparently in this new “democracy”, “messaging” and “myth busting” are now protected by executive privilege. I know, you thought that was only for Dick Cheney. Palin and Dick have never seen an obstruction to transparency they didn’t embrace. Information is not for the people. The rabble.”
On the federal level emails get lost regularly because most government computer systems are ancient. For example, the system that the IRS is using is from the 1990s. As CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan put it, “The loss of Ms. Lerner’s emails is just another example of deficient government record keeping. Emails by former Justice Department official and author of the ‘torture’ memos John Yoo disappeared, SEC records regarding the Madoff investigation vanished, and millions of emails from the George W. Bush White House were lost. Where was the outrage in those cases? This issue is bigger than any single government component.”
Republicans want to get outraged over an email loss that has no connection to President Obama, but don’t want to discuss the behavior of Bush, Cheney, Romney, Palin, and Walker. The latter three were not federal officials, and can’t blame antiquated computer systems for the missing emails. Republicans can walk down this path if they want, but they aren’t going to like where it goes.
Hypocrisy is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the top Republicans in the country intentionally conspired to keep information out of public hands. The actions taken to avoid transparency by so many Republicans is a much larger scandal than some emails that couldn’t be pulled off of some twenty year old computers.