Saturday, November 19, 2011

Don't Throw Those Out: The Travesty of Eliminating Political Records

As someone who is writing an extensive book on Senate campaigns using archival materials, this story about Governor Romney's disposal of gubernatorial records is disturbing. See here.

Yes, Governor Romney abided by state law. And yes, Governor Romney did preserve some of those records and sent them on to the state archives. But in the end, posterity and history have lost. The State of Massachusetts should establish clearer and firmer guidelines on the preservation of political records, similar to those established by the United States Senate and the United States House. These materials are absolutely invaluable to the researcher, and essential for government transparency. Issues of privacy can be easily worked out by establishing clear restrictions on particular types of materials and closing such records for an extended period of time.

How can we ever hope to learn from our mistakes and successes if we aren't allowed to study them?

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