Democratic presidential hopeful and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley deleted virtually all of the messages from his primary, private email address, leaving constituent complaints and spam in an archive.
O’Malley’s official Maryland state government email address was likely linked primarily to an online form for constituent comments, while his private account was used to conduct government business, a Maryland official said.
Other than the official account, the Maryland State Archives did “not receive any digital data from the governor’s office” after O’Malley completed his second term in 2015, said Acting State Archivist Tim Baker. All but a few of the emails from the private account were deleted.
About 550,000 constituent comments and spam comments were archived. “It doesn’t look like there was an outbox associated with the email account. It doesn’t appear to us that any emails went to the governor or were sent from the governor,” Baker said.
Private account emails that weren’t deleted were given to the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. Some of his emails were also released in response to formal information requests while O’Malley was in office.
As a result, virtually all of O’Malley’s emails concerning state business while he was governor are unavailable to voters in assessing his candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
“The limited disclosure of Gov. O’Malley’s emails in his time in office is very disappointing,” said Director of Transparency and Accountability for Common Cause Maryland, a watchdog group, Noel Isama “The people of Maryland and the American people expect a certain level of transparency and openness.”
Meanwhile, O’Malley vows to “insist on transparent, accountable, high-preforming government” according to his campaign website. “But above all, it means our government must precisely measure its progress and present that information in an accessible, transparent way to the public.”
The deletion of most of his emails may also explain why O’Malley has dodged questions regarding the email scandal surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is overwhelmingly favored in current polls.
“In our state, whether you used a personal email or a public email or a carrier pigeon, it was all a public record subject to disclosure,” O’Malley said at the Brookings Institution in March. He also said he was “a little sick of the email drama.”
Haley Morris, an O’Malley spokesman, also pointed out this comment by O’Malley during the Brookings address:
“We had a retention policy, and unless there was open litigation or an open [Freedom of Information Act] request, we would generally hold onto those [emails] over a certain number of weeks and then delete them or purge them from our system,” O’Malley said. “But we always abided by whatever the state law was on that. There’s no archiving requirement in Maryland on emails.”
O’Malley’s campaign, however, declined to comment on how the practice of purging emails reflected his stance on government openness.
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