When Mother Jones magazine asked the Arkansas governor’s office for records generated during Mike Huckabee’s tenure, the response they got was, well, not encouraging …
[New governor Mike] Beebe’s chief legal counsel, Tim Gauger, replied in a letter that “former Governor Huckabee did not leave behind any hard-copies of the types of documents you seek. Moreover, at that time, all of the computers used by former Governor Huckabee and his staff had already been removed from the office and, as we understand it, the hard-drives in those computers had already been ‘cleaned’ and physically destroyed.”
He added, “In short, our office does not possess, does not have access to, and is not the custodian of any of the records you seek.”
Thankfully, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives harvests a great deal of data from the governor’s office before he/she leaves office, so Kentuckians needn’t worry too much about this kind of thing happening. But it’s an object lesson in what can happen when one branch of government is able to effectively hide its own performance record from citizens.