WASHINGTON — In the final weeks of Mitt Romney's term as Massachusetts governor, a small team of aides combed through statehouse filing cabinets. They filled more than 630 cartons with papers destined for the state archives as the primary documentary legacy of his administration. One floor, though, was almost completely off limits to them: Romney's inner sanctum, his third-floor office.
Romney's selective policy toward public access and preservation of his executive records raises stark questions about how transparent his administration would be if he were to become president. He's not alone. Other leading candidates for the presidency — incumbent Barack Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry — have touted their commitment to transparency, but their administrations also have been selective at times in the records they disclose. They have limited, stalled or denied access when it suited their purposes.