With his pledge to not only be a governor who uses e-mail, but to recognize that e-mail messages are public records and should be released as such, North Carolina attorney Bill Graham, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, is quickly building a reputation as a politician with a good open-government mentality.
"If you guys want to see my e-mails, come on by. . . . Anyone who writes an email should figure it’s going to be published on the front of The New York Times, and if they don’t want it put there, then don’t write the e-mail," Graham told the Associated Press.
E-mail-related scandals are everywhere these days. Current North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley is in the midst of a lawsuit alleging his office illegally destroyed e-mail messages.
In Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt has sent a bill for $540,000 to the state’s attorney general for the cost of retrieving e-mail messages from Blunt’s office. And the White House has admitted that millions of e-mail messages sent between 2003 and 2005 may never be retrieved because it destroyed old hard drives.
Graham has the right idea. E-mail records created by officials in the course of their publicly-funded jobs should absolutely be made available — to the Times, or to any average Joe who’s interested. Glad to see somebody’s got it straight.