Gov. Perry, Who Deletes All Official Emails, Calls For Government Transparency

November 17, 2011 11:02 am ET — Kate Conway

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has already gotten some flak for saying last night on Fox News that "privileged" President Obama "never had to really work for anything." But that wasn't the only comment of note during his interview.

Prompted by host Sean Hannity, Perry went off on a rant about Congress' exemption from compliance with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. "They don't have to show the conversations or the emails or the texts," he complained. "I mean, that's what Americans are really upset with."

HANNITY: Everybody in America would go to jail, governor, except those that work in Washington. Congressmen and senators, they are legally allowed to be involved in insider trading. Can you believe that?

PERRY: People are fed up with this. You know, the Freedom of Information Act, they've exempted themselves from that. They don't have to show the conversations or the emails or the texts, I mean, that's what Americans are really upset with.


Leaving aside the absurdity of suggesting that what frustrated job-seekers are "really upset with" is Congress' FOIA privileges, Perry's complaint about government transparency is hard to take seriously given his own habits as the governor of Texas. Prior to a clever intervention by a government transparency activist, Perry's office was automatically deleting its emails after seven days — the minimum retention time required by law. And a Houston Chronicle report indicates that Perry has made a habit of being less than forthcoming with the public.

Perry may complain bitterly about Washington privileges, but his own behavior suggests that little would change under President Perry.