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Filemaker Sleeps With The Fishes June 6, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.



FITSNews – June 6, 2007 – Last month we introduced the world to Filemaker, the private political laptop of S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford. Filemaker, which includes (included?) detailed personal information about all of the governor’s top-dollar donors and political contacts, used to sit on a ledge outside of Sanford’s office on the first floor of the South Carolina State House. While residing there, state employees working on taxpayer time would frequently enter and edit information for future use on Sanford’s political campaigns, fundraising efforts … even the governor’s personal Christmas Card list.

Since the laptop was housed on government property, received its power from government electricity and was built in large part by government personnel, we figured it was naturally something that would fall under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. Which means we would have a right to see its contents, even if its owner didn’t like to wax incessantly about how “sunlight is the ultimate disinfectant in the political process.”

Well, according to the governor’s response to FITSNews‘ recent attempt to exercise our right, we are now officially being told that Sanford’s secret Filemaker database never existed.

In a letter dated June 4, 2007, Sanford’s Legal Counselor Sarah Forbes-Jones writes:

“The only records responsive to your request, pursuant to S.C. Code Section 30-4-20 (c), and in possession of the Governor’s Office are those contained in the Correspondence mail log, which is compiled through a customized version of the commercial softward, Filemaker Pro, purchased on behalf of the Office of the Governor.”

In case you don’t speak legalese, Sanford’s office is saying that it never kept a secret campaign database on location at the State House, never powered the laptop with state electricity and never had state employees enter information into it. Of course, as a consolation prize we are apparently more than welcome to look through the “Correspondence mail log,” i.e. a detailed record of every nut job letter the governor has ever received.

So much for sunlight.

We talked to a former Sanford staffer shortly after publishing our original Filemaker story last month, one who frequently accessed and updated the governor’s little black laptop on taxpayer time.

“Does Filemaker exist?” the staffer said. “Let me put it to you this way, the only time I ever got in trouble in the Governor’s Office was when I didn’t use Filemaker.”

Several other current and former Governor’s Office staff members have also acknowledged the existence of the secret database.

Our guess is that shortly after our original Filemaker story appeared on FITSNews, the governor’s staff probably sent the little laptop to the bottom of the Congaree River.

Which sucks, because dredging a river with nothing but a canoe and two paddles is going to be a real bitch.

The whole episode is sad because we still respect Gov. Sanford’s position on the vast majority of issues facing this state. We wish he was a little more consistent and a little more capable in advancing those issues, but compared to the taxpayer disaster zone otherwise known as the S.C. General Assembly, Sanford offers the occasional ray of hope.

Unfortunately those rays don’t reach the bottom of a river, which is where this governor’s definition of “sunlight” currently resides, irrespective of what he did with his little black laptop.

Filemaker may not literally “sleep with the fishes,” but it saddens us to see that Mark Sanford’s commitment to honesty and integrity apparently do.



1. The Very Sour Scribe - June 6, 2007

Filemaker is a shakey program at best, a piece of crap really; I’m surprized the governor uses it at all. Anyone can easily access the data in it. Sort of like filing an FOIA to find to access who actually wrote this crap above.

The Governors Doner List, is already public information asshead.
What are you anyway, some SLED internet operative? Oh my.

However, what you really want to look at his doner list then be sure to look at his expenditures; there you will find itt.

Much Love, Sour

2. Moderation - June 7, 2007

Moderation is a pain, isn’t it? We’ll be here for you, and we will be joining others out on the Blogway to get our message out.

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