By Andy Metzger
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON -- Fresh off a rhetorical exchange with a parody Twitter account, the Republican seeking the state's chief record-keeping office said it is "insane and absurd" that Secretary of State William Galvin is charging him $5,300 for records on Galvin's public service ad spending.
"These are the people's documents," said Malden City Councilor David D'Arcangelo, the Republican candidate for secretary of state. He told the News Service, "We're asking basic questions here and he doesn't want to provide it."
At a press conference announcing the order of questions on the November ballot Thursday, Galvin defended the fee and accused D'Arcangelo of trying to make a spectacle.
"I don't use my employees for campaign purposes, and he can't use public employees for opposition research either. He has to pay a reasonable fee for information he needs," Galvin said when asked about D'Arcangelo's comments. He said, "I think it's pretty obvious Mr. D'Arcangelo's not interested in it materially as much as he is interested in talking about it."
Galvin, a Brighton Democrat who first took office as the overseer of records and elections in 1995, said his staff has replied promptly to D'Arcangelo, who he said refused to "narrow the scope" of his inquiry, which would require a lot of work to complete.
D'Arcangelo has suggested Galvin's public service television advertisements have raised his own political profile, and said he has sought the number of ads, their costs, and the people who worked on the production through Galvin's tenure.
"You're talking over 19 years, roughly two to three hundred dollars a year. We don't even know if some of these documents exist. I mean this is a farce. He's not really interested in this material. This issue has long since been discussed. These PSAs have been very public. Everybody knows about it. People in the press have written about it previously," Galvin said. "He just wants something to talk about because obviously he doesn't have anything else to talk about."
D'Arcangelo told the News Service he would make government more transparent if elected to the office, and said Galvin's approach is "in the same vein" as the National Security Agency and the Internal Revenue Service, which have been engulfed in scandal over record retention.
"We're one of the worst in the nation," said D'Arcangelo, noting that the appeals of record request denials also go through Galvin's office. He said, "That happened under his reign. Under my reign, I will open it up."
In 2012, Galvin said he steers clear of advertising in the run-up to an election where he is on the ballot.
"I've never participated in a pre-election advertisement. I do not appear or promote public money for advertising in election years when I'm a candidate," said Galvin. He said, "We don't advertise the office. We advertise the issues that the office deals with."
Earlier this week, D'Arcangelo took to Twitter to complain about Galvin "duckin" his public records request, eliciting a response Wednesday from a parody account, which uses a photo of Galvin, lists its name as "Not Bill Galvin" and goes by the handle @LordOfTheHill, making satirical comments in the guise of the pol.
D'Arcangelo responded playfully, writing, "what are you hiding, why won't you release the PSA documents? Was that you that sent 25 pizza's to my house?"
After the press conference ended, Galvin noted that he had seen the Twitter exchange, and asked a reporter to alert him if the identity of "my nemesis" is ever learned, calling it "one of the great mysteries."
D'Arcangelo's campaign chairwoman, Charlestown Republican Barbara Bush, attended Galvin's Thursday morning presser and told the News Service she would have asked Galvin about the public records request if a reporter had not.