In the last few months, we have learned that Mayor Jim Kenney doesn’t use e-mail to communicate with staff and that he had been routinely deleting all of his text messages, potentially eliminating years of public records.

Kenney says he calls his staff and sees them in person to discuss city matters. The mayor himself barely puts anything in writing.

So, we wondered just how common is it for elected officials to have few to zero digital records showing how they do the public’s business?

To find out, we filed several requests through the state Right-to-Know Law asking for the emails and text messages of various elected officials at the municipal, county and state level. We asked for digital communications pertaining to each individual’s government job for the month of March. (State case law says blanket requests for one month of correspondence are considered reasonable.)

We placed the requests last week and have already received two responses. Below are names of those we requested communications for, along with the corresponding response. We will be updating this as we get more answers.

Pennsylvania House Speaker Michael Turzai

Request made: April 16.

Response: The request was denied on April 17. The state House open records officer noted that the Right-to-Know law exempts anything but “legislative records” from the state legislative branch. When the law was draft, the legislative branch made sure that commonwealth agencies and local agencies had to provide all public records, unless otherwise exempted. However, the state legislative agencies would only have to provide legislative records, which are defined by a strict list of 19 items, none of which are correspondence other than a record communicating a legislative appointment.

What it means: The state legislative branch gets to communicate in secret without any accountability.

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati

Request made: April 16.

Response: The request was denied on April 22. The state Senate open records officer said the request for emails and text messages are not legislative records as defined in the Right-to-Know law “and hence are not accessible.” The officer provided copies of four decisions by the state Office of Open Records that ruled that emails and other correspondence by legislative staff are exempt from disclosure.

What it means: The state legislative branch gets to communicate in secret without any accountability.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Montgomery County Commissioners Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Delaware County Council Chairman John McBlain

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.

Philadelphia City Council- All 17 council members

Request made: April 16.

Response: Pending.