Chairman Rod Smith Calls on Legislature to Investigate Gov. Scott's Missing Emails
August 23, 2011
Mike Haridopolos, Senate President
420 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Dean Cannon, Speaker of the House
420 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Senate President Haridopolos and Speaker Cannon:
The acknowledgement by the Governor’s office that they have deleted public record emails has greatly concerned the citizens of Florida. If proven to have been an intentional act, these events raise Constitutional and governance issues of the highest order.
Enshrined in our State’s Constitution, and in Florida Statutes, are public record laws aimed at ensuring that every citizen has open access to their government. The “Public Records Law” was established in 1909 under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes and applies beyond written documents to various electronic forms of communication, including email. Florida’s public records laws are some of the most stringent in the country and public records ensure an open and honest government.
On Friday, the Governor ordered an investigation of this matter by FDLE, an agency under the direct authority of his office. While I have the greatest respect for FDLE and the good work that they do, it is inappropriate to assign them to investigate the Governor’s Office when the Governor appoints the director of FDLE. General principles governing conflicts of interest and the avoidance of any appearance of impropriety, as well as the need for public confidence, would call into question the outcome of such an investigation.
Considering the seriousness of this matter, and how close it may touch upon the Governor and his inner circle, I am calling on the Senate and House to convene a select committee to conduct an independent investigation that should include public hearings and the appointment of an independent special council.
Today, we join concerned citizens throughout the state in calling on our representatives to order a truly independent investigation.
Floridians deserve answers. And they deserve a process they can trust.
Chairman, Florida Democratic Party