Five Times Adam Putnam Falsely Promised Accountability, Leadership—and a Full Investigation on Gungate
Putnam Promised a Full Investigation — But New Reports Show He Botched It
After the Tampa Bay Times revealed last month that the Department of Agriculture had issued 365 concealed carry permits without conducting background checks, Adam Putnam tried to reassure Floridians by promising that a full investigation into the scandal had taken place — and the deceitful employee had been held accountable.
Except that wasn't true.
In the past week, reports from three different media outlets have shown that Putnam's reassuring comments in the wake of gungate were filled with falsehoods:
- First, the Associated Press reported that the Agriculture Department's mismanagement of the concealed carry system started much earlier than Putnam had revealed. According to the AP, the Agriculture Department had between 2010 and 2012 issued 99 concealed carry permits without conducting background checks and allowed a felon to become an armed security.
- Second, the Tampa Bay Times published a report detailing the culture of incompetence and negligence that existed at Putnam's agency — debunking Putnam's claim that the problems lay with only one deceitful employee.
- Finally, Politico has published two reports showing that Putnam's office botched the internal investigation into his department's mishandling of the concealed carry system — and then hid it from the public.
This reporting shows that Putnam's initial talking points in the aftermath of the gun scandal — which he repeated ad nauseam — were false:
Five Times Putnam Falsely Promised Accountability on Guns
Putnam Statement: "The Former Employee Was Both Deceitful and Negligent, and We Immediately Launched an Investigation and Implemented Safeguards to Ensure This Never Happens Again. According to the Panama City News Herald, "'To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application. Upon discovery of this former employee's negligence in not conducting the further review required on 365 applications, we immediately completed full background checks on those 365 applications, which resulted in 291 revocations. The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again,' Commissioner Adam Putnam." [Panama City News Herald, 6/8/18]
Putnam in Lynn Haven: "As Soon As I Learned Of That, We Led the Investigation, Put Our Inspector General On It, Revoked Those Licenses, and Have Put in Place Safeguards to Make Sure This Never Happens Again." According to News 13, "Putnam responded by saying, 'as a result 291 individuals who should not have had a concealed weapons license obtained one. As soon as I learned of that, we led the investigation, put our Inspector General on it, revoked those licenses, and have put in place safeguards to make sure this never happens again.'" [News 13, 6/21/18]
Putnam: "I Held People Accountable, And I Held Myself Accountable." At the first GOP primary debate, Putnam Said, "I held people accountable, and I held myself accountable. I went before the press and I answered questions until they ran out of questions." [Fox News Republican Primary Debate, 6/29/18]
Putnam at Sun City: "As Soon As We Learned About it We Acted Upon It. We Are Talking About a Very Important Process for the Concealed Weapon License Process." According to the Naples Daily News, "Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said his office called for the internal audit and fired the worker responsible last year after discovering background checks weren't completed for some applicants seeking concealed weapon permits. 'There's no question that this is an issue that as as soon as we learned about it we acted upon it. We are talking about a very important process for the concealed weapon license process,' Putnam said. Putnam responded Saturday, during a campaign stop in Sun City Center for his gubernatorial bid, to reports that more than 100,000 background checks were not completed last year for concealed weapon permits." [Naples Daily News, 6/17/18]
Putnam on Rick Scott Calling Him Out: "We Took Immediate Action and the Negligent and Deceitful Employee No Longer Works at the Agency." According to the Tampa Bay Times, "Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, blamed the incident on the employee, who was later fired. 'I completely agree with the Governor,' Putnam said in a statement Monday. 'That's why we took immediate action and the negligent and deceitful employee no longer works at the agency.'" [Tampa Bay Times, 6/11/18]