With a governor who once invoked the Fifth Amendment 75 times, it's only fitting that his administration instills Mafia codes into its office policy, which seems like something plucked straight from a Martin Scorsese film.
Anyone who's seen the classic movie Casino remembers that the guy who oversaw the "skims," Artie Piscano, had kept expense records that ultimately helped prosecutors take down the scam operation. Piscano died, and the bosses whacked anyone they thought would testify, but nothing could be done about the records. In a scene that foreshadowed the downfall, one boss warned Piscano, "Artie, no records, Artie. What are you gonna do with records? Pay taxes?"
Gov. Rick Scott's policy adviser (or consigliere) feels the same way about records. Mary Anne Carter, a top lieutenant in Scott's crew, purposely avoids creating public records by using her private email account for state business, rather than her public email address, according to a Times/Herald investigation.
"I rarely check and almost never respond to work email because of the open records law," Carter wrote in reply to an email sent from the office of Sen. Bill Nelson.
Communicating through personal email accounts appears to be a common practice among administration members, according to the Times/Herald report. It's also probably illegal because it sharply deviates from behavior encouraged in the Code of Personal Responsibility in the governor's office.
Carter, who is paid $150,000 a year, was a major force behind some of Scott's most questionable moves. She fought hard to strip released felons of civil rights and led the administration through a supershady debacle that ended with disgraced bureaucrat Carl Littlefield getting a $78,000-a-year state job.
Carter's Mafioso-style precaution serves as just one example of the disdain for an informed public that pervades Scott's administration.
"Are there things we don't want you to know? Yes," Brian Burgess, Scott's communications director told the Times/Herald. "There are things we don't want to broadcast to our opponents."
Apparently, Scott's opponents are Floridians who would like to know how their tax dollars are spent. His office has also taken down the website that allows taxpayers to see exactly where federal stimulus money was going. The highly detailed website was replaced with a single page on the governor's website that merely provides vague letters from states to the feds about certain projects they're using the money on.
But do you remember what Scott said back in March, when he launched his own transparency website?
"As taxpayers, you have the right to know how every taxpayer dollar is spent." Really, governor?
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This aversion to transparency only makes it easier to see right through Scott and his administration. It's understandable that Burgess would want to keep some things on the hush. While Carter learned from mobster movies, Burgess seems to favor the Notorious BIG's "Ten Crack Commandments."
And like Biggie said, "Don't you know bad boys move in silence..."