Gov. Rick Scott loves to tout how open his office is to records requests -- never mind the outrageous price tag -- but it gets a little tough to acquire public records when they magically disappear.
That's what happened to the St. Petersburg Times' Capitol reporter Michael C. Bender, he wrote last night, when he went looking for some emails from the governor and his transition team while he was Florida's governor-elect.
Bender says his paper requested the documents in January, and yesterday -- which was August 18 -- Scott's office decided to let him know that they're pretty sure all those emails they requested were deleted in January.
The governor's office claims that the email accounts were being managed by a private company, and when Scott's transition to governor took place, they deleted as many as 50 email accounts, including the governor's.
While it would seem that destroying public records is a likely violation of the state's public records laws, Scott told the paper he "didn't do email much," which is fine and dandy, but we're sure Bender would like proof of that.
Most of Florida's administrative code includes rules for maintaining public records, but also includes rules for disposing of public records -- which includes documenting the destruction, something else that didn't happen in the email debacle.
In St. Petersburg, politicking blogger Peter Schorsch mentions a "Nixonian" parallel the governor is drawing -- and this latest stunt furthers his point.
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"We all know that the Scott administration, like the school child who blames the dog for eating their homework, is full of s**t," he says. "It would be easier to understand and forgive the Scott administration for 'accidentally' deleting emails if it did not already possess a Nixonian regard for open government laws."