Report: Political foe released Tony Bennett's e-mails to AP
The Sunshine State News reports this morning that the woman who replaced Tony Bennett as Indiana superintendent of public instruction fed Bennett's work e-mails to the Associated Press. The AP wrote stories based on the e-mails, stating that Bennett changed the grade of a charter school operated by a political donor, that ended Bennett's career in Florida.
Bennett resigned as Florida education commissioner amid the brouha, saying he didn't want to be a distraction to the state's reform efforts. He claimed vindication this week after a report requested by key Indiana Republican lawmakers found Bennett's actions "plausible."
"It was Tony Bennett's successor in Indiana, Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz, formerly head of the teachers union in Washington Township schools, who turned over Bennett's entire Outlook file -- six months of emails, four years of calendar items, everything -- to Associated Press reporter Tom LoBianco, according to two of Ritz's employees.
"Ritz beat Bennett in the 2012 Indiana general election, becoming the first Democrat to win the job in 42 years. Bennett had been a favorite of former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and the GOP-controlled Legislature.
"Two employees in Ritz's office spoke late Monday to Sunshine State News on condition of anonymity. "Glenda is Tony's sworn enemy," said one of the employees. "She approached Tom (LoBianco) and cooperated with the press right down the line."
"'I think the idea was to destroy what Tony stands for by tainting him with a little dirt,' the second employee added, saying what offended Ritz was his hard-driving agenda of charters, vouchers and high-stakes testing."
The Twitter world instantly started sharing the SSN story this morning, with Bennett supporters saying it proved Bennett was wronged. Bennett detractors, by contrast, expressed thanks that Ritz and her staff made the public records, well, public.