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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Egg on Sink's face over DOT 'Sunshine' allegation?



In her official capacity as Florida's chief financial officer, Alex Sink on Tuesday called on Gov. Charlie Crist to conduct an internal investigation of why a top DOT official used words like "French toast" and "pancakes" in the subject header of emails dealing with the SunRail legislation.

Crist promptly ordered his inspector general to review the matter. On Wednesday, Sink, in her capacity as a Democratic candidate for governor, sent an email blast to supporters noting her request and flatly accusing the Crist administration of a Sunshine Law violation.

"It's not cute, nor clever. It is outrageous," Sink's email states in bold type, referring to the use of breakfast terms. "That's why I called on Governor Charlie Crist to investigate this violation of Florida's 'Sunshine Law' and hold every government official involved in this scheme accountable."

UPDATE: Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, issued a statement through his campaign: "CFO Sink's rush to judgment in this serious issue for the apparent goal of political expediency is disturbing." (McCollum has repeatedly criticized Sink for not speaking out  forcefully on a range of issues, such as a public option element of a national health care bill).

Even Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, among the harshest critics of the rail legislation, has not ever accused the state of violating the Sunshine Law in this instance. That's a serious charge, particularly when aimed at the administration that claims to be "the most open" in Florida's history.  

To borrow a breakfast analogy, Sink is going to have a lot of egg on her face if she can't back up the allegation of illegality. Campaign spokesman Paul Dunn says he's looking into it, and Sink spokesman Kyra Jennings says: "It's possible that the campaign may have just made an unintentional misstatement on their email," and urged the media to contact the campaign directly.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:10pm]


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