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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Holly Benson's pricey emails



Want to see whom Holly Benson corresponded with when she was the head of the Agency for Health Care Administration? Well, it'll cost you about $20,000.

Actually, it will cost Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's attorney general campaign that much. Benson, who resigned her AHCA post this morning, is likely to run against her fellow Republican for the seat. A major reason the cost is so high: AHCA says it needs an attorney to review the emails to ensure that confidential health information isn't disclosed. Also of interest: Thousands of emails stemming from Benson's earlier tenure as the chief of DBPR.

The emails could contain information that could be used against Benson in a campaign. But then, it might be a bunch of boring healthcare/business reg chatter. Amid all the rumblings about Benson's plans, Kottkamp's political advisor, Rocky Pennington, requested Benson's email correspondence last month. This morning, AHCA wrote back in an email:

"There were about 48,000 emails. At 1 minute per email to review, that would be 800 hours at $25/hr, which is the lowest attorney salary. So we would need $20K up front before we do the review.  However, if you don’t need all emails maybe there are only specific ones you are looking for please let us know that. Thanks."

Is this the same most-open-administration-ever of Gov. Charlie Crist? Sure, it's open. But for a price that could help solve Florida's budget crisis.

--Marc Caputo

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:23pm]


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