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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Justin Sayfie: At the intersection of new media and old-fashioned lobbying



Justin Sayfie recently scored his second sit-down interview with Gov. Rick Scott, which turned into the four-and-a-half minute web video you can watch to the right.

Sayfie is a former spokesman for then-Gov. Jeb Bush and the father of the Sayfie Review, a high-profile web-site in state political circles that features links to daily news reports from newspapers, TV stations and on-line sources along with original content from time to time, like the interview with Scott.

But Sayfie is also registered lobbyist for Pediatrix Medical Group, Google, the University of Miami, among others. And lobbyists have had a difficult time getting access to Scott, who campaigned as an outsider who could the take back the state Capitol from "special interests" and "Tallahassee insiders."

Sayfie says he didn't lobby Scott on behalf of any clients, but deflected a question about whether he might have suggested any names for outstanding gubernatorial appointments before or after the interviews for positions like the Judicial Nominating Commission or the two openings on the Fort Lauderdale attorney's local Broward County school board.

"I will leave it to the governor's office to decide whether they wish to discuss any aspects of our non-interview related conversation," Sayfie said.

The governor's office declined to comment. Scott, however, was asked recently about whether lobbyists, like news reporters, were now allowed into the inner sanctum of his executive office.

"I'm sure the lobbyists have figured out a way to talk to everyone in my administration," Scott said. "I'm sure that they do fine."

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:31pm]


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