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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Mark Pafford asking questions about Rick Scott's 'private' budget signing

State Rep. Mark Pafford today sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott asking about Scott's "private" state budget signing event May 26 at The Villages retirement community. Pafford, a Democrat from West Palm Beach, wants to know if the event violated state laws because some Democrats were removed from the event.

"Reports from the press, media and at least one video aired on YouTube suggest that Sheriff’s deputies removed selected attendees from the ceremony, possibly at the request of the Governor’s Office. Those same sources, and my interpretation of the reports and video, indicate that those removed were participants who did not support the budget or who were wearing shirts or holding signs indicating their objection to your administration," Pafford wrote.

Background on the budget signing is here and here.

Pafford's full letter is below the jump.

June 2, 2011

The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor, State of Florida
The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL  32399-0001

Dear Governor Scott:

Following the state budget signing ceremony on Thursday, May 26, I have been asked numerous times if the event crossed any lines relating to the Florida Constitution, the Sunshine Law or other Florida statutes.

Reports from the press, media and at least one video aired on YouTube suggest that Sheriff’s deputies removed selected attendees from the ceremony, possibly at the request of the Governor’s Office. Those same sources, and my interpretation of the reports and video, indicate that those removed were participants who did not support the budget or who were wearing shirts or holding signs indicating their objection to your administration.

Florida Statute 119.07 permits the request of public records that may assist in resolving the numerous questions that have arisen as a result of the ceremony.  Rather that invoking 119.07, I am requesting that your office simply respond to some specific questions related to the event, and resolve the matter.

Respectfully, I request responses to the following questions:

·         Was the event public or private and how was it promoted?
·         Who had the authority to direct security and crowd control for the event and who made the decision to remove attendees?
·         Which state employees were in attendance and were they reimbursed for travel?
·         Were Sumter County Sheriff’s deputies contracted and by whom?
·         Were participants removed at the request of the Governor’s Office? If so, why?

Thank you in advance for responding to these questions and providing any other information you or your staff feel is important to better understanding what exactly happened at the budget signing ceremony.

I look forward to your response and appreciate your assistance and cooperation regarding this matter.

Sincerely,
MARK PAFFORD
State Representative, District 88

[Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011 1:31pm]

    

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