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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The tweet that tweaked Pam Bondi

22

January

 TALLAHASSEE -- Don't underestimate a tweet. They get read. And sometimes, they can annoy the powers that be.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was in a meeting Tuesday when a staffer interrupted to show her this tweet from the League of Women Voters Florida: "Sen. Darren Soto expresses concern about revolving door issue at the FL Attorney General's office and asks for regulation."

The tweet refers to the practice of staffers leaving state agencies to work for firms that then lobby the agency they left. Soto mentioned the Attorney General's office in a hypothetical scenario, but didn't intend to besmirch Bondi's office.

Minutes after the tweet,  Bondi dropped by the Senate Ethics Committee meeting that was a 5-minute walk from her office. As she sat down, Committee Chair Jack Latvala welcomed Bondi and asked her why she was visiting.

"I heard disparaging remarks made about my office," she told Latvala, who looked startled but continued with the meeting.

Minutes later, it was time for Bondi to explain.

 “I tell ya, I didn’t hear any disparaging remarks about your office, but if you’d like to come speak to us about ethics, it’s a great day in Florida and we’d be happy to hear from you,” Latvala told Bondi.

“Thank you,” Bondi replied. “I think maybe, perhaps, someone tweeted out something that misrepresented what a senator perhaps said. I guess it got sent out that I had a revolving door at my office. But if anyone has any questions with employees at my office, I guess that got misconstrued in a tweet. I know that’s shocking to hear that can happen. So I just wanted to be here if anyone had any questions.”

“I didn’t tweet,” Latvala quipped.

“I just wanted to be here if anyone had any questions,” Bondi said.

“I do apologize," Soto said, cutting in. "We were talking here ..If it was taken that way, that was not the intent. “ (NOTE: Soto didn't tweet it).

"Thank you," Bondi said.

"I didn’t hear anything that was disparaging," Latvala said. 

"Thank you," Bondi said. "May I address the committee?  If you ever have any questions regarding my office, please come sit down with me."

As Bondi left, she added: "I actually got pulled out of a meeting."

 Later, the League of Women Voters tweeted this: "We apologize to  @ AGPamBondi for incorrectly paraphrasing Sen. Soto's remarks about revolving door issue, and we respect her office."

In the hallway, it seemed that Bondi had moved on.

 "I don’t want to create something that wasn’t there, but someone tweeted my office needs reform because of a revolving door," Bondi said. "I’m very proud of my office and my staff and the hard work that we do, I wanted to be able to respond."

Why so sensitive? Well, Soto, an Orlando Democrat, and Bondi go back. In 2011, he wrote a press release with Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat who also sits on the Ethics Committee that said this: 

“A number of troubling questions have come to our attention involving past and current 
employees of the Attorney General’s office and at least one mortgage processing company
currently under investigation. In particular, we are especially concerned with the sudden departure to Lender
Processing Services of your former special counsel, Joe Jacquot, and the subsequent dismissal of
two apparently top notch foreclosure fraud attorneys – June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards -
from the Department of Legal Affairs.
Now that's a revolving door.

See below for press release.

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:30pm]

    

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