Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

Adam Putnam on King Ranch hunting trips: Better than golf

TALLAHASSEE — The closest any Florida public official came to providing answers about hunting trips to King Ranch came after a June 17 meeting of the state Cabinet. As Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam walked from the meeting to his office in the Capitol, a Times/Herald reporter asked him about his trips. Here is an edited transcript of the interview:

Can you explain when you've gone to King Ranch and for what purposes?

I have been there for campaign purposes as well as to see more of their ag operations.

Which ag operations?

You know, they are significant agricultural players in the state of Florida.

How so?

They are one of the largest citrus growers in the state, as well as, they continue to be active in cattle, sod and sugar.

Did you hunt during these trips?

The campaign event was a hunting trip, yes.

How many times have you been?

I'll have to check.

More than a handful?

No.

What game did you hunt?

Deer, hogs.

Who paid for the trips?

They were Republican Party of Florida fundraisers.

Can you get us the dates?

I'll ask the Republican Party to work with you on that since it was a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida.

Can you describe who attended with you?

No.

You weren't by yourself?

No, no. It was like a fundraiser.

So who were the other attendees?

I couldn't give you an answer straight out of a Cabinet meeting, and we don't typically comment on everyone who participates in all of our campaign activities either.

But isn't it prudent to ask the agricultural commissioner about a trip to King Ranch in Texas?

I'm the ag commissioner. I don't play golf. So I use hunting trips frequently as a method of raising funds to campaign for both my re-election and for the party.

How did you get there?

I'll have to refer all of the details to the Republican Party of Florida since it was a fundraiser for them ...

But you don't recall how you got there?

... but I flew.

Who flew you?

Thank you.

Can you just say who flew you?

You'll have to talk to the Republican Party of Florida since it was their fundraiser.

Why can't you answer the question?

Putnam spokeswoman Erin Gillespie: Thank you. (closes door of Putnam's Capitol office so reporter can't follow Putnam)

Postscript: If Putnam asked the party to get information to a reporter, officials did not do so. When told of this, Gillespie, in a July 9 email, referred all questions to the party.

Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 8 hours ago
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18