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Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Steve Bousquet

Steve Bousquet is the Tampa Bay Times' Tallahassee bureau chief. He joined the Times in 2001 after 17 years at the Miami Herald, where he held a variety of positions including Tallahassee bureau chief, and he previously was a reporter at TV stations in Miami and Providence, R.I. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Rhode Island and a master's in history from Florida State University.

Bousquet was a contributor to two editions of The Almanac of Florida Politics and to The Miami Herald Report: Democracy Held Hostage, an account of the 2000 presidential recount in Florida.

Phone: (850) 224-7263

Email: sbousquet@tampabay.com

Twitter: @SteveBousquet

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  1. Gov. Scott's office confirms it eyed La. official in place of McCarty

    Blog

    UPDATE: Gov. Rick Scott's office confirms that it sought to recruit a Louisiana insurance official as a possible replacement for Florida insurance regulator Kevin McCarty before Scott publicly suggested last week that McCarty be replaced.

    An online news service that covers the insurance industry, SNL, first reported that Scott's office asked Louisiana Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Advocacy Ron Henderson to interview for McCarty's job weeks before Scott said he was looking for "new leadership" at OIR. SNL said it learned about Scott's interest in Henderson from Henderson's boss, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner James Donelon, who alerted McCarty....

    Gov. Rick Scott publicly suggested last week that Florida insurance regulator Kevin McCarty, left, be replaced.
  2. As chorus builds for FDLE probe, Scott dodges media

    Blog

    As Gov. Rick Scott on Friday continued to brush off questions about allegations of political meddling made by the state's former top law enforcement officer, pressure mounted elsewhere in Florida to get answers.

    A Land O'Lakes man filed a formal complaint with the FBI asking for an investigation into a series of claims made last week by Gerald Bailey, whom Scott ousted as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement....

  3. Calls for FDLE investigations grow as Gov. Rick Scott continues to avoid questions

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As Gov. Rick Scott on Friday continued to brush off questions about allegations of political meddling made by the state's former top law enforcement officer, pressure mounted elsewhere in Florida to get answers.

    A Land O'Lakes man filed a formal complaint with the FBI asking for an investigation into a series of claims made last week by Gerald Bailey, whom Scott ousted as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement....

  4. CFO Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam call for investigation into FDLE firing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Two Cabinet members on Thursday called for an outside investigation to learn the truth behind Florida Gov. Rick Scott's forced ouster of the state's top law enforcement official and claims of political interference by Scott's office.

    Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, both Republicans like Scott, said a third party could independently investigate allegations made by former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey....

    Gov. Rick Scott’s office denied that the campaign sent political communications to FDLE chief Gerald Bailey on his state email account. But the FDLE, responding to a Times/Herald public records request, provided scores of campaign and Republican Party emails sent to Bailey and former assistant commissioner Mark Zadra on their state email accounts between August and October of last year.
  5. Attorney General Pam Bondi joins Cabinet scrutiny of Gov. Rick Scott's actions in FDLE firing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Cabinet members are turning up the heat on Gov. Rick Scott over the botched removal of a top state police official, with Attorney General Pam Bondi raising "serious questions" about Scott's conduct.

    Bondi on Wednesday became the last of the three elected Republican Cabinet members to distance herself from the ouster last month of Gerald Bailey as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Bailey alleges that Scott and his aides meddled in law enforcement business and used strong-arm tactics to pressure him to resign....

    Adam Putnam was the first to fault Scott’s actions.
  6. Scott's new corrections chief retracts criticism of private prisons

    Blog

    Florida corrections secretary Julie Jones on Wednesday retracted previous statements she made to a Senate committee in which she said private prison operators selectively pick and choose inmates by housing non-violent offenders and avoiding those with expensive substance abuse and mental health problems. It even has a catchy name in the Capitol -- "cherry picking" -- but Jones testified Wednesday that it simply isn't true....

  7. Atwater breaks with Gov. Scott, who suggests he's cleaning house

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater became the first Cabinet member to fully break with Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday in calling for the reopening of the search for a new commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    Two other Cabinet members, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, said they were reviewing their options, and it was the strongest sign yet that all three elected officials, under fire for not questioning the forced resignation of ex-FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, are distancing themselves from Scott, now engulfed in a full-blown crisis barely two weeks into his second term....

    Jeff Atwater has been criticized for not questioning the forced resignation of the ex-chief.
  8. Atwater first Cabinet member to ask that Scott redo FDLE search

    Blog

    Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater became the first Cabinet member to fully break with Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday in calling for the reopening of the search for a new commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    “The people of Florida will be best served knowing the leadership of State Cabinet agencies have been selected following a transparent public process in which all Cabinet members are able to make fully-informed decisions,” Atwater said in a statement released late Tuesday....

  9. Revelations of Scott's FDLE meddling 'are concerning,' speaker says

    Blog

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, added his voice Tuesday to the discussion in the Capitol over Gov. Rick Scott's forced resignation of a respected state law enforcement official, former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, and Bailey's accusations that the agency repeatedly was the object of political interference by Scott's office and his campaign.

    “It is understandable the Governor would want his choice to head FDLE," Crisafulli said in a statement. "Its officers protect the governor and his family and there has to be a level of trust between them. At the same time, FDLE has a duty to uphold the law. There are appropriate venues for investigating allegations of wrongdoing and ensuring due process. The reports are concerning but it is yet to be seen how much of this is just ugly politics.”...

  10. Democratic lawmakers demand answers on FDLE chief's ouster

    Blog

    Two leading Democratic state legislators accused Gov. Rick Scott of a "misuse of power" Tuesday and said the Legislature and all three elected Cabinet members should investigate Scott's forced ouster of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. The lawmakers said Scott should be the target of an ethics complaint over his alleged misuse of his official position and that his insistence that Bailey be ousted without explanation threatened to make Florida a "police state."...

    Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, and Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, want Gov. Rick Scott to be forced to give a public accounting of ex-FDLE chief's ouster.
  11. Bousquet: Where's the backbone of Florida's Cabinet?

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott was a true laggard at the polls in November. The numbers speak for themselves.

    All three of Scott's fellow statewide elected Republicans got more votes — which is why their current behavior is so puzzling.

    Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater received nearly half a million more votes than Scott. The same goes for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. And Attorney General Pam Bondi got about 400,000 votes more than Scott....

  12. King Ranch trip costs should have been picked up by FDLE, Bailey says

    Blog

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was created in 1969 as an agency that reported to both the Governor and the Cabinet to avoid being controlled by any one politician.

    Yet in an interview last week with the Times/Herald, the FDLE’s ousted commissioner, Gerald Bailey said Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign staff had continually eroded the agency’s ability to act as an independent law enforcement agency free of political meddling....

  13. Ousted FDLE chief raises new allegations about meddling by Gov. Rick Scott, aides

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Ousted Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Gerald Bailey claims he resisted repeated efforts by Gov. Rick Scott and his top advisers to falsely name someone a target in a criminal case, hire political allies for state jobs and intercede in an outside investigation of a prospective Scott appointee.

    In a new series of allegations, Bailey says former Scott chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth pressured him to claim that the acting clerk of court in Orange County, Colleen Reilly, was the target of an FDLE criminal inquiry after two prison inmates used forged papers from the clerk's office to plot an escape from the Franklin Correctional Institution. The 2013 case embarrassed the prison system under Scott's control....

    Former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey was removed by the governor.
  14. In rebuff to Gov. Rick Scott, Florida GOP picks Blaise Ingoglia as chairman

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida Republicans handed Gov. Rick Scott an embarrassing defeat Saturday by unseating his hand-picked state party chairwoman from office and replacing her with Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a freshman state legislator from Hernando County.

    The decisive vote by the Republican Party of Florida's executive committee unceremoniously dethroned party chairwoman Leslie Dougher. Scott, who was re-elected in November and inaugurated two weeks ago, had personally lobbied committee members to vote for Dougher, but he couldn't seal her victory....

    Blaise Ingoglia leads a Government Gone Wild seminar at Silverthorn Country Club in Brooksville. America's spiraling debt is putting the country on a path to "third-world" status, Ingoglia said.  [TONY MARRERO | Times]
  15. Agriculture's Putnam says Gov. Scott mishandled FDLE ouster

    Blog

    Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam stepped up his criticism Wednesday of the way Gov. Rick Scott's office handled the recent ouster of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. Putnam said it was mishandled and that law enforcement officials around the state knew first-hand of his "frustration."

    Putnam also said for the first time Wednesday that what his office was told about FDLE staff changes is not what happened, hinting that his office might have been misled by Scott's office about his true intentions at the state's top law enforcement agency....