As more information comes out about the mishandling of concealed weapons permits under Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Democrats on Wednesday shifted focus to Gov. Rick Scott.
Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch called on Scott to launch an independent investigation into the concealed weapons program.
"Scott is the CEO of this state and he's done nothing," Cruz said in a conference call arranged by the state Democratic Party. "Demand some damn accountability and do what should have been done a month ago."
The Tampa Bay Times reported June 8 that the Department of Agriculture stopped reviewing the results of a federal background check on concealed carry applicants from February 2016 to March 2017 because an employee couldn't log into a computer program to retrieve them. Scott called the report "disturbing." Last week, he said he was reviewing a request from Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, for an independent investigation by the chief inspector general, who works for Scott.
That's not good enough, Deutch said.
"Instead of responding by calling for accountability and transparency, he's given us platitudes," Deutch said. "He called the reports disturbing and then he moved on."
Scott is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
The Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General investigated the 2016-17 lapse and determined one employee was negligent. But Democrats have questioned the efficacy of that review because the investigative report mischaracterized two interviews with witnesses as sworn and recorded testimony. Both interviews were conducted by phone.
Deutch called it a "biased and flawed investigation." Putnam's office has said it was an honest mistake and that they later corrected the record in an addendum a year later.
The concealed weapons program was already scheduled for review by the auditor general, which works for the Legislature, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Asked for an example of when the governor's inspector general has reviewed another cabinet member, the Democrats couldn't name one.
"If it hasn't been done before, let's do it," Cruz said.
As reported first by the Associated Press, the Legislature is currently conducting an audit.
"We will review it upon its completion," said a Scott spokesman, McKinley Lewis, in an email.