Quote of the Week: I did not voluntarily do anything. If [Gov. Rick Scott] said I resigned voluntarily, that is a lie. If he said that, he's being totally untruthful."
- Former FDLE commissioner Gerald Bailey
We're not normally the types to wear our schadenfreude T-shirts while performing cartwheels with cyanide-laced pom-poms in our hands, but there's just something so gratifying about watching Gov. Rick Scott's tenure turn into the folly it was always predicted to become. Not that it really matters – Scott is our Godfather for the next four years, thanks to a disinterested electorate's November slumber – but if the first few weeks of Scott's latest term are anything to go by, those absurd notions that he might be fit for a Republican presidential run (seriously) are about to dissipate into the ether with all of his secret public records.--
$90,000: Amount the Republican Party of Florida attempted to pay the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for transportation for Gov. Rick Scott's 2014 gubernatorial campaign
Last week, the Tampa Bay Times published a scathing indictment of Scott and his handling of Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Gerald Bailey's so-called resignation. It's no secret that the FDLE is not Scott's best friend in general, especially considering the long list of Scott scandals that the agency is assigned to investigate. Most recently, Scott has been accused – with evidence – of using private email accounts to conduct public business. That, of course, is something that the FDLE has been investigating.
So, just as any lousy character out of House of Cards would, Scott had the agency's head, Bailey, disappeared. According to the Times, Bailey wasn't playing into the backscratching game as much as Scott would have liked. When Scott tried to politicize the FDLE in his favor, Bailey balked, which meant he was probably going to get ousted in short order. But it goes deeper, and far uglier, than two guys in Tallahassee who don't get along. Among the Times' findings: Bailey wasn't comfortable with the solicitation of campaign funds on state computers at the FDLE; Scott's chief counsel Pete Antonacci, who must be really aboveboard, allegedly said that, hey, so what, if you don't like it, "Just delete it." A $90,000 check from the Republican Party of Florida was voided by FDLE because, well, why the fuck is a political party writing checks to the FDLE? (Answer: So that campaign staff could be transported from A to B without having to use their own cars, obviously.) Even Scott's wife is in on all of the fun, because a campaign staffer assigned to her needed (NEEDED) transportation from state vehicles run by the FDLE. Essentially, Bailey was trying to maintain the integrity of a nonpartisan agency, which, in the world of Rick Scott, is tantamount to heresy. Especially when you consider that some of Scott's inside power brokers are residual effects of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, God help us all.
Even worse, somehow, is that Scott's cabinet – Attorney General of hate Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam – all played dumb about the "resignation" of Bailey, according to the Times.
"My office was told Commissioner Bailey was resigning and was never told anything other than that," Bondi told the Times in her most convincing voice.
But Bailey is apparently not going to let this narrative – the one in which he was replaced by an FDLE officer previously assigned to be at the Scott family's beck and call – stand. He says that he was told by Scott's team to "retire or resign." A sort of close-the-door-behind-you, tender-your-resignation-letter, pack-up-your-things-and-let's-never-speak-of-this-again, Hudson River kind of affair. The Times reports that said resignation letter didn't even include the word "resign," so there's a clue.--
$300 million: Approximate annual budget of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
All of this Bailey kerfuffle only added fuel to the fire of the public-records debacle Scott has found himself in, though. You can't really fire your way out of a fire. The Miami Herald reported on Jan. 15 that the governor's office was trying to throw its hands in the air about the missing emails and text messages associated with staffers who have also been disappeared to make way for more "yes" people. Claiming that it had done its due diligence, the governor's office is now openly stating that if there are missing records, the legal responsibility is with those old staffers, not the governor. If the person who is suing to see the records, Tallahassee attorney Steven R. Andrews, really wants to see the secret information that was going on behind the scenes of a corrupt governorship, then he can sue each of the staffers.
Clearly there is nothing to be hidden here. Surely this is all an unfortunate coincidence. Trust Gov. Rick Scott to tell the truth. He always has.