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Gov. Rick Scott and FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey’s Resignation

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Florida Department of Law Enforcement Logo, fdle.state.fl.us

Last week, the Tampa Bay Times published a scathing indictment of Governor Rick 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 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. 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 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 is a political party writing checks to 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.

Without an election to hang this scandal on, there won’t be much recourse. That, however, doesn’t change the fact that we should do better.


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