Florida has one of the nation's strictest open records laws, but Gov. Rick Scott doesn't seem to take much pride over his state's achievement. In fact, according to an ongoing lawsuit, Scott openly flaunted those rules by setting up a Gmail account for secretly doing much of his official business while using his state email for only the blandest exercises.
Well, Scott was supposed to sit down for a deposition today about when he set up the account and what he uses it for. Instead, he'll risk a contempt of court charge by skipping it for a fundraiser at the Biltmore.
At the heart of the suit is an email address -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- which Tallahassee attorney Scott Andrews says the governor set up to skirt the Sunshine Law.
Ironically, Scott himself created a new program called "Project Sunburst" in 2012 that was supposed to post emails sent by top officials in real time to a public database, which Scott boasted would increase "transparency."
In reality, Andrews argues, it just gave the governor and his staff all the more incentive to hide all of their real communication in private accounts such as email@example.com. Andrews sued earlier this year for information about when Scott set up the account, alleging he'd hidden key correspondence about plans to buy a local park.
Though Scott hasn't denied creating the account, he's disputed that he used it for any rule-breaking of open records laws.
Yet Scott is now refusing to sit under oath to talk about the account. That is what was supposed to happen today in Tallahassee, after a judge approved Andrew's subpoena for the info and a circuit court ordered Scott to stop fighting it.
Scott filed a countersuit in California to prevent Google from releasing the info and today was supposed to respond to a deposition on the matter.
Instead, his staff tells the Miami Herald, he'll attend a fundraiser at the Biltmore with Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and others.
Scott risks a contempt of court ruling and fines in California, attorneys tell the Herald. And voters, of course, will be no closer to learning whether Scott was flaunting the open records law he claimed to have strengthened just a couple of years ago.
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