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FDLE commish ticked off by suggestions that email investigation isn’t objective
Posted Sep 1, 2011 by Catherine Whittenburg, Tallahassee bureau
Updated Sep 1, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Visibly annoyed, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey told reporters today that he is “offended” by critics’ suggestions that his department’s investigation of the governor’s missing transition emails might not be objective.
Gov. Rick Scott has asked FDLE to investigate the deletion of his transition team’s email messages earlier this year. The emails, which date back to the period of time between Scott’s election and inauguration, are public records, but disappeared when the company handling team members’ email closed down their accounts. Some of the emails have reportedly been recovered, but not all.
FDLE answers to both Scott and the Cabinet, but the department’s commissioner is appointed by the governor, prompting some critics—like former CFO Alex Sink, who lost the governor’s race to Scott—to question the objectivity of the investigation.
Here’s what Bailey had to say when Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout asked him about communications between FDLE and Scott’s office concerning the investigation:
“I should tell you, for FDLE, for the people in my executive investigations unit, and for me personally, I find the whole thing offensive. I will tell you that my counterpart in Georgia answers to the governor. My counterpart in South Carolina answers to the governor. My counterpart in North Carolina answers to the attorney general ... when they put together FDLE, when they constructed us, they had the foresight to give me both the luxury and responsibility of four bosses. And again, I think it’s offensive ...
“When we, at Gov. Crist’s executive order ... launched the investigation of [ex-Republican Party chairman] Jim Greer, the same political stunt was pulled on that one,” Bailey added, blasting those who “would question our integrity as being subject to the will of someone that we’re investigating, that may want to run the investigation for us.”
Getting back to Fineout’s question about communication:
“So far, the communication between FDLE and the governor’s office on this particular case has been FDLE gleaning information from them,” the commissioner said. “There’s no direction on their part; they are giving us the information that we’re asking for.”
The commissioner also said he has no idea how long the investigation will last, since it just started. He does have subpoena power, he said, but doesn’t know yet if he’ll wind up using it.