House Dems want Bondi, Atwater to seek more answers on Scott budget-signingby John Kennedy | June 7th, 2011
Florida House Democrats urged a pair of Republican Cabinet members Tuesday to push for more answers and an apology from Republican Gov. Rick Scott for his office’s role in bullying a couple dozen Democratic protesters at last month’s budget-signing ceremony.
A Scott spokesman, Brian Burgess, last week acknowledged the governor’s office was wrong when a staffer apparently urged Sumter County Sheriff’s deputies to rein-in the protesters because the budget-signing was a private event.
Deputies confronted the protesters, keeping them out of the governor’s view and ordering them to discard their signs during the signing ceremony at The Villages in Central Florida.
Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, last week asked Scott to explain the actions. Scott later told reporters he’d look into it, and Burgess released his statement Friday evening, blaming the action on “confusion among event staff, including an employee of the governor’s office.”
House Democrats, however, want to learn more. They want Atwater and Bondi whether civil liberties were violated and whether the governor’s office should reimburse any public funds used to hold the signing ceremony, which was live webstreamed on the Florida Republican Party website.
The Democrats concluded by asking Scott’s fellow Republicans, “What recommendations can you provide to ensure all Floridians that such a ”mistake,’ will not happen again?”
Jennifer Meale, a Bondi spokeswoman, said the attorney general was traveling to Atlanta in advance of Wednesday’s court hearing on the lawsuit by Florida and a dozen other states challenging the federal health care law.