Hey, Rick Scott is embroiled in scandal–it must be a day that ends in ‘Y’.
What now, you ask? At a campaign event this week, Rick Scott used on-duty officers as political props, having them stand behind him as he spoke about tackling crime. The officers have made it clear that they were under the impression that they were needed to provide security, and were unaware that this was a campaign event.
Now, a former Broward County police officer has filed an official election complaint, as it’s illegal to “‘directly or indirectly coerce’ any [public] employee to engage in political activity, and employees are prohibited from doing so while working.”
The local press corps is not impressed.
Half-Dozen On-Duty Law Officers In Uniform Took Part In A Re-Election Event For Rick Scott Despite Florida Laws Saying Public Employees Must Avoid Political Activity During Working Hours. According to the Tampa Tribune, “At least a half-dozen on-duty law officers in uniform took part in a re-election event Monday for Gov. Rick Scott despite Florida laws saying public employees must avoid political activity during working hours.” [Tampa Tribune, 7/7/14]
- Officers Believed They Were Invited To The Event To Provide Security. According to Tampa Tribune, “Spokesmen for two of the agencies involved, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, said their officers’ attendance resulted from a misunderstanding; they thought they were invited either to provide security or that it was an official governor’s office event.” [Tampa Tribune, 7/7/14]
Jeff Marano Of Florida’s Police Benevolent Association Filed An Election Complaint Over Scott’s Use Of On Duty Officers At Campaign Event. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “A police union official filed a complaint Thursdaywith the Florida Elections Commission, accusing Gov. Rick Scott of illegally coercing on-duty police officers to attend a campaign event in Tampa on Monday. The complaint was filed by Jeff Marano of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, a union supporting Scott’s leading Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist. Marano is president of the PBA’s Broward County chapter. Under Florida law, it’s a first-degree misdemeanor for a public official to ‘directly or indirectly coerce’ any employee to engage in political activity, and employees are prohibited from doing so while working.” [Tampa Bay Times, 7/10/14]