Rep. Scott Plakon Seeks State Probe of Supreme Court 'Electioneering'
Not buying the "financial disclosure" rationale presented by the legal counsel for three state Supreme Court justices, a Republican lawmaker wants the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate whether public employees and resources were used to assist them in electioneering.
Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott calling for the investigation. He cited Florida Statute 106.15 which reads “A candidate may not, in the furtherance of his or her candidacy for nomination or election to public office in any election, use the services of any state, county, municipal, or district officer or employee during working hours.”
Dan Stengle, counsel for Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince explained that an abrupt one-hour recess of the court was necessitated by the judges having to complete financial disclosure forms required of all public officials.
Though the financial forms were a prerequisite for the three judges to stand for their retention elections this November, Stengle denied that the paperwork involved "electioneering communications."
Jesse Phillips of the watchdog organization Restore Justice, applauded Plakon's call for an investigation into the incident, adding, "It would not be the first time a Florida justice flirted with the strict boundaries of the Constitution or state law. They do it in their opinions all the time.
"This whole ordeal illustrates the problems that inherently arise when activist judges selectively uphold the law when it is convenient to their agenda, and ignore or rewrite it when it's not," Phillips said.
See Sunshine State News' earlier report here.