After Anderson Cooper interview debacle, a pointed question for Pam Bondi

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Editor’s note: Extensive Enterprises Media reporter Jim Rosica made the following inquiry Wednesday of Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office. The question itself is noteworthy. An answer from Bondi’s office would be more so. 

In an interview with CNN Tuesday, Attorney General Pam Bondi told Anderson Cooper that she “was sworn to uphold the constitution of the state of Florida” in response to a question about her defense of the same-sex marriage ban, placed into the constitution by initiative.

“My lawyer argued a case defending what the Supreme Court allowed the voters to put in our state constitution,” she said.

She further said, “What we argued was it was in the constitution of the state of Florida. Let me give you an example. Medical marijuana. A 12-year-old could get it if it passed. We took that to the Supreme Court because of that language … But if that passed, I would defend that as well, because it’s my job to defend what’s in the constitution of the state of Florida.”

That same day, the Miami Herald reported that the state’s “government agencies are refusing to release basic public records about Omar Mateen and the deadly Orlando shootings.”

That story read, in part:

In the days after Sunday’s nightclub attack, news gatherers across the country who requested documents about the shooter and the police response have been told many of those records — even those created years before the killings — are confidential, because they are part of an official investigation.

Pat Gleason, special counsel for open government in the Florida Attorney General’s Office, said the documents are public record. [emphasis added]

“Can an agency withhold information simply because another agency asked them to?” she asked. “The answer to that is no.”

Art. I, Sec. 24 of the Florida Constitution contains a right of “Access to public records and meetings,” including “the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state.”

We also note that when General Bondi hired Attorney Gleason from the Governor’s Office in 2010, the Attorney General called her “a leading authority in our state on open government and public records, and I am honored to have her join my administration … We have worked together for over a decade, and I have the highest respect for her work ethic, integrity and the transparency she brings to the government process.”

Given, then, that Ms. Gleason has opined that the Orlando shooting records do not fall under any exemption from disclosure, will the Attorney General’s Office argue in court for their release? If not, why not?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.