Morning must-read: Rep. Scott Plakon calls for FDLE investigation into FL. Supreme Court’s ‘comedy of errors’

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Rep. Scott Plakon, a Republican, from Longwood, is calling for an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine whether public employees and resources were used to assist three members of the Florida Supreme Court with their political efforts.

Last Friday, Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince almost missed the noon Friday deadline in order to qualify for the ballot this year, reported Gary Fineout.

The seven-member court abruptly put a hearing on redistricting on hold for more than an hour in order to allow the justices to finish their paperwork and turn it in to state elections officials.

The justices wound up using court employees to notarize the paperwork. A state law says any candidate for office cannot use a state employee to help their campaign during working hours, although it is unclear if that law applies to judges.

Rep. Plakon says he read news reports of these events and wonders how they are not a violation of Florida Statutes Section 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.”
A violation of the law is a misdemeanor.
Accordingly, Rep. Plakon has sent a letter (read it in its entirety below) to Governor Rick Scott requesting he assign the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into the matter.
A spokesman for the retention campaigns of Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince described the original situation as a “comedy of errors.”
With Rep. Plakon calling for an investigation, this no longer appears to be a laughing matter.
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Material from the Associated Press was used in the post.

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.