LARGO, Florida - For a second straight Monday, Governor Rick Scott was in Tampa Bay campaigning for re-election. But this time, he wouldn't answer questions about the law enforcement officers that stood behind him one week earlier.
On July 7, uniformed law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO), lined up behind Scott during a campaign stop in Tampa. However, it's illegal for on-duty public employees -- other than elected officials -- to participate in campaign activities on-the-clock or in-uniform. Official complaints have been filed with the state.
Deputies with HCSO said they were unaware the event was campaign-related, and were under the impression from the campaign that it was official government business.
But when asked about the apparent violation, Scott answered four direct questions from reporters with indirect answers that reflected his talking points, rather than how the communication breakdown happened or whether he had any concerns about it.
Afterward, a Scott spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny a third party may have had a role in why some law enforcement officers got the wrong impression, only repeating that campaign signs were posted outside the event to make all those in attendance aware it was a campaign event.
The campaign could not identify any new policies to prevent possible recurrences in the future.