FDLE Clears Scott – Finds No Wrongdoing in Handling of Transition Records

Project SunburstA Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation requested by Governor Rick Scott to recover lost Scott Transition Team documents is over, clearing Governor Scott and his transition team. FDLE found nothing criminal related to the loss of data from a transition email server, and the Scott Administration cooperated fully with FDLE and went to exhaustive lengths to help recover more than 33,000 pages of emails and transition documents once thought to be lost.

In all, more than 4.5 gigabytes of electronic data representing more than 33,000 pages of transition emails and documents were recovered and turned over to FDLE. In addition to securing the email messages of senior staff, the Governor also directed the transition team and FDLE to use electronic forensic search methods to recover lost emails and further required every member of the transition team, including volunteers, to turn over all documents related to transition business.

By casting the widest possible net and using cutting-edge technology, the transition team, in cooperation with FDLE investigators, ultimately produced the most comprehensive collection of gubernatorial transition documents in Florida history.

Every transition document produced as part of the investigation will be posted on the Governor’s groundbreaking “Sunburst” online public records access system beginning later today, and an electronic copy of the entire collection has already been provided to Florida’s First Amendment Foundation for easier dissemination to members of the media. The files can be accessed at www.flgov.com/sunburst.

Prior to Governor Scott’s request for FDLE to investigate the potential loss of data, no Florida governor or any Florida cabinet official had ever been asked for such a comprehensive number of transition documents under Florida’s Sunshine laws.

As a result of the massive number of public records requests for Scott Transition Team documents, and as part of his ongoing commitment to lead the most transparent administration in Florida’s history, one of Governor Scott’s signature initiatives during this past legislative session was to clarify the legal requirements under Florida’s Sunshine laws for future transitions teams to ensure documents are retained in a systematic and orderly manner for review by the press and public. Governor Scott signed the bill, HB 1305, into law on March 24th, 2012. It was unanimously passed the Legislature.


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