After a public scolding of the statewide police agency, Attorney General Pam Bondi now says her office is “actively engaged” with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to watch for recount shenanigans.
Several recounts are underway, including in the U.S. Senate, Governor’s and Agriculture Commissioner’s races. A joint Attorney General’s Office/FDLE statement released Monday night said they are “monitoring (those) processes for potential criminal activity.”
The statement did not make clear whether that meant state lawyers, agents or other employees were stationed at any of the county supervisor of election offices where recounts are now taking place. A request for clarification is pending.
Outgoing GOP Gov. Rick Scott, the so far prevailing candidate in the Senate race, and President Donald Trump have complained of election fraud without offering any evidence. An FDLE spokesperson previously said the agency had received “no allegations of fraud.”
Nonetheless, the new statement said “procedures (are) in place to address allegations of fraud or other criminal misconduct associated with any election in Florida.”
Further, “FDLE has been in continuous contact with the Department of State and we continue to work jointly. As allegations are received, FDLE will continue to vet and review those that may be indicative of criminal activity.”
Florida Politics sent a public records request over the weekend to the Department of State, asking for “copies of all elections fraud complaints filed with the (department) stemming from the 2018 general election.” That request also is pending.
Bondi, a term-limited Tampa Republican who leaves office in January, had sent and publicly released a letter to FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen on Sunday. In it, she said she was “deeply troubled by your announcement that you will not pursue any investigation or inquiry into clearly documented irregularities of election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties.”
In a separate letter, she also demanded that Secretary of State Ken Detzner report all election irregularities in those Democratic-leaning counties to the Office of Statewide Prosecution, which reports to her.
That was then.
“FDLE agents and analysts in the Office of Executive Investigations, Miami Regional Operations Center and members of the Commissioner’s Office continue to examine allegations, by interviewing individuals, assessing potential evidence, and researching relevant statutes,” the Monday night statement said. “A case will remain open while allegations are being analyzed.”
FDLE agreed to “work closely” with Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution “on any criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution,” it also said, adding:
“We encourage citizens to remain peaceful as the recount process continues.”