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Influence

Senate withholding secret emails linked to website

The Florida Senate is refusing to turn over dozens of emails involving a state budget website that was shuttered despite taxpayers paying $5 million for it so far.

The contractor that built the website has sued the Senate for a final payment of $500,000. While the case moves along, attorneys for both sides are arguing over what information should be turned over in the case.

Attorneys representing the Senate are withholding more than 50 emails sent between Senate employees, as well as some Republican senators.

The emails deal with a website that was supposed to help the public understand the state budget. Legislative officials say it didn’t work as intended and never went online.

In court filings this month, Senate attorneys contend the emails are privileged information or work product.

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