Putnam’s IG woes continue — Curry gets scammed — Algae politics bloom — Orlando’s panhandlers

By Marc Caputo (mcaputo@politico.com; @MarcACaputo) and Matt Dixon (mdixon@politico.com; @Mdixon55), with Emily Goldberg (egoldberg@politico.com; @ejgold94) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

Happy Tuesday morning. Tough news for Adam Putnam continues to pour out of an inspector general’s report showing his staff botched review of hundreds of conceal carry permit applications. When discovering the issue in 2017, Putnam fired the employee who screwed up and launched an investigation. Also running for governor, he points to those swift actions when attacked on the campaign trail over the investigation. Other areas of the response, though, were not as glowing.

MORE IG WOES — “Putnam’s office mischaracterized interviews for concealed carry investigation, withheld records from media,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s bid for governor has been dogged over the past month by an explosive report that his office didn’t fully review applications for hundreds of concealed carry gun permits. The missed permit reviews, though, are not the end of Putnam’s problems. His department’s own investigators signed off on a final report looking at the issue that said every interview conducted with department staff was done under oath and recorded, but according to records reviewed by POLITICO, two key interviews were not. In addition, his office delayed the release of records related to the report, including not initially releasing requested documents to the media outlets. Read more.


DONORS LOVE THIS — “International scam bilks Mayor Lenny Curry’s committee for $120,000,” by The Florida Times-Union’s Nate Monroe: “One of Mayor Lenny Curry’s political committees squandered about $120,000 last year by falling victim to an elaborate phone scam that police detectives traced back to Nigeria, according to reports from a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office investigation that included help from the U.S. Secret Service. In May 2017, Eric Robinson — a Sarasota County School Board member and an accountant well known for representing Florida Republican political committees, including Curry’s — wired $119,797 from one of Curry’s main political committees, Build Something that Lasts, to four different addresses ranging from Wyoming and Ohio to Missouri. Robinson believed he was doing so at the request of a fundraiser who works for Curry. The payments were purportedly for catering and consulting services, paid to people with no known connection to Curry or anyone who runs his political operation.” Read more

GOING GREEN — “Algae problems impacting election-year politics,” by Ocala Star Banner’s Zac Anderson: “Environmental protection quickly is becoming a big issue in the 2018 election as more toxic algae blooms slime estuaries, kill sea life and choke coastal Florida communities with foul air. Florida’s tourism-driven economy depends on clean water, and candidates are under pressure to offer solutions for a problem that is so bad it led the governor to declare a state of emergency Monday in seven counties. The issue is particularly acute in Southwest Florida, where red tide — a naturally occurring algae bloom that can be worsened by nutrient pollution from human and animal waste and excessive fertilizer use — is killing fish and other sea life from Sarasota County south to Charlotte Harbor, and green slime is smothering the Caloosahatchee River. The state of emergency covers Lee, Glades, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.” Read more

HOME REGION — “Two Tampa Bay sheriffs featured in new ad from Adam Putnam,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Contorno: “In his Republican primary for Governor, Agriculture Commissioner Commissioner Adam Putnam has repeatedly faced criticism from his opponent for being soft on illegal immigration. But Putnam continues to push back against that claim on the airwaves, where he’s now up with a second advertisement promising to crack down on undocumented immigrants. The new ad released Monday by Putnam’s political committee, Florida Grown, looks and sounds a lot like another from just a few weeks ago.” Read more
The ad

FEAR — “At Guatemalan-Maya Center, fear grips South Florida undocumented immigrants,” by Sun Sentinel’s Skyler Swisher: “At the Guatemalan-Maya Center inLake Worth, soccer balls, stuffed animals and other toys are stacked on a table — gifts for migrant children being held in South Florida. Families seeking help fill every seat in the lobby of the small center that has served immigrants in South Florida since 1992. A few people stand outside on the sidewalk waiting for space to open.” Read more

BIG QUESTION — “What would a post-Roe v. Wade Florida look like? We answer 5 vital questions,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Kirby Wilson: “The confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee for justice to the United States Supreme Court will dominate politics for the coming weeks. Just how bad that appointment could be for abortion rights advocates is unclear. But on the 2016 campaign trail, then-candidate Trump promised to nominate ‘pro-life’ justices to the Supreme Court in order to overturn the landmark 1973 abortion rights case, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all fifty states.” Read more

** Presented by AARP: There’s only one true deciding factor in this year’s elections: 50-plus voters. They won’t be ignored and their votes are up for grabs. Medicare, Social Security, support for family caregivers, and prescription drug costs are all on the line—so you can be sure they’ll be voting in record numbers.
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ENVIRO POLITICS — “Political muscle halts release of Lake O’s foul water. The reprieve won’t last long,” by Miami Herlad’s Jenny Staletovich: “The locks didn’t open after all on Monday to pour more algae-choked Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie estuary. It was a reprieve — granted after appeals to the federal agency in charge of the lake by two of the state’s most powerful Republican politicians — but also only a temporary one. Residents and business owners in the coastal communities surrounding the normally rich waters will take what they can get but they are still bracing for yet another summer ruined by foul green slime. They know more slugs of polluted Lake O water will be coming, now or later.” Read more

BOOM — “Red Bull gives you wings? Not this Hurlburt MC-12,” by NWF Daily News’ Jim Thompson: “A twin-engine intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft operated by a contractor working with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) reportedly sustained more than $100,000 in damage after a can of Red Bull energy drink exploded in the cockpit in…

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