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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

In Florida, not much is asked of the lieutenant governor.

It’s a sham job, devoid of responsibility. Your typical day is spent attending dull functions that the governor chooses to avoid.

Under the best of circumstances you’ll serve out your term uneventfully, and unknown to most Floridians. Under the worst of circumstances you’ll end up like Jennifer Carroll, a mortifying headline.

She resigned suddenly last week after federal and state agents began rounding up suspects involved with a chain of Internet cafes that allegedly served as a front for illegal gambling, racketeering and money laundering.

The organization had presented itself as a charity called Allied Veterans of the World, and had tax-exempt, nonprofit status. Under a typically porous Florida law, it was allowed to operate Internet “sweepstakes cafes” as long as the earnings were donated to charitable causes.

Over three years, Allied Veterans raked in hundreds of millions of dollars, but only 2 percent found its way to veterans’ groups. The rest of the money went to sleazeballs who bought fancy cars, boats and big houses.

Gosh, imagine that.

Carroll, who so far hasn’t been charged with a crime, owned a public relations company that represented Allied Veterans while she was in the state House of Representatives. Later, as lieutenant governor, she taped a glowing advertisement for the organization.

State records show that Allied Veterans was the major source of income for Carroll’s PR firm in 2010 and 2011. Her company is now listed as inactive, which suggests that it didn’t have a long roster of other clients.

The federal investigation of Allied Veterans started in 2009, though it’s unlikely that Gov. Rick Scott knew about it when he picked Carroll as his running mate. Politically, she had appealing credentials — a former Navy lieutenant commander, and the first African-American Republican ever elected to the Legislature.

Her troubles are more grim news for the governor, who has had a rocky time keeping top staff and agency heads. Carroll herself had been in hot water for racking up $300,000 in travel expenses during her first year in office, causing Scott to put her on a strict $10,000-per-month budget.

In this latest case, some of the GOP lawmakers who are disgruntled with Scott have their own worries. Investigators say that Allied Veterans donated about $2 million to state and local political campaigns, and spent $740,000 lobbying in Tallahassee.

  • When it comes to state governance. Florida is by far one of the most corrupt states in the Union. From voter fraud, to disenfranchisement, to racketeering, there is nothing the Florida state government will not do to abuse its citizens and benefit its wealthiest residents. don’t forget that this was the home of the pregnant or hanging chads…and we have the audacity of insisting in monitoring elections in Third World countries, alas, we don’t have to go very far to find corruption, Tallahasse is not that far away.

    • lana ward

      Chicago isn’t corupt???

      • Anna Drake

        We put Governores Dems or repukes in prison, Blago and Ryan doing time for their crime. As long as Florida old, senile and gullible well off folks believe anything the repukes spin. Rick Scott WILL BE RE ELECTED.

        • onedonewong

          and yet Barak is still running loose

    • sigrid28

      It was a welcome miracle that Democrats held Florida in the 2012 elections, and a credit to all the sensible and patriotic individuals who insisting on voting and who contributed to a lively discourse statewide. I hope the Democrats that brought about that accomplishment will not be discouraged by Scott’s ongoing parade of outrages and will instead roll up their sleeves to bring about another miraculous win for common sense and fair government.

      • onedonewong

        250,000 illegal aliens voted

    • onedonewong

      Guess you have never lived in NY. MA,IL or CA or you wouldn’t be making that statement

  • pattreid

    If you elect a crook for the Governorship, what can you expect?

    • Yes, the Tea Party fanatics turned down a moderate, fiscal conservative Democrat AND a moderate Republican incumbent (who has since come over to our side) and went for Scott, KNOWING he was a crook. Possibly ADMIRING his skill in avoiding prosecution for his crimes! Well, there is an old proverb, you teach what you are. And you have learned well, Grasshopper! Until you got CAUGHT!

      And the irony is that these gambling businesses had to disguise their business in the first place! If these same Republicans who worship Ayn Rand used their reasoning power, Florida would have legalized gambling and an “untouchable” Gaming Commission like Nevada. Of course, knowing Florida politics, it probably would not be that “untouchable.”

  • Ah, those wealthy Republicans who are so concerned with the $500 ripoffs that these lower level people perpetrate. They can show us how to really steal.

    • jmprint

      Thats the whole point, the less help they give the needy, the more they can steal.

  • JDavidS

    Rick Scott… nothing more has to be said.

  • I get sooo many requests from Veteran’s groups and wonder why the government does not help these men who come home. They do not hesitate to send them to war, and when they come home they have to rely on the citizens to help them, which we want to, but we pay our taxes and appreciate the veterans sacrificed a lot but when we send our hard-earned money to these groups, does it really go to the right place? It looks like it doesn’t.

    • I agree, That is a real shame. I was outraged when Congress rejected the Veterans Jobs Act submitted by President Obama, and I cannot believe a country that does not hesitate to waste trillions of dollars in crusades cannot find ways to help our crusaders get the training they need when they come home, or have jobs available for them to fill. I guess the ambivalence we demonstrated when companies like Halliburton and Blackwater USA were making millions of dollars in Iraq has been extended to those who risk their lives to enable our ill conceived policies.

      • sigrid28

        Worse yet, in my opinion, is the backlog of more than a year-long wait for disability evaluations at the VA, for more than 800,000 vets and counting! In addition, there is a higher than normal rate of suicide among veterans, and as you mention, higher than normal rate of unemployment. I’m not even sure that the private college programs that thrive on GI benefits are legitimate or help those who enroll eventually to complete certificates and degrees: too many collect the tuition from the government and let the vets drop out to make room for new marks. A final outrage, now Walmart has promised to employ any veteran with a clean record and honorable discharge. Vets would be well advised to run as fast as possible the other way. Why won’t this government do a better job of meeting is obligations to them?

    • plc97477

      I would suggest you not send them any. The chances are it is a scam.

  • Pamby50

    My brother who lives in Jacksonville, told me about her the other day. She was told she had to surrender her passport. I could suggest a prison for her. The same one as Blago & Ryan. Then I watched on tv that due to sequestration, college scholarships for the kids of our deceased veterans has been cut. Also cut is the money for our veterans to go to college. Shame on all of them.

  • disqus_xdPymuqnXz

    I wonder how much wonder boy, Marco Rubio received incampaign slush funds. Florida has gone to the dogs, one corruption and scandal after another.

  • Two percent of all those squandered millions actually made it to veterans? Sounds like an ample dose of “compassionate conservatism” to me.

    ‘Compassionate’ and downright incestuous for the well-placed and criminal-minded, and ‘conservative’ when it comes to honesty and help for those that actually needed it.

  • onedonewong

    Looks like Joe Biteme could fill in he has even less to do than she did. Maybe he can bill Florida $26,000 a year for rental of his pool house like he bills the taxpayers of this country

  • howa4x

    This is the many headed Republican party that one hand preaches about how all the social problems stem from banning school prayer , and on the other hand steals as much as it can. The Gov himself ran a company that was accused of Medicaid fraud just after he left so the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I fell bad for all the veteran groups counting on that money. The only thing worse than this was when GWB cut vet benefits to the soldiers of the wars he started.