Governor Scott is taking heat from his likely challenger Charlie Crist for activity at a campaign rally that appears to violate state law.
Florida law states "An employee of the state or any political subdivision may not participate in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty."
But Monday in Tampa, law enforcement officers wound up in the middle of the governor's campaign stop. Some say they did not realize they had been invited to a campaign rally.
Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said Scott's campaign invited him by phone-- but did not make it clear to him that it was a campaign stop.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife officer also appeared at the Scott rally. Spokeswoman Katie Purcell said that was a misunderstanding. She said her agency was led to believe that he was needed to provide extra security.
Hillsborough Colonel Jim Previtera was also surprised by the nature of the event.
"When Colonel Jim Previtera returned from the event with Governor Scott, he briefed me that to his surprise it was a campaign stop as opposed to just the Governor holding a press conference on crime, which is what Colonel Previtera understood when he went," said Hillsborough Chief Jose Docobo. "Under those circumstances neither he nor the deputies would have been there. It is our policy not to attend political events in uniform or on duty."
A Scott campaign spokeswoman said the campaign made it clear to law enforcement that they had been invited to a campaign event.
The Crist campaign suggested it will pursue a complaint. "The Crist campaign is now looking into every means necessary to hold Rick Scott accountable for misleading on-duty law enforcement officers," said Crist campaign spokesman Kevin Cate.
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was also at this event. He said he knew it was a campaign stop. He attended because he said the state makes an exception for elected officials, based on his understanding of the law.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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