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Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2008
Updated: October 9th, 2008 03:46 PM GMT-05:00

Naples Daily News (Florida)

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott's now infamous appearance at Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's public rally has caught the attention of federal officials. Scott is under federal investigation for wearing his uniform during the campaign stump, a spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel said on Tuesday.

The investigation follows Scott's use of presidential candidate Barack Obama's middle name in his comments before the crowd, a moment that Scott later said he didn't regret but that has caused an uproar in parts of Lee County.

Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the OSC, said, "We are launching a formal investigation into Sheriff Scott today on the basis of possible violation of Hatch Act."

The Hatch Act of 1939 regulates how certain government employees use their official authority in their private lives. Guglielmi said the Sheriff's Office would fall under the law's provision if it receives federal funding, a near certainty.

Scott potentially used his "official authority" to influence the outcome of an election, Guglielmi said. He could also face penalties for wearing his uniform or even driving his cruiser to the event.

Scott on Tuesday said he hadn't received official notice of the investigation, but if true, he expects to be exonerated.

"Would it have been different if I were in a suit and tie?" he said. "Obviously, I'm the sheriff. Everyone knows me as sheriff, whether I'm in a uniform, a bathing suit or a suit and tie."

Guglielmi said OSC investigators would define what constitutes "official authority" and "influence," although he gave a hint:

"He's kind of a public official," Guglielmi said. "People respect him. When he stumps for an official candidate, it can be seen that he puts the weight of his office behind that."

Once investigators conclude the case, an independent board will determine a penalty if Scott is found guilty. On one extreme, the board could find for no punishment. On the other, they could call for Scott's dismissal.

Another penalty is the revocation of federal funds to the Sheriff's Office equivalent to two years worth of Scott's salary. The amount would total about $300,000.

Guglielmi didn't know the timeline for the investigation, but he said the office wants all Hatch Act violation cases finished before the election. The office is investigating hundreds of cases called in throughout the election, he noted.

In Scott's case, the office heard about the potential violation through the national news media, Guglielmi said. He wasn't sure if anyone called the office to make a formal complaint.

One expert on Tuesday said the federal case sounded thin. Hans von Spakovsky, a former U.S. Department of Justice official and a traveling fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think-tank in Washington, D.C., said he believed Scott would be exonerated.

"If the only thing he did was praise Palin - if that's the only thing he did - it's not a violation of the Hatch Act," he said.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform (Pt-2)

The 1939 Congress passed the law as a response to New Deal agency directors using their positions to coerce votes for Franklin D. Roosevelt's Democratic Party, von Spakovsky said. The bill has since forced courts to delicately balance the provisions of the law with government employees' First Amendment rights.

Had Scott abused the powers of his office to sway an election - von Spakovsky gave an example of arresting voters - he would be prosecuted under the Hatch Act. The fact he wore his uniform, the trappings of his office, is not the same, he said.

Whether the Office of Special Counsel agrees with that assessment is unknown. Von Spakovsky said he didn't have results of investigators' recent judgments.

Scott has worn his uniform to other political events, including a January rally for Rudolph Giuliani when he was a presidential candidate and a John McCain rally in Tampa when he and other local sheriffs - in uniform - pledged their support for the candidate.

"I wear my uniform all day and every day," he said.

The OSC investigation follows a swell of national criticism and notoriety for Scott after the sheriff used Obama's middle name, Hussein, in a speech before the Palin rally. Palin campaign staff later issued a formal statement distancing itself from the remark.

On Monday, Scott said, "There was no intention. I simply stated his name."

On Tuesday, people from Lee County and beyond flooded the agency's public information office both in support and opposition of Scott's comments. As of noon, the office had received about 600 calls, split between both viewpoints.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry King said calls had come in from states as far as Maine and Colorado. Scott's comments were rebroadcast nationally on cable channels, such as MSNBC and CNN.

Asked whether he thought the public information office should be handling calls on his personal viewpoints, Scott said he could do little to control the flood of opinion. Public information officers with the Sheriff's Office asked that people call their office, but calls appeared to be going everywhere, including the Bonita Springs substation.

Both party headquarters in Lee County said they had received numerous calls and visits, with opinions breaking on party line. George Woywood, a volunteer at the Democratic Party headquarters, said he received 12 calls in 90 minutes, all claiming Scott's word choice was "a little dirty." Many of the callers, he noted, were women.

Carol Cooper, a volunteer at the county Republican Party headquarters, said she called the Sheriff's Office in support of Scott's words.

"I said, 'I want to tell you that I support the sheriff, and I never understood anyone whose middle name we can't use in an election,' " Cooper said.

Ray Troy, chairman of the county Democratic Party, said he hadn't seen video of the comments, but that based on what he had heard, Scott should resign his position.

Many political pundits say emphasis on Obama's middle name is meant to frighten voters who associate it with the name of former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein or claims that Obama is a Muslim. Obama is a practicing Christian.

The name "Hussein" is of Arabic origin and is common in many Muslim countries. Obama was named after his Kenyan father, who had the same name.

Several Lee County minority-advocate organizations took particular umbrage to Scott's words. James Muwakkil, founder of Fort Myers Coalition for Justice, organized a rally at Utopia Barber Shop on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in downtown Fort Myers. The shop, long a friendly campaign stop for Scott, will no longer hang election signs for the sheriff, Muwakkil said.

Willie Green, president of the Lee County chapter of the NAACP, said he originally thought Scott's words came from the sheriff's excitement getting the best of him. When he heard Scott refuse to apologize, he said, that's when he got angry.

Green, who said Scott has been a good sheriff, is feeling "hurt and disappointed."

"To me, that's nothing but gutter politics," he said.

Scott dismissed those criticisms on Tuesday.

"If they want to support another sheriff who they think will provide a better level of security and protection than I have, then that's their right," he said.

Scott still acts incredulous at the media attention. He said his comments weren't as pointed as other accusations in Palin's rally speech - that Obama had "palled around with a domestic terrorist" (a reference to 1960s radical William Ayers), for example.

The sheriff said his word choice was his own decision and not suggested or written by any campaign officials. Some political analysts have suggested Scott's words were part of a greater McCain-Palin strategy to discredit the candidate. The campaign has told national press outlets that it wanted to focus on Obama's character and judgment in the coming weeks.

Scott denies he played a role in that plan.

"They didn't tell me to say tha

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

Obviously obama and all the democrats are ashamed of his name -names. if Hussien was so ashamed of his name why did he not change it to leroy or rastas. An american name. if he and the democrats are ashamed of that name afraid of his name hussien . There has to be a reason and that reason is more than superficial. It goes right to his heart. And it goes to the ieea that he baracck HUSSSIEN obama is not to be questioned , that no one least of all an american may ask questions of him and when he gains complete control there WILL be no americans to question him.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

And while your changing names make sure that you change John McCains to John McLoser! Also make sure to also change that Sheriff's name to "Patrolman."

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

If Hussien obama gains complete control of this country most loyal americans names will be changed to deceased. He nor you guys here will never allow anyone to have a different view on anything and all of you kmow there will be so many loyal americans kiled by Hussiens islamic terrorists that the blood will flow like rivers.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform


Today John McChange stated that Obama was not a Terrorist or a Muslim in fact he was a Good Family man and Christian And people have nothing to fear from him as President. Got it on Video too.

Strangely I never heard him mention a bloody river or any of that other BS you included! You makin Stuff up Again??

Too bad he didn't Clue "Old Militia Mooselips Palin" on that, shes as bad as you, Duane!

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

That is because, unlike Duane, McCain is at heart a decent man who refuses to pander to bigotry to win votes.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

It Figures,,,,Duane would use names like "leroy or rastas"...But what would you expect from the same person that stated in a post once that Opera Winfrey's picture should be on the front of a pancake box. Duane is so far back in the stone age he probably thinks that The Cubans here in Florida are all Illegal Aliens!

"Just Another Pecker in the Woods, Boyz"!

And Doc, I think that McCain changed mainly because he seen that the hate Tactics are not working, if they were his polls would be going up instead of in the Shi-tter.

He should have Fired all those Rove-Bush idiots that he let take over his campaign Months ago. I really would like not to believe all this stuff is coming from McCain but from those dirtBags. It may have worked against Kerry but not this time.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

none of yiou guys have said if you are ashamed leery of your golden shiny ones real name BARACK HUSSIENOBAMA. Are you . Up here in Montana we have a democrat governor . who last bragged to a group of democrat lawyers in Philadelphia that he had "turned dials' to assure the election of his buddy democrat to the united states senate. This was not supposed to be let out of that democrat room. It did in the same way Barack HUSSIEN Obama's speech to san francisco elites refrering to americans as little bitter people who cling to their guns and religion. Someone secretly recorded it and let it out in the open.
This governor Sweietzer is a very arrogant person who
Like al democrats cares nothing about the people of this state and the United states like barrackhussien obama.
Im sure you people would say that even though barrack hussien obama has several college education s . He would never had had the oppurtunity to learn anything about william ayers and his wife Bernadete dorn who admuitted that thaey set bombs with theintent to klll americans. and they did and hussien obamaknew about what they had done. and no doubt approved of those bombings because it would possibly serve to desroy the U S. So is it hate to bring up his association with an admitted terrorist? It may be dangerous. After he gets COMPLETE control of this country . barrackHussien obams with his ties to muslim terrorism and iran will ever let this country be what it once was.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

I just figured it out!! What Duane is trying to say is: BARACK WHO'S SANE OBAMA

He just doesn't spell so good!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

Just more buzz, buzz, buzz Quano. How the hell can anybody be ashamed of somebody else's name? That is undoubtedly one of your stupider questions- and that is saying a lot.

Hell, unless a person chooses their own name, they have no reason to be ashamed of their own name, let alone somebody else's. They don't have to like it, but since it was given to them at birth, it is none of their doing.

Second, you are no doubt now pretending that you would immediately have recognized William Ayers if you had run into him through your job, right? I would not doubt it, since you are blatant and deliberate liar.

The truth is, though, that forty years after the fact, I cannot remember the names of most of the men that I served with in Viet Nam, one of the most important events of my life. I sure as hell would not have recognized Willaim Ayers name as part of all that SDS and Weather Underground crap - even though I lived through that period with the rest of you. And even if I recognized that someone named William Ayers had been part of the Weather Underground, I doubt that I would have connected the terrorist William Ayers with the nationally recognized and respected Professor William Ayers, reknown expert in eduction theory. Nor would I have expected to find the former terroirst William Ayers as a Board Member on a foundation formed and financed by well known conservative Walter Annenberg. And, just as an FYI, one of my public records databases shows 2,187 men named William Ayers currently in America.

And by the bye, the Annenberg Foundation is one of John McCain's strongest supporters. So what is John McCain doing consorting with and taking money from an organization that gave former terrorist William Ayers a respected position where he helped to decide the expedniture of millions of dollars?

Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform


Your post is just what John McCain is lecturing his audiences against doing. I guess you will be voting for Nader now since you don't agree with McCain.

As far as the Obama Name Crap really,,,WHO CARES. You would really be spouting out your A$$ if his name was Jose, or Ricardo. Also the Guns and Religion statement we heard about for about 2 months, along with the Rev. Wright story and Bill Ayers along with Tony Reszo. Its all old news.

Im sure that McCain will bring all this up in the next debate and rightly so because he has really no plan for the real issues. I'm sure that Obama will be ready for it and will also address problems this nation is currently facing, Because unlike both you and your guy McCain,,,he can do more than one thing at a time.

Both Obama and Biden have said Bring it on, McCain preferred to leave out the SMUT in the last debate so lets see how he does in the next and Last one. But he better be at the top of his game because he's got nothing else to bring and I have a feeling that Obama will be ready.

You guys just picked the wrong candidate! Should have went with one of the others, at least you wouldn't loose the election by a landslide!

Keep up the good Extreme Right Wing work Duane. I especially like the parts about "Rivers of Blood, Extermination of all Americans, chopping off heads, bags of rice and beans"!

But than,, I have always been a big fan of both,, "FICTION and COMEDY"!

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

OK Jack!

20 Bucks says we will both be called BIG COMMIES any minute!

More Fiction

And Duane
I read your post on another site where you said that Scott may lose his job and then topped it all off with your normal "made up stuff" and exaggerations about Obama. What you stated is all BS.

The only thing that Scott has going against him is he Campaigned in Full Police Uniform. That could be a violation of the Hatch Act,, and it isn't allowed here in Florida. Here in our town in SW Florida the Police Chief has campaigned for people many times, But,"NEVER IN FULL UNIFORM."

Scott seemed to **** many off in Lee County because he wore the Sheriffs Uniform.

Everything else you wrote is a NON-ISSUE and UNTRUE, although,, I'm sure its was just an over site on your part!

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

"Im sure you people would say that even though barrack hussien obama has several college education s . He would never had had the oppurtunity to learn anything about william ayers and his wife Bernadete dorn who admuitted that thaey set bombs with theintent to klll americans. and they did and hussien obamaknew about what they had done. and no doubt approved of those bombings because it would possibly serve to desroy the U S. So is it hate to bring up his association with an admitted terrorist?" - Quote from Draino
Draino: I think I'll let John McCain answer your question.
"Very frankly, Dana, I don't give a **** about an old unrepentant terrorist." - Sen. John McCain, in an interview with Dana Base on CNN, obviously getting tired of talking about Barack Obama and 1960s radical William Ayers.

Re: Florida Sheriff Investigated for Stumping in Uniform

jackie boy you say you would not have recognized william ayers as a terrorists who tried to kill americans. I did and i lived through that era also. His name was in all of the news his wife was on the fbi's most wanted list.. He has never renounced his terrorist activitys. like all democrats the only thing they regret is being caught trying to kill americans and destroy this country.
obama is supposed to be a graduate of the most prestigious colleges universutys in this country and you guys try to amke out that he coukdnt read newspapers . i can and do. No he knew all about ayers activitys and thsoe acts of terror bothered him not a t all. Obama looked up ayers because ayers had the connections obama needed at the time.Ayers had good solid democrat connections and stiil does no doubt . He would have them had he killed tens of thousands of americans. If satan himself would have had what HUSSIEN wanted Hussien would have went to satan on his knees.