Note: This blog's templates will be updated this afternoon to a responsive design bringing it in line with

At that time, we will also change to the Facebook commenting system. You will need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment.

« Consumer advocate: strip PSC staffers of their power | Main | George LeMieux for U.S. Senate? »

FDLE investigation into PSC was prompted by Skop

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its final report today in its investigation into the Public Service Commission and concluded, as expected, no criminal wrongdoing. Download PSC Report

What is newsworthy is that PSC Commissioner Nathan Skop was the one who first brought the issue to state investigators on Aug. 4, before the Herald/Times first broke the story about commissioners using Blackberry PINs to communicate with the utilities they regulate. The investigation also began before former PSC lobbyist Ryder Rudd admitted to the newspaper that he attended a Kentucky Derby party at the home of Florida Power & Light vice president Ed Tancer.

Skop "expressed concerns,'' the report said, and provided email in which aides "were exchanging their Blackberry" PINs and the PINs of PSC commissioners with Florida Power & Light officials. "The complainant advise ths this caused two concerns. First, it was against PSC policy for commissioners to speak directly to utility representatives about any pending agenda issues. The exchange of PINs created the appearance of improprierty between the PSC and the utility company. Second if communication...was occurring, there may be possible violation of both Public Records and Sunshine Laws.''

The three-page FDLE report found that William Garner, (which it spells Gardner), the aide to commissioner Chairman Matt Carter, said "he frequently used PIN messaging to communicate with representatives of the regulated industries, but at not time did he ever discuss the merits of the cases that were to be brought before the PSC."

Roberta Bass, the aide to Commissioner Lisa Edgar, told investigators that she also "has used PIN messaging to communicate with representatives of the regulated industries." Investigators also interviewed Commissioner Nancy Argenziano, who said  and Whitney Ray, a reporter who complained to the governor's office that he had been shoved by PSC spokeswoman Cindy Muir.

Investigators said they worked with Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs to review "possible criminal violations." The investigation involved retreiving the Blackberry PIN messages taken from the backup files and interviewing commissioners and their staff. Investigators appeared to rely on statements from commissioners and their staff who each apparentlly stated that they had "no knowlege of any violations of ex-parte communications of Sunshine Law'' by their colleagues.