When the Florida Senate was looking for someone to put its budget data online, it set aside $5.5 million and turned to the business partner of a close friend of the Senate’s chief of staff at the time, Steve MacNamara.
The developer of the program, Anna Jo Mattson, owns a software company with Tallahassee lawyer and lobbyist Jim Eaton, MacNamara’s long-time friend. She also owns Spider Data Services, the company that developed the software program licensed by the Senate. She said Tuesday the companies are not related. MacNamara did not respond to requests for comment.
MacNamara negotiated the contract with Mattson in February when he worked for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. He left the Senate to become Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff in July. To date, Mattson has been paid $5 million for development of the no-bid project. Another $2.5 million has been set aside in the governor’s 2012-13 budget to pay for access to her patented program next year.
“What we’ve got is state of the art in terms of budget transparency programs,’’ said Craig Meyer, who succeeded MacNamara as Senate chief of staff. Story here.