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Critic of gift ban, Putnam coy on King Ranch trips

PutnamphotoAgriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam minces no words when talking about the 2006 gift ban.

In a 2010 interview, Putnam called it "dumb."

He said the ban was a "disincentive for fellowship" and said: "You're forbidden from hanging out unless somebody is giving you a check." 

Yet when asked about trips he has taken to King Ranch that appear to give him plenty of opportunity to hang with big sugar lobbyists, Putnam clammed up. Here's a transcript from the June 17 interview conducted after a Cabinet meeting as Putnam walked back to his office.
Can you explain when you've gone to King Ranch and for what purposes?

I have been there for campaign purposes as well as to see more of their ag operations.

Which ag operations?

You know, they are significant agricultural players in the state of Florida.

How so?

They are one of the largest citrus growers in the state, as well as, they continue to be active in cattle, sod and sugar.

Did you hunt during these trips?

The campaign event was a hunting trip, yes.

How many times have you been?

I'll have to check.

More than a handful?


What game did you hunt?

Deer, hogs.

Who paid for the trips?

They were Republican Party of Florida fundraisers.

Can you get us the dates?

I'll ask the Republican Party to work with you on that since it was a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida.

Can you describe who attended with you?


You weren't by yourself?

No, no. It was like a fundraiser.

So who were the other attendees?

I couldn't give you an answer straight out of a Cabinet meeting, and we don't typically comment on everyone who participates in all of our campaign activities either.

But isn't it prudent to ask the agricultural commissioner about a trip to King Ranch in Texas?

I'm the ag commissioner. I don't play golf. So I use hunting trips frequently as a method of raising funds to campaign for both my re-election and for the party.

 How did you get there?

I'll have to refer all of the details to the Republican Party of Florida since it was a fundraiser for them ...

But you don't recall how you got there?

... but I flew.

 Who flew you?

Thank you.

Can you just say who flew you?

You'll have to talk to the Republican Party of Florida since it was their fundraiser.

Why can't you answer the question?

Putnam spokeswoman Erin Gillespie: Thank you. (closes door of Putnam's Capitol office so reporter can't follow Putnam)

Postscript: If Putnam asked the party to get information to a reporter, officials did not do so. When told of this, Gillespie, in a July 9 email, referred all questions to the party.






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ed jenkins

The readers have no interest in the recreational activities of their political leaders and want their hometown paper to print news stories, something which this nonsense does not qualify as.

Tally Folly

Good Ole Boy Club.
Non Good Ole Boys need not apply nor expect any favorable treatment.


Republican and Democrat parties fundraise all the time on trips. Its legal. Its interesting that this trip to texas is so much more important to report. How about when House and Senate Democrat leaders take trips to fundraise with donors?

This reeks of partisan reporting. Shocking coming from the T Pete Times.

larry gladsden

I'm going to ask Putnam to a campaign finance picnic here in Miami. We'll take him to South Beach. He likes to hunt, so we will hunt for lost jewelry with metal detectors. Also, for topless celebrities to photograph. All the jewelry and coins we find will go to the Rep party of florida. With a little luck, we might be able to sell some photos to the tabloids, too, all proceeds to Putnam's party. I have some ideas regarding sugar, Everglades restoration, water control, and jobs for my nieces, and so forth that I'd like to bend his ear on. He likes to smooze with his constituents so I'm sure he will agree to attend. Right??


I agree with Jim. Didn't Charlie Crist fundraise in London England for a week, and the Bahamas when he was Governor? Where is the outrage on that?

The St Pete Times is Crists's biggest cheerleader.


Maryanne, you're confusing fundraising trips with the trade delegation trips Crist took to help drum up international business in Florida.

Rick Scott has taken at least ten of these international trips. If they are worth it now to help increase trade/business, then they were worth it back then too. If you think they were a waste of money, then Scott has continued to waste money too.

“The weeklong mission, the ninth international trade delegation fronted by Scott, is expected to focus on Florida’s aviation and aerospace industries, with time set aside for meetings in Paris with unspecified, but non-aviation related French investors.

Scott already is working with Enterprise Florida for a mission to Japan, possibly in October.”


When Crist announced his run for Gov., Scott was on No. 10 in Japan:


The trips referred to in this article were paid for by an already existing big FL business, probably in exchange for the politicians' favorable votes to keep certain businesses from having to pay to clean up their pollution.

So, yeah, where is the outrage?

Bill Thompson

The citizens are outraged at these people thumbing their noses at everyday Floridians and holding their secretive meetings and dealings out of state and out of sight. These dealings should be fully disclosed and done in full transparency that these most horrible people claim to subscribe to. The citizens are reminded of the integrity and transparency exhibited by previous political leaders such as Reubin Askew, Bob Graham and Lawton Chiles and wish we could have leaders with integrity today.

Keith Stegath

So the question for everyone who's disgusted with Chuck and Rick; which one are you going to vote for?

Until you and the media decide that there is another choice in November, the same lawyers will continue to run and ruin our country.

I'm a candidate for Governor. I'm and engineer, researcher, and scientist and I approved this message.

Keith Stegath for Governor

Bill Thompson

These most horrible politicians should be holding their meetings in the sunshine state with full disclosure and transparency and at the same time, supporting the economy of our state instead of supporting the economy of Texas, which is already doing much better than Florida is under the scumbag Scott.


LOL. So Crists's trip to the Bahamas was a trade mission trip?

Bill Thompson

The voters are reminded of the politicians of the past that believed in integrity and transparency, such as Reubin Askew, Bob Graham and walkin' Lawton Chiles and wish we had politicians of that stature running the state now, instead of these elitist sleazy scumbags that thumb their noses at the citizens as they fly off to secretive faraway resorts where they are wined and dined by lobbyists and where deals are cut behind closed doors with the current pay to play mentality in Tallahassee.

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