Jennifer Carroll speaks publicly, first time since resignation

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Jennifer CarrollFormer Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll is speaking publicly for the first time since resigning from office last month.

In her first television interview since that fateful day — seen below — she sits with Jacksonville’s Channel 4 to talk about her involvement with Allied Veterans of the World, her decision and her future.

Carroll also participated in an interview with the Associated Press (AP), where she stated she had no idea the veterans charity was being investigating for running illegal slot machine-style casinos until two law enforcement agents walked into her office last month.

It’s clear Gov. Rick Scott’s office was aware of what was happening as she says his chief of staff was waiting outside her office when the agents walked out 20 minutes later. He told her Scott wanted her to resign.

While she has stayed loyal to Scott, other than a note thanking her for her service, Carroll said he hasn’t spoken to her since her resignation March 12.

It is beyond odd that Gov. Scott knew of the investigation, had discussed it with his staff and made a decision on Carroll’s fate, yet never spoke to her. Before or since.

Having said that, I feel it is only fair to the reader to entertain the possibility that this is an ongoing investigation and Scott is acting on advice of counsel. At the same time, perception is reality.

In some ways, this perceived emotional detachment may explain why it was so easy for Scott to turn his back completely on the grassroots movement that played such an integral role in getting him elected.

In a comment that brings flashbacks to how former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was mishandled, Carroll implied that the governor’s office controlled her actions.

“While I was in office, I was not allowed to respond to any media attacks. I couldn’t give interviews, I couldn’t send out a press release, I couldn’t respond to it — just let it die away,” she told AP, adding that she felt that not responding created a perception something was wrong. “It was very frustrating, but again, I’m a team player.”

This being very reminiscent of the GOP handlers — “the smartest guys in the room” — who ran the John McCain and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns. The same individuals who lost to an unaccomplished two-year junior senator, then again 4 years later to the same man who by then boasted the greatest record of economic failure in American history.

Charlie Crist must be licking his chops.

Carroll wanted to make clear she did nothing wrong and had nothing to do with the alleged gambling and suggests she might run for office again.

“I still have a lot more to offer — my skills, my knowledge, my talents, my passion particularly for helping people,” she said.

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Please see the below statement from Governor Rick Scott’s communications director Melissa Sellers regarding Jennifer Carroll’s recent interview.

“After Jennifer Carroll was questioned by law enforcement about her work for Allied Veterans, a company involved in a multi-state criminal conspiracy, our chief of staff and general counsel questioned her. She agreed to resign, acknowledging her involvement with Allied Veterans would be a distraction from the issues important to Florida families. Out of respect to her and her family, we are not commenting further about her discussions with our office or law enforcement, except to say that she made the right decision.”  – Melissa Sellers, Communications Director, Governor Rick Scott

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Tom Tillison

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