The Republican Party of Florida today held a press conference admonishing gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink for granting insurance licenses to convicted felons.

The Times/Herald reported on the story this morning:

The Times/Herald has identified at least 11 agents convicted of felonies such as grand larceny, fraudulent use of credit cards and writing bad checks who received their license from Sink, the Democratic nominee for governor.

A twelfth applicant was licensed nine years after a shoplifting conviction, despite rules that appear to require a 15-year waiting period for that crime. Sink’s office did not respond to a question about that case.

During the RPOF press conference, which was held outside of Jacksonville’s City Hall, Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, said that Sink had used “poor judgment as Florida’s CFO” and was guilty of “doing one thing and saying another.” Hasner’s claim that Sink is acting hypocritically come in the wake of Sink’s 2008 claim that Don Saxon, a now-retired Florida mortgage regulator who allegedly failed to halt criminal felons from receiving mortgage broker licenses, should quit his job.

According to Hasner, Sink “wanted Saxon’s head on a platter … but now doesn’t want to be held to the same standard.” Hasner issued a call to Sink’s office to release “all information regarding felons [who were] granted licensure on her watch.”

State Attorney Angela Corey echoed Hasner’s opinion, saying that she implored Sink to release those records. Corey also seized the opportunity to talk about Sink’s opponent, Rick Scott: “What I love about Rick Scott is that … he will put really violent criminals away and help [others] get jobs … but not jobs where they have access to financials.” Corey said that Scott would “take the positive approach” and that granting insurance licenses to felons was akin to “setting them up for failure.”

State Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville, was also in attendance, and said that recent allegations regarding insurance licenses was a “scary situation.”

When asked if he felt that Republican nominee Rick Scott should be held to the same standards of transparency which he was asking of Sink (specifically regarding Scott’s now-infamous choice to plead the Fifth 75 times in a deposition), Weinstein grew defensive, saying opponents “are attacking him for something he was never convicted of.” Weinstein said Sink’s commercials “make it appear that pleading the Fifth was somehow related to the situation with Columbia/HCA. It’s distateful to see someone in law enforcement backing up that allegation. There was no evidence, no deposition, no conviction.”

Weinstein echoed Scott talking points when he called the deposition “a totally private matter and not related.”

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