For weeks, bloggers and others who contribute to the Florida Progessive Coalition website wanted to know who “vandalized” a entry about Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and removed information about the age-discrimination lawsuit filed against him.
The culprit in the Internet whodunit emerged this week: It was the lieutenant governor himself.
Kottkamp insists he wasn’t trying to do anything “sinister” but just update the biographical information.
“To be honest, I’ve never done editing like that before,” Kottkamp said Wednesday. “I clearly don’t know what I’m doing.”
That answer is “ridiculous,” said Dave Harper, the manager of the website who lives in Orange County.
He believes the editing job was an attempt to censor information that made Kottkamp look bad.
Harper said that back in early May, someone went onto the group’s website and edited a “wiki” entry on Kottkamp. Removed was text and links to negative stories about the former legislator, including one from The Miami Herald that reported the state had paid $50,000 in 2004 to settle an age-discrimination lawsuit filed against Kottkamp by his former aide.
Harper traced it back to a state computer. He called and wrote state officials and said he got nowhere until he threatened to report the incident to other officials.
In June, he got a short letter from state officials acknowledging the computer used was registered to Larry Ringers, the chief of staff for Kottkamp. Harper posted all this information on the group’s website.
When asked about the incident this week, Kottkamp acknowledged that he used his state-owned computer to look at the site, which he learned about through a Google search.
He said he spent five minutes one day trying to update his address and phone number on his own biographical entry. Harper is miffed that state resources were used to make changes to the entry.
“I feel very much it was censorship,” he said. “That kind of government sponsored censorship is very Orwellian.”
A little background: The FPC is the brainchild of Kenneth Quinnell, founder of T.Rex’s Guide to Life and very active in getting the progressive wave moving here in Florida. Dave Harper has also been a driving force in this effort to bring Florida back from the ignominy of 2000 and out of the clutches of national embarrassments like Katherine Harris.
I think we of the Florida Progressive Coalition should regard this as a badge of honor; clearly we’re making some progress in getting the attention of some important people. And if this ham-handed attempt by the Lieutenant Governor to edit the facts about his life and times is any indication of how he’d run the state, then he was right: he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.