Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet voted Tuesday morning to hire Daniel Nordby and law firm Shutts & Bowen to represent them in a case alleging Sunshine Law violations — the same legal representation as the Republican Party of Florida.
Nordby has a history of representing Florida Republicans. From 2012-14, he was general counsel to the House of Representatives, a GOP-controlled body, and he represented the chamber during lawsuits over proposed redistricting plans.
Five law firms applied for the job to represent the governor and Cabinet — which includes Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — and they made a hiring decision just 10 minutes after starting the call.
Bondi recommended hiring Shutts and Bowen, citing the firm’s experience with state government.
“Dan (Nordby) and Jason Gonzales have vast experience with state government,” she said. “I’m confident they will do a superb job on our behalf.”
Shutts & Bowen proposed a $275 per hour rate, which will be paid by taxpayers. In total, the Cabinet has budgeted $50,000 to spend on outside legal counsel to represent the group, not including any outside lawyers hired by the individual Cabinet officers.
Bondi said this rate was the lowest bid, one of two at that price.
A survey of the proposals shows that’s mostly true. Two other firms — Foley & Lardner and Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson — offered a range of rates for various members of their teams, which spans $210-$305 and $110-$290, respectively.
The Cabinet has been sued by St. Petersburg lawyer Matt Weidner and most of the state’s news organizations — including the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald — in a case alleging that they violated the Sunshine Law in the forced resignation last December of Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.
Original article here.