Lt. gov resigns over ties to charity under investigation
Jennifer Carroll was rising star in FL politics
6:36 PM, Mar 13, 2013
6:37 PM, Mar 13, 2013
Jennifer Carroll's surprise resignation Wednesday sent shockwaves through Tallahassee's political scene.
Carroll was seen as a rising star in Florida politics. She was even chosen to announce Florida's delegate count at the Republican National Convention last fall.
She resigned as Lieutenant Governor on Wednesday because of her connections to a charity that is facing a federal investigation. Authorities announced they've already served 57 arrest warrants against employees of Allied Veterans of the World for allegations of racketeering, money laundering, and running a gambling operation.
The non-profit organization operates internet gaming cafes in Florida and claims to raise money for veterans.
"Less than 2 percent of their proceeds are going to help charity. This is a $300 million dollar organization," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Carroll's consulting firm worked for Allied Veterans, and she even appeared in a commercial for the charity. Carroll was interviewed by FDLE investigators earlier this week, but at a news conference Wednesday, authorities declined all questions about whether the former Lt. Governor was herself a target of the ongoing investigation.
Carroll weathered another recent scandal when an ex-employee accused her of having a relationship with a staff member. But today's unexpected resignation was a bombshell for lawmakers in Tallahassee.
"We're very surprised, very disappointed. Because we believe that our elected officials have a higher standard," said Rep. Lake Ray (R) of Jacksonville.
There's already talk about what this could mean for Governor Scott.
"Governor Scott, who is, with all due respect, not the most popular guy in Florida, the last thing he needs is having this issue that he has to deal with," said Rep. Mike Fasano (R) of New Port Richey.
Governor Scott said Wednesday he believes Carroll did the right thing by stepping down, but he wouldn't comment on her involvement with Allied Veterans or the federal investigation.
"I'm not going to comment on the investigation, but I have no knowledge she broke the law," Gov. Scott said.
Under Florida statute, Governor Scott can appoint a replacement Lieutenant Governor. He said Wednesday he would not do that until the legislative session ends in May.
ABC Action News has reached out to former Lt. Governor Carroll, but calls for comment have yet to be returned.