Times/Herald identifies 11 ex convicts of getting insurance licenses from Alex Sink's office

Will this story become an issue in the last 19 days of the campaign? You can bet it will if Rick Scott, already on the defensive for his previous record as a businessman, has anything to say.  And he does, with millions still at his disposal to air television ads that can make life hard for the Democrat.  Perhaps he'll pick up on this part of Bender's story:

Of the 11 ex-felons Sink granted insurance licenses, only one has been arrested since, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and that was for driving while intoxicated. And none have been the subject of a consumer complaint or disciplinary action from Sink's office.

But in 2008, Sink said, ``Floridians depend on the state to protect them from criminals.'' She urged Gov. Charlie Crist to issue an order banning all felons from getting a mortgage license.

CFO Sink has said that her office has followed the letter of the law.

This morning Michael Bender with the Miami Herald/St. Pete Times reports that Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's office has awarded at least 11 insurance agents convicted of various felonies their license to sell insurance in Florida, a story that has been percolating on conservative blogs ever since Rick Scott brought it up at last Friday's Univision debate.

On Monday the Scott campaign challenged Sink to detail how many convicted criminals received licenses during her term as CFO and to release all files pertaining to convicts who obtained licenses on her watch.

Jeff Atwater, now running for CFO, took a shot at Sink yesterday when asked about the report, saying:

The chief financial officer is obligated to look out for the financial security of Florida's families," Atwater said in a statement. "Instead, the record shows the CFO has routinely granted licensure to applicants who have been convicted of felonies and therefore may pose a threat to consumers.

"The CFO has clear authority to deny licensure to any applicant with a criminal history. As CFO, I will exercise that authority.

"We must protect citizens from financial crimes. Denying licensure to convicted felons is a good place to start," said Atwater.

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