Sundown on Project Sunburst

Four years ago, Governor Rick Scott announced Project Sunburst, a website that would make his office more transparent.

E-mails to and from the Governor would be accessible to the public through an online, read-only e-mail viewer. In addition, e-mails to and from 11 members of the Governor’s Office leadership team, who he claimed constituted more than 80 percent of the public records requests for e-mails, would be available.

“Since my first day in office, I have committed to making sure the citizens of our state have access to the information they need to hold their state government accountable,” Governor Scott said when the Project Sunburst was announced. “I invite Floridians to view my e-mails, as well as those of my leadership team, to learn more about how we are working to make Florida the best state for businesses to grow and expand and create jobs.”

The Governor’s Project Sunburst policy required e-mails to be posted within seven days of receipt or creation unless permission has been granted for an extended deadline. However, the goal is for e-mails to be available within 24 hours.

Today Project Sunburst still exists,, but it displays no emails from the governor’s office. None. Zero.

Gov. Scott no longer uses his governor’s account to send emails.

The First Amendment Foundation, a Tallahassee-based watchdog group, sent an email to its members saying Project Sunburst “has shed little light on the activities of the governor, his staff or his working relationship with the departments of state government.”

The foundation pointed out that the emails of the governor’s chief of staff, Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and other members of his leadership team are not available on the Project Sunburst website.