Florida senator accused of groping removed as budget chair
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida senator accused by six women of groping or making demeaning comments about their bodies was removed from his powerful position as budget chairman on Monday.
Republican Sen. Jack Latvala is also a candidate for governor. He has denied the allegations. Senate President Joe Negron called him Monday morning to discuss the allegations and they agreed he should step down from the chairmanship, said Negron spokeswoman Katie Betta.
Also Monday, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said Latvala should leave office altogether if the allegations against him are true.
“There should be no corruption in politics,” he said. “We should expect all of our elected officials to live at the highest standards of our society.”
Following an event in Fort Myers on Monday, Scott added that it was important to find out “the real facts of what actually happened.”
Scott last year criticized comments President Donald Trump made on a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump bragged about women letting him kiss them and grab their genitals because he is famous. But Scott continued to support Trump’s presidential campaign.
The allegations against Latvala were first reported by Politico Florida last week and Negron opened an investigation into the claims. Latvala didn’t answer a call to his cellphone Monday and his voicemail was full. A campaign spokesman didn’t immediately return a call and email seeking comment.
Negron replaced Latvala as chair of the Appropriations Committee with Sen. Rob Bradley.