In my years as a newspaper reporter, I have covered my fair share of investigations of public or elected officials.
Too often, the officials in charge of these investigations keep details close to the vest.
On the one hand, it is understandable. Investigators do not want to share too much information to tip off the public official they have in their crosshairs.
On the other hand, however, it is unfair to the general public, particularly if the official is seeking elected office.
The latest example involves an FBI investigation into the Tallahassee, Florida, city government. Andrew Gillum, the current mayor of Tallahassee, is a leading — or the leading candidate, polls seem to suggest — for governor of Florida.
The public record writ large is unclear about the full extent of this investigation and whether it may ensnare Gillum. Federal investigators owe it to the voters in Florida to clarify the scope of their investigation and specifically to what extent they are targeting Gillum.
As a reporter, it can be very frustrating — and difficult — to balance the public’s need to know with tight-lipped investigators. But, the people deserve an update on the case’s status as it now stands, understanding it could change course moving forward.
That is only fair to Gillum, who has denied any wrongdoing, and, more importantly, the voters in Florida.