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Power Breakfast: Budget Cuts Slash Funding For Cyber-crime Investigators

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"I haven't been back in Tallahassee since before I was elected to Congress. But I think this is so unbelievably important," Wasserman Schultz says.

What's so important is the fate of a state program aimed at an unspeakable sort of criminal.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of predators who are lurking online using children in sexual acts to bring pleasure to themselves and others," she explains.

According to Wasserman Schultz, the sunshine state has come a long way in remaking its image as a shadowy haven for those who want to conceal their identity. But Florida's Republican governor has put forth a budget that eliminates more than half the cyber-crime investigators who go after child porn producers and online predators. The plan also slashes funding and moves the program out of the state attorney general's office.

"We do have to make cuts. We have to make smart cuts," Wasserman Schultz says. "We don't have to treat children like they're expendable and we don't have to put children's lives at risk, which is exactly what's going to happen here if this cut is allowed to stand."

Which brings us back to the idea that this member of Congress is taking an unusual step by squaring off with a state governor. Wasserman Schultz championed a 2008 federal law to coordinate the efforts of state programs. And this year in the House, she got an amendment to the GOP's stripped-down budget for at least $30 million in funding for Internet Crimes Against Children task forces.

"But that doesn't preserve the investigators in Florida," Wasserman Scultz says. If Gov. Scott's proposal goes forward, we risk not being able to use those resources that would be coming down from the federal government.


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