18 March 2013
Will the 2013 legislature leave a legacy of stronger or weaker Florida ethics laws?
Senate President Don Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford, Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Chairman Jack Latvala, House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee Chairman Jim Boyd, committee members and staff are all to be commended for their constructive, bipartisan pursuit of ethics reform. By addressing the issues outlined in the Claypool memos, these leaders will leave a lasting legacy of strengthening Florida ethics laws.
Integrity Florida applauds Florida Commission on Ethics Chair Susan Horovitz Maurer, Commission Legislative Liaison Matt Carlucci, Executive Director Virlindia Doss and Operations Director Kerrie Stillman for their continued efforts to strengthen ethics laws and the state’s ethics law enforcement agency.
Florida is #1 in public corruption. Since 1976, Florida’s federal courts have convicted more than 1,800 individuals for public corruption. Florida led the U.S. in federal public corruption convictions from 2000-2010, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (read more).
Florida faces a corruption crisis that threatens the state’s reputation, its economy and its ability to attract new jobs and capital (read more).
Florida received a failing grade for ethics enforcement. In 2012, State Integrity Investigation, a collaborative effort of Global Integrity, the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International gave Florida an overall C-minus grade on a Corruption Risk Report Card that also included a failing grade for ethics enforcement agencies.
30 other states have ethics commissions with more ethics law enforcement authority than Florida. The Florida Legislature has not authorized the Florida Commission on Ethics to initiate ethics complaints (read more).
Repeal Florida’s Corruption Tax. Recommendation of the 19th Statewide Grand Jury “A Study of Public Corruption in Florida and Recommended Solutions” (read more).
Floridians have not seen our state leaders pass comprehensive ethics reform since the implementation of the 1976 Sunshine Amendment in 1977. The Sunshine Amendment provided additional constitutional guarantees concerning ethics in government. In the area of enforcement, the Sunshine Amendment requires that there be an independent commission to investigate complaints concerning breaches of public trust by public officers and employees other than judges.
Progress Florida is a nonprofit organization promoting progressive values through online organizing, media outreach, and networking with Florida’s leading progressive organizations.
The Tea Party Network is an organization of 80 tea party, 9/12, and other conservative groups within the state of Florida.
Phil Claypool, retired executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics with 35 years of experience with Florida ethics laws.
Integrity Florida is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute and government watchdog whose mission is to promote integrity in government and expose public corruption.
Follow Coalition members on Twitter: @ProgressFlorida, @TTPNetwork, @IntegrityFL