I will be out of the loop for a while, so I wanted to be sure to touch base with you all. This may be the only post before my hiatus,(quit smiling), or it may not. Just depends on how things are going by Monday morning.
I followed with interest all the hoopla about the recently passed ANTI-CORRUPTION BILL by 100% of the Florida legislature. Yep, every single Republican and every single Democrat voted for the so called Florida Today Network ANTI-CORRUPTION BILL. Coinciding with this rare voting anomaly, were recent studies that placed Florida either #1 or #3 in federal public corruption convictions.
So l began to ask, how is it, that the most or one of the most corrupt legislatures, ( money flows from Tallahassee), would vote 100% for a bill to correct the problem that is them!? Of course, here we have a great example of “cooperation” by Dems and Republicants. A kind of CYA strategy.
Additionally,the Florida Today and Mat Reed claim to have “spearheaded” this. This is the same Florida Today, along with Matt Reed that assured us that Obama was going to be great for America, that ObamaCare would save every family $2500/ year, that we could keep our doctor, that we could keep our health plan, That Common Core was great for our kids, that the IRS doesnt single our conservative groups, that Benghazi was due to a video, that Hillary’s emails are a Republican conspiracy.So…I ask questions..
This is along the same lines as a cat cleaning it’s own cat box…aint going to happen! It just gets covered up!!
Texas edges Florida on most corrupt list
Sunshine State falls to number 3 for most federal corruption convictions, but overall grade drops
A watchdog group says Florida no longer leads the nation in federal public corruption convictions. Integrity Florida Tuesday updated a three-year-old State Integrity Investigation and found the Sunshine State has fallen to number three, behind Texas and California.
There’s no reason to celebrate, though. According to Ben Wilcox, the state’s overall grade for fighting corruption and ethics abuse dropped from a C-minus to a D-minus. That study was conducted by the Center for Public Integrity.
Integrity Florida graded the states on 14 categories measuring government accountability. Florida improved in only one category – Ethics Enforcement Agencies. The state’s grade went from an F to a D-minus.
Florida law dealing with corruption is so weak, said Wilcox that the researchers relied only on federal data to prepare the report.
“The majority of public corruption convictions we see come from the federal government; prosecuted by the Department of Justice and the FBI,” said Wilcox. “Florida had 622 public corruption convictions over a 10-year period. That’s an average of 62 convictions a year. That’s a lot of corruption.”
Integrity Florida says the Legislature should consider bills fighting public corruption every session. It is calling on lawmakers to act on SB 582, SB 686 and HB 593.
SB 582 is sponsored by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and puts into law two anti-corruption recommendations that were in a Statewide Grand Jury Report released in 2010. The measure is backed by Gannett, which publishes this newspaper.
The Misuse of Public Office Act of 2015 would expand the definition of public servants to include contractors working on government projects and replace a “corrupt intent” standard that prosecutors say is nearly impossible to prove with the less stringent requirement of proving a defendant acted “intentionally or knowingly” in corruption cases.
“Our state attorneys are asking for that ability. They say they need that tool to go after public corruption,” said Wilcox. “I think we should listen to the state attorneys and give them the tools they need to prosecute corruption.”
A Senate committee will consider the proposal Monday afternoon.
SB 686/HB 593 is an omnibus corruption bill containing SB 582 provisions and additional auditing requirements for schools, reporting requirements for water management districts and limitations on Enterprise Florida board members.
Other ideas Integrity Florida would like lawmakers to consider include
- Allow the Commission on Ethics to initiate investigations,
- Increase penalties for ethics violations to $20,000, and
- In criminal cases, change the burden of proof from “clear and convincing evidence” to “a preponderance of evidence.”
The Florida Legislature’s 2016 session begins next Tuesday.
Contact James Call at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on twitter @CallTallahassee.