Commission on Ethics member implores legislature to move forward on ethics reform

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Matt Carlucci, newest member on the Florida Commission on Ethics, issued a letter on Friday imploring House and Senate leaders to pass ethics measures despite continued disagreement between the chambers regarding campaign finance limits.

While the House wants to raise the limits on political campaign contributions, via HB 7131, the Senate’s finance bill (SB 1382) makes no change to these limits.

Carlucci wrote, “On behalf of the Commission, I urge all the parties not to let differences in philosophy in one arena stand in the way of progress on things we all can agree on.

Carlucci also reiterated the Commission’s support of three measures which he believes would strengthen the current proposal. In his words:

1) Restore the language that would allow the Commission to record its final order as a lien in cases where there are unpaid fines for failing to file financial disclosure;

2) Delete the language that allows officials the opportunity to re-do their financial disclosure after a complaint has been filed, or at least make allowing such a second chance discretionary with the Commission; and

3) Give the Commission the ability to investigate complaints on its own initiative, subject to a vote of seven of its nine members.

The Commission is the state’s ethics watchdog which serves multiple roles, including the investigation and reporting of complaints of breaches of public trust by public officers and employees, and the rendering of legally binding advisory opinions interpreting ethics laws. Commission members are appointed by the Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House, with strict rules governing the even mix of political affiliations among members.