Ethics Reform, Latest Updates

Florida’s Path to Ethics Reform

0 Comments 05 January 2016

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Integrity Florida is releasing a new corruption risk report on Florida’s ethics laws titled Florida’s Path to Ethics Reform. The report finds Florida is making progress in the fight against public corruption, but much more should be done. Read the report here.

Key Findings

  • Florida is no longer leading the nation in federal public corruption convictions as was the case from 2000 through 2010. From the latest available Department of Justice data, Florida had 622 public corruption convictions from 2003 through 2013. That means Florida is third behind Texas with 870 corruption convictions and California with 678. Federal public corruption convictions in Florida have declined in recent years.
  • In the 2015 update to the State Integrity Investigation, Florida’s grade for “Ethics Enforcement Agencies” went from an “F” in 2012 to a “D-minus” in 2015. The report cites the ethics reform/anti-corruption measures adopted by the Florida legislature in 2013 and 2014 as the reason for the improvement, but says those reforms “were not enough to make a real impact.”
  • The report examines the anti-corruption recommendations made by the Nineteenth Statewide Grand Jury in 2010 and finds only a few have been adopted and the majority have never even been considered by the Florida legislature.

Policy Options for the 2016 Florida legislature.

  • Senate Bill 582 by Senator Don Gaetz would put into law two anti-corruption recommendations of the Nineteenth Statewide Grand Jury. The bill would expand the definition of public servants so government vendors could be prosecuted under bribery and misuse of office statutes. It would also remove language in the statutes that requires prosecutors prove defendants acted “corruptly” or with “corrupt intent,” making it easier to prosecute public corruption.
  • Senate Bill 686/House Bill 593 by Senator Gaetz and Representative Larry Metz is an omnibus ethics reform measure that contains the provisions in Senate Bill 582 along with other good reforms including requiring elected city officials to file full financial disclosure.

Read the report Florida’s Path to Ethics Reform for more ethics reform/anti-corruption policy options.

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