Daniel Ruth writes that: "somehow, the Senate president managed to forget about a $400,000 home and a $120,000-a-year consulting gig when he filled out his legally required financial disclosure forms — for four years in a row."
A few days ago the Florida Commission on Ethics, which has all the enforcement teeth of Barney Fife trying to arrest John Dillinger, found that Haridopolos had indeed committed a fairly serious breach of propriety by omitting nearly a million dollars of assets and income from his financial disclosure forms, the penalty for which includes some incredibly severe clucking, a rather highly indignant arched eyebrow or two and a withering glare of disappointment.
Just read it: "Ledger sheet shows shortage of scruples".
That's largely because the Ethics Commission has no authority to levy fines or impose very much of any sort of penalty against public officials who might be scruple-challenged. Instead the job of imposing sanctions on a pol with all the attention to detail of Wile E. Coyote contemplating a bomb fuse remains the purview of the Florida Legislature.
And thus the probability the Senate president's fellow senators will take any action against the very guy who holds power over them — from office and committee assignments, as well as determining which legislation will ever see the light of day — is about as likely as the Cleveland City Council approving a "LeBron James Day" proclamation. ...
Of course, the unspoken implication here is that Haridopolos is so busy, so important, so preoccupied with his duties as a big shot stable boy for Tallahassee special interests, he simply didn't have the time to do his due diligence with respect to his own financial paperwork.
Teabagger laff riot
"The tea party wave that swept the nation this fall continues to roil the political waters in Florida. Now the tide is turning on itself, threatening to drown out the movement's message and potentially sink its future. Orlando has become the center of fierce infighting as three tea groups joust with each other for voter attention and donor cash." "Tea Parties Boil Over in Orlando".
Buchanan an "embarrassing re-elect"
"In a report issued today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (aka CREW) lists">lists the 11 'most embarrassing re-elections of 2010,' naming Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, among them and citing a long list of allegations of campaign finance violations as evidence. Buchanan’s name comes up frequently in news articles speculating about which Republicans will compete to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012." "Rep. Buchanan included in watchdog group’s list of 'most embarrassing re-elects'".
"More than that"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Gov.-elect Scott wants to end Florida's corporate income tax as a way of luring businesses. It will take more than that." "Push to attract more jobs should not included sacrificing Florida's environment".
"Not holding our breath."
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The latest batch of impressive reforms offered up by the Florida Ethics Commission — whose members are appointed by the governor, House speaker and Senate president — won't go anywhere unless Republicans who run the Legislature sign off on them."
People like Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who just admitted wrongdoing for failing to disclose assets, as well as clients who paid him tens of thousands of dollars.
"Restore the public's trust".
And people like Senate Rules Committee Chairman John Thrasher, who simply cast Mr. Haridopolos' ethics policy failures as "mistakes."
You'd think the Legislature would be eager to increase its standing and those of other public officials in the wake of scandals that caused Gov. Charlie Crist to remove dozens of officeholders due to corruption charges. And in the wake of former House Speaker Ray Sansom getting booted from his job. He funneled more than $30 million in taxpayer money to a community college where he'd taken a $110,000 job, and now faces trial on a charge of grand theft.
But will the Legislature bite? ...
We're hoping so, but not holding our breath.
"Richard DeNapoli, a Hollywood Republican activist, will lead Broward Republicans for the next two years at a time when the party needs to heal divisions as it attempts to expand its influence. But even Monday night's vote among the 250 or so activists was divisive: DeNapoli won after a second round of voting when two other candidates threw their support behind the initial second place finisher, former Davie Town Mayor Tom Truex, a well-known social conservative. DeNapoli received 129 votes, while Truex got 125 votes." "Richard DeNapoli to lead Broward GOP". The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Thankless political job draws multiple applicants".
Rhee out, and that's a good thing"
Mike Thomas: "It appears that Michelle Rhee, the bomb-throwing school reformer and favorite of Gov.-elect Rick Scott, will not be Florida's new education commissioner. And that's a good thing." "I'm glad school reformer Michelle Rhee not coming to Florida".
Ricky likes them federal handouts
"At a news conference at the museum after the meetings, Scott noted that the military accounts for about 10 percent of Florida's economy. 'We want to make sure we're always thought of as a very military-friendly state,' Scott said." "Scott touts jobs plan".
"Brutal politics afflict clemency process"
Fred Grim: "Jim Morrison, convicted of a lewd act on a Miami stage 41 years ago that only enhanced his counterculture image, gets special consideration by the state clemency board this week. Kenneth Young, 25, model prisoner for 10 years now, consigned to life in prison for crimes committed when he was 14, doesn't rate a hearing. ... Young's rejection, meanwhile, reveals the brutal politics afflicting the clemency process." "Clemency process favors rock idol over a hard case".
Stop whining and "get to work"
The Orlando Sentinel editors point out that "Gov.-elect Rick Scott complained last week that he hadn't been given a heads-up by the White House before President Barack Obama decided to rescind his proposal to allow more drilling in federal waters, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico."
"I was not contacted," Mr. Scott huffed.
This is rich. Mr. Scott — who ranted in his campaign against "Obamacare," derided opponent Alex Sink as an "Obama liberal," and accused her of "Obama math" — expected a courtesy call from the White House.
Mr. Scott should take the snub as a signal to "get to work" on making peace with Mr. Obama.
We wouldn't expect Florida's governor to adopt the president's agenda. But if Mr. Scott can at least forge a civil and constructive relationship with Mr. Obama, Florida stands a better shot of getting White House support for important state priorities, like reforming Medicaid and restoring the Everglades.
Fasano disgusted, outraged
"Sen. Mike Fasano tours the new 'Taj Mahal' courthouse Monday. 'It disgusts me, it's outrageous,' he says." "Fasano irked by opulent courthouse".
Nelson not exactly quaking in his boots
"Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, whose 16-month appointment ends next month, told a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch he'll decide 'pretty soon' whether or not he's running in 2012, when Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is up for reelection. He was asked afterward what some of the factors will be in his decision. He mentioned his family first, then said he'll consider who else is running." "LeMieux says he won't run against 'a Jeb Bush' in 2012 for U.S. Senate". See also "Sen. George LeMieux Weighs U.S. Senate Run".
"Committee meetings for the 2011 legislative session begin Tuesday, and the biggest item on any agenda is Senate Joint Resolution 2, known as the Florida Health Care Freedom Act, which would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to opt out of the Affordable Care Act." "Health Care Amendment on Tap as Committee Meetings Start". See also "Florida Republicans continue fight against Affordable Health Care act".
Entrepreneurs in action
"Feds arrest Fla. man in $110 million Ponzi scheme".
"A proposal to prohibit message sending while driving has returned in the Senate, with Sen. Evelyn Lynn filing a measure that would bar drivers from sending or reading text messages, E-mails, or other forms of communication." "Texting While Driving Bill Will BRB".
"Fasano: Domestic violence law should include pet abuse".
"Crist, Cabinet meet final time as executive branch".