A new report from MyFoxTampaBay.com states that Florida is the worst state in the U.S. for public corruption. Integrity Florida, a watchdog group that aims to expose public corruption, published the Corruption Risk Report, which details the 781 public corruption-related convictions in Florida in the last decade. According to the report, Florida leads the nation with “public officials and employees who have been accused, charged and convicted of breaking the law,” calling it a crisis that threatens the state’s economy and its ability to attract new jobs.
Reiterating the fact that Florida ranks number one in the amount of federal public corruption convictions in the last ten years, the head of a white collar crimes division at a FL law firm explains that the problem boils down to ethics. In reference to the Florida Commission on Ethics, who is responsible for investigating ethics complaints, he explains that the commission lacks the “teeth” needed for fully investigating and punishing those who do wrong. The white collar crimes division head feels that the current system in place “allows individuals to skirt the ethics laws … because we have a weak and powerless commission on ethics.”
Integrity Florida is urging change by giving the ethics commission more power, requiring top officials to disclose financial transactions over $1,000, and launching a whistleblower hotline. In addition, they are aiming to increase the fines for ethics violations from $10,000 to $25,000. Each year, bills that focus on ethics reform are brought up by Florida legislators, but are continually shot down. However, the hope is that the Risk Report gives citizens the ammunition they need to push for ethics reform.
At Musca Law, our Florida public corruption defense attorneys understand the serious nature of such charges and the severe penalties one may face if convicted. Our experienced legal team will work diligently to ensure you get the best possible outcome in your case to protect your personal and professional future, and we will strive to handle your case discreetly and efficiently. To see how we can assist you, please call (800) 687-2252 to schedule a confidential case evaluation.