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There has been much talk lately about the prominence of corruption in government. The truth is most public officials are not corrupt. They came to office with a real desire to serve. Whether to improve schools, provide better services, or make government more efficient – the great majority of public officials are in it for the right reasons.
But for those few officials who end up exploiting their public offices for personal gain, it’s time to get serious. Florida leads the nation in elected officials charged with crimes. As a federal prosecutor, I spent the better part of a decade prosecuting public officials throughout South Florida and in Washington, D.C. Most cases were brought to the federal courts because state statutes just didn’t criminalize obvious misconduct, and the feds had the resources to handle what are usually complex and labor-intensive investigations.
This needs to change, which is why I have introduced a series of measures intended to give state attorneys a better arsenal to combat corruption. This past week State Attorneys Mike Satz (Broward), Mike McAuliffe (Palm Beach) and Dennis Ward (Monroe) announced one of those measures: a proposal that would make the willful nondisclosure of a financial conflict a criminal offense. This is an important piece of legislation because the bribery laws do not reach most of the misconduct going on in government. In fact, bribes are fairly unusual – rather it is the public official who simply votes on a measure that brings them a hidden financial gain that is the more common misbehavior.
Join me in my fight to demand reform. Visit www.dangelber.com/demandreform to sign a petition that urges the Florida Legislature to take action.
Here’s a clip of our announcement of the bill at Ft Lauderdale City Hall.
Special Message from Dan Gelber's "Little Brother"- Travis Thomas
Web Video: Bio Piece on Dan Gelber
Sen. Gelber debates against two amendments to HB 1143 that took aim at a woman's right to privacy
Final Video Message from Tallahassee: 2010 Legislative Session was guided by ideological frolics and a politically driven agenda
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Political advertisement paid for and approved by Dan Gelber.