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Fighting public corruption

Feb 8, 2010

By Dan

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 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.

Share your thoughts with Dan

Please answer the folowing question correctly to verify your humanity:
How do you spell the numeral 7?

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Dan, I like those ideas and would like to add one. I would like to see the the Attorney General given broad powers of oversight over the Board of Medicine. Currently the fourteen Doctors on the fifteen member board of medicine are reluctant to tell any Doctor no matter how dangerous he is to his patients that he should stop practicing medicine. I suppose the Governor really should be doing that but Governors never seem to like doing the dirty work. I think you know what needs to be done here as well as in other corners of the State Government.

What part does this reform play in dealing with the department of corrections? Yes, I know, who cares about prisoners, right? However, whilst they claim reform,these prisons are torturing and abusing prrisoners. There is no reform which contributes to these target problems, both directly and indirectly. I try to advocate for human rights and my son is an inmate who has suffered cruelty while I have to stand by and \\"be quiet, or else.\\" Talk about corruption. What part does this play in your \\"cleanup\\" strategy. Or are you too, afraid to deal with this hornet\\\'s nest?


I agree with what you have shared. Each measure is viable and I support you in that cause. As a person on Social Security I worried that my little bit may be in jeopody and for that reason I am fed up with wasteful spending that will surely jeopardize me!!!

Go get em

I think you have some great ideas. Something sure has to be done.

I am a paralegal, ca not find work and I agree with you on all points. Please do not drop the ball on these issues like everyone else does. God Bless you Edna L. Myers

Dan, Totally concur with your recommedations, suggested reforms and proposed legislative intiatives. Keep up the great work and please know that you have our every best wish in your campaign,. We need more Gelbers in the world! Great video of you at the Florida PTA Rally. You may not have made the connections.I served with your Dad on the school district's Ethics Committtee and Karin Brown is my sister. Karin was one ot the prime movers in organizing the Rally in Tally you spoke at since she is currently serving as the PTA's state president. It is all about education and helping children with Karin.Again, good luck in campaign and all the best to you and your Dad, . Frederick (Buck) Thornburg

I agree about the Board of Medicine. My son died from pancreatic cancer because his doctors saw a problem, but thought he was too young to have that kind of problem. They misdiagnosed the signs.Also, courts should be able to completely erase certain records from their computer system, instead of just sealing or expunging them. I will be forwarding you a copy of a letter regarding a problem that a good friend is having because of a rogue police officer and his young nephew who is trying to be employed by the School Board. Maybe you will be able to help us.

I believe that this issue could have tremendous resonance in Florida's upcoming elections. In times like these, people will pay attention to the abuse money plays in politics. I watched a former officer of The Andersen accounting firm , which demonstrated an alarming lack of ethics in the Enron fiasco, vilify the Presidents programs on health care etc. The Republicans are still vulnerable to this issue which includes the Looting of Florida's Retirement Fund. Talk it and Walk it Larry Stone

At the end of the day, the level of political discussion in Florida, and in the nation as a whole, needs to be raised. Right now people are voting against their own self-interests in the name of ideology. Politicians, like you, need to elevate the level of conversation (which I believe you are trying to do).

What is your position on trying the 9/11 culprits in New York vs military tribunals? What is your position on tort reform?Thank you.

I wish you all the best in this quest. Public corruption is, at its core, betrayal of trust and abuse of power. The prevalence of the citizenry's distrust of government, and its frustation at government's real and apparent inability to honestly and wisely use its hard earned tax dollars, prove that corruption is a serious threat to our democracy. It nourishes cynicism, distrust, alienation and apathy and thereby breeds even more corruption. The price of failure in this realm is tremendous. It will take a new kind of public will to make real positive change happen. I hope your fellow legistators can muster the courage to join your leadership in the charge to thwart the abuse of power corruption represents before it further damages our faith in our government and before it further erodes the foundation of trust essential to the success of our democracy. JHS Broward/Miami

Hello Dan, I've been at the sane location where you were more than once, though we've never had a conversation, we nodded..Afraid I do not see the connection in spelling the word seven with humanity.My humanity is in the form of social justice going back as far as 1948. I'm a member of ACLU and sat at their meeting more than once. A subscriber to several Org.whose views I share, a past board member for some ten years at the nation's largest Asian Am. Org. and another Org. limited to Fl. I will not say the names of Senators and Reps.I;m know to, lest I be accused of name dropping.I do agree with you that many politicians use their position to fill their pockets, so disgustedI am that I no longer donate money to politicians. I must not overuse my space.Thanking you for your dedication, Leslie L.

Thanks Dan. It's time the government started looking out for the people that pay their paychecks. We also need to declare our Sovereignity from the Federal Government and protect our state from too much Federal intervention. I've read that the states are no longer independent, but an arm of the Corporate UNITED STATES. What has happened to our country? I am not for a totalitarian regime, but it looks as if it is going in that direction. Government handling everything. I don't want the government in my body! I'm for health CARE overhaul by making costs of procedures, etc lower and out in the sunshine, before we are "surprised" with the costs. This alone would reel in costs. Insurance is not the answer, they are the problem. Why don't we have basic care clinics that the average person can go to at a reasonable cost where the doctors are paid a salary, to help keep costs low. Why pay into the insurance pot, especially if you rarely need care? That just eats up more of our spendable income that is not spent elsewhere in the economy, eventually hurting businesses. We are taxed and insuranced to death! Make the individual take more responsibility for their health. And stop allowing the municipalities to dump Flouride in our water. Flouride is a poison and creates toxic buildup in our bodies, causing cancer and alzheimers in the brain. This is proven fact. Europe banned Flouride in their water systems, why don't we? Flouride is a byproduct of aluminum production. It does not belong in our water or our toothpaste. Read the back of a tube, "caution- if you ingest more than the amount used, call poison control"! If we clean up the environment and our food supply of toxins and poisons, we could be heathier and not need the governments intervention in the healthcare system. There is a lot this state needs to do, and starting with the corrupt politicians is the first step. Keep up the good work. Life isn't always about the money. We must require an accounting, not allow large donations, and have them take an oath to the PEOPLE, not the party! Push for a mass transit rail system and this state would create thousands of permanent new jobs. Go check out Atlanta's system. Thanks for all you do.

How about licensing for electrical workers? As it stands right now the work that is being performed is barely to code only because laws for electricians are so lack. We should have licensing for elecricians just like cosmetolegist, barbers. I believe all construction trades should be licensed, it would bring income to counties offering it and a higher income to those that have one. It would limit immigrants from taking jobs and place others in shools to learn the trade. There are other state that have done statwide licensing and it has protected the work they have from outside sources doing the work. Florida has one of the hardest testing programs I have ever tested in so why not give it to everyone in the building trades.

We are in total agreement with the proposals above..and then some. Sorry we are both our of town first week in Dec. But please reach out to us again. We would love to co-host an event for you. Peace, Jane and Saul Gross

Let's have a state statute authorizing Counties to have Inspector Generals, having these IG offices designated as law enforcement agencies, and protect their criminal investigations to the same extent those of their federal counterparts are protected. We desperately need this in Florida. I have been an IG at the federal, state , and local levels. Art Sinai 561-752-5556.

Bravo on your PSC reform agenda. There is an agency whose legendary malfeasance and furtive behind-closed-doors games with predatory utilities has long resulted in massive ripoffs of consumers throughout the state. The PSC's recent knee-jerk rejection of a FPL rate increase request immediately following public exposure of a too-cozy relationship is a signal token of how effective openness and public scrutiny can be. Even more critically, a root cause of corruption in public agencies such as this is the absence of an appointment process subject to public approval, and where privileged selections are made by the Governor or his/her agents only. This in something guaranteed to perpetuate the taint of corruption in every group from public college boards of trustees to state agencies as long as the practice prevails.

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