Florida Commission on Ethics
Florida has been a leader among the states in establishing ethics standards for public officials and recognizing the right of the people to protect the public trust against abuse. The Florida Commission on Ethics is required to submit to the Legislature from time to time a report of its work and recommendations for legislation deemed necessary to improve the code of ethics and its enforcement. The Constitution provides for investigations of complaints concerning breaches of the public trust and provides that the Florida Commission on Ethics be the independent commission to conduct these investigations.
Duties statutorily assigned to the Commission on Ethics include investigating sworn complaints alleging violations of the ethics laws, making penalty recommendations for violations, maintaining a financial disclosure notification system totaling 37,306 reporting officials and employees in 2012, and issuing advisory opinions regarding Part III of Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, and Article II, Section 8, Florida Constitution. The Commission also is charged with administering the Executive Branch Lobby Registration System and Trust Fund, which provides for registration of all cabinet and executive agency lobbyists.
The legal, investigative, and administration functions of the Commission are performed by the Ethics Commission staff, consisting of 22 full-time equivalent positions. In the Legal Section under the supervision of the Executive Director and the General Counsel, the legal section drafts opinions, orders, rules, and proposed legislation for consideration by the Commission, teaches, and responds to inquires about the ethics laws. In addition, the legal staff represents the Commission in litigation. In the Financial Disclosure Section the Program Administrator, under the supervision of the Executive Director, responds to questions about the disclosure laws and compiles a list of the persons statewide who are...