Integrity Florida

Florida Department of State

The Florida Division of Elections says 18 people have qualified to run for governor. They include Republicans, Democrats, independents, a Libertarian, and write-in candidates.

The two frontrunners, Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist, disclosed their financial records when they filed papers to run earlier this month.

So did Democrat Nan Rich, the former minority leader of the Florida Senate who is struggling to get any attention ahead of her primary race with Crist. 

Gray Swoope
chooseosceola/flickr

Florida’s public-private economic development agency is holding a two-day meeting in Coral Gables this week.

Enterprise Florida (EFI) is a partnership between business and government to lure companies and jobs to the state. It’s funded by Florida taxpayers as well as private-sector businesses.

The meeting will include updates from Gov. Rick Scott, EFI President & CEO Gray Swoope, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad and “jobs success stories.”

Ethics Reform In Florida Called 'A Mixed Bag'

Mar 19, 2013
LaCrai Mitchell/WLRN-Miami Herald News

At the WLRN Miami Herald Town Hall meeting last month, Barbara Ricano from Sunrise wanted to know:

“After so many ethics violations and repeated ethical issues involving campaigns and elected officials, why are the consequences so minor? Why is there no real teeth to any of the penalties?”

Members of the ethics commission have complained that while they have the ability to fine office holders who commit violations, they don’t have the authority to collect those fines.

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz wants to change that.

Photo courtesy of the governor's office

Florida taxpayers have spent $5 million on a budget transparency portal called Transparency 2.0 that promised to herald a new era for citizen access to the state’s informational stores.

Currently, questions remain as to whether the public will ever be able to use the program, which is ready to go but has sat unused for a year and a half.

Integrity Florida

  Gov. Rick Scott's aggressive economic development effort got more legislative pushback Tuesday as budget committees in both chambers questioned the direction, expense and oversight of the governor's "jobs, jobs, jobs" agenda.

Images_of_Money / Flickr

Florida has one of the strictest rules in the country for lobbyist gift-giving: an absolute ban.

And the state has one of toughest laws for campaign contributions: a $500 limit.

And yet, there’s a contradiction that everyone in Tallahassee seems to know about.

A lobbyist cannot buy a legislator dinner, or a cup of coffee, or a bottle of water. But a lobbyist can hand over a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars in a “CCE.”

TooFarNorth / Flickr

Florida has a national reputation for its Public Records Law. But a new study by the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International has given the Sunshine State a D in “Public Access to Information.”

The State Integrity Investigation is the first attempt to look across all states at how good the system is for preventing political corruption.

The investigation graded each state on more than 300 indicators of accountability, transparency, and corruption risk. The indicators are divided into 14 categories, which appear on the report card.

State Integrity Investigation Day Two: A Method

Oct 3, 2012

The State Integrity Investigation – a collaboration of Public Radio International, the Center for Public Integrity and WLRN in Miami – is the first comprehensive look at state government  for every state in the country. What’s working? What’s not working? How susceptible is the process to corruption? 

Florida's government, overall, was given a C-minus for its integrity – not great, but still the 18th best in the country.

Photo courtesy of senatorchrissmith.com

This story originally appeared in The Miami Herald on March 19, 2012.

The first time Florida Sen. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, ran for office, he was just three years out of law school - a 28-year-old who still believed in the power of his lucky navy blue suit. As Smith puts it, he was a "nobody" from Broward County.

And yet, "these people would just show up" as he campaigned around the district. They were lobbyists. "[They'd] pat me on the back and say, 'Hey, I want to support you, ' and then give me a bunch of checks and say: 'Now remember me.' "