Already this year state lawmakers and top Florida politicians have received more than 100-thousand dollars in gifts. Some have also increased their net worth by millions while in office. As Whitney Ray tells us, the findings are part of a corruption risk report released by Integrity Florida, a government watchdog group calling for more transparency in state government.
Flights to exotic locations, fancy meals and extravagant hotel stays are just some of the gifts given to Florida politicians you put in office.
Monday, Integrity Florida released this report exposing, among other things, gifts given to lawmakers during the first six months of the year.
“We’ve posted gifts, more than 100 thousand dollars worth of gifts public officials have received this year,” said Dan Krassner, the President of Integrity Florida.
The gifts range from the extravagant to the mundane, and they’re all legal because they aren’t from lobbyists.
A neighbor mowed the lawn of Representative Larry Metz while he was in Tallahassee for session. Price tag 200 bucks. Representative Richard Corcoran received 850 dollars worth of cigars, all from other lawmakers.”
“Legislators especially are still receiving gifts despite the gift ban and I think you have to look at it on a case by case basis,” said Ben Wilcox, Integrity Florida.
The report also highlights increases in the net worth of elected leaders. In total Florida’s 40 senators have seen their net worth grow by 35 million dollars since they took office. Integrity Florida Director Dan Krassner says it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing anything wrong.
“There’s nothing wrong with people making money but if they’re making more money because of their public job, their government job, we need to hold them accountable for that,” said Krassner.
While the government watchdog group stops short of calling out lawmakers by name, they say with stronger state transparency laws, it would be apparent who’s taking advantage of their office.
The report also calls out 11 state lawmakers who work for firms that lobby. It’s legal, but Integrity Florida is asking them to post online what causes their employers lobby for.