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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ausman: Florida Democrats have an ethics problem

110607_ausman.jpgDemocratic provocateur Jon Ausman today called on the Florida Democratic Party to create a code of ethics and take a cue from the national party by banning donations from corporations and lobbyists. By Ausman's count, the state party collected $1.2 million from corporations and more than $267,000 from lobbyists in the first three months of the year.

"This code of ethics needs to be immediately adopted by the Florida Democratic Party in order to clearly show both its own members and the public that it holds itself to the same high ethical standards that the Democratic National Committee and President Barack Obama recommend," Ausman said.

Ausman insisted that his press conference this morning was not retaliation after state party Chairman Rod Smith's decision to suspend Ausman from the state committee for the remainder of his term. Instead, Ausman, who remains a member of the Democratic National Committee, said his suspension was "an opportunity" for the party to create a specific ethics policy. Ausman was suspended according to provisions in the state party's charter.

There was a bit of theater to Ausman's press conference this morning. Ausman is offering $250 for anyone who can bring him a copy of the ethics policy he says doesn't exist. And he's offering another $250 to anyone who can write the best ethics policy for Democrats. He'll announce a contest winner on July 4.

FDP spokesman Eric Jotkoff declined to comment on Ausman's suggestions, saying the "former committeeman" has a "clear lack of credibility or standing on these issues."

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 12:54pm]

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