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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ethics Commission dismisses complaints against Edgar and Argenziano

The Florida Commission on Ethics quietly released a press release today clearing Public Service Commission Lisa Edgar, and her aide Roberta Bass, for a second time, on ethics charges of engaging in ex parte communications with FPL lobbyist Ken Hoffman.

St. Petersburg resident Doc Tomkiel filed the complaint after reviewing the timeline of the events, which the Ethics commission failed to consider when it first dismissed the charges against Edgar.

The commission also dismissed a separate complaint against Commissioner Nancy Argenziano alleging improper dealings with a lobbyist.  Here's there press release: Download Ethics Commission Jun10pres

Edgar released the following statement: "The Ethics Commission has done its job thoroughly and honorably, as I knew it would. Commissioner Nancy Argenziano and I can agree on this -- frivolous or malicious complaints are distracting, but it's a free country and a sure way to a headline.

" Transparent efforts to create controversy are what they are -- political theater to serve the ambitions of a few. Meeting our energy needs with environmentally sound and affordable policies will be much harder. Let's all go to work."

But Commissioner Nathan Skop, who has consistently accused Edgar of violating the ex parte rules when she allowed Bass to transmit a message to her from Hoffman, was unhappy with the ruling. He issued this statement:

 "The ruling of the Ethics commission is immaterial to the inappropriateness of Commissioner Edgar's conduct. Under this absurd ruling, it is apparently okay for a commissioner to have a secret communication with FPL while sitting on the bench hearing the case instead of requiring FPL to state their concern publicly on the record.''

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:41am]


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