Gelber pushes package of anticorruption measures
Sen. Dan Gelber, the Miami Beach Democrat who's running for attorney general, used an appearance before Florida prosecutors Wednesday to push a series of legislative proposals aimed at restoring honesty in government. Gelber said historically, the Legislature has been "very cold" to the idea of cracking down on forms of corruption, but that a string of scandals may have changed the atmosphere.
"I believe there's an appetite this year," Gelber told the state attorneys, seated around him on the Capitol's 22nd floor. "I think the amount of public corruption prosecutions has created a total lapse of credibility with the public."
Among Gelber's proposals to clean up government:
- Prohibit legislators from controlling soft-money committees known as committees of continuous existence that can accept unlimited amounts of money from legislators.
- Passage of a so-called "theft of honest services" law at the state level, similar to a federal law that has been a useful tool for federal prosecutors to prosecute corruption cases.
- Apply more "sunshine" to the Legislature and require faster turn-around time for public records requests.
- Make agencies' inspectors general more independent. Instead of reporting to their agency heads, they should report to the state Auditor General, and could be fired only with the agreement of at least three of four Cabinet members.
Gelber is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general along with Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres.