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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mike Haridopolos' office stalls ethics bill.



The office of Senate President Mike Haridopolos has put the kibosh on a fellow Republican’s ethics bill — the same bill Haridopolos himself had co-sponsored last year.

 The decision to stall the bill, which is designed to crackdown on legislative voting conflicts of interest, draws attention to the issue of ethics in a Legislature where lawmakers have run afoul of disclosure laws. Haridopolos, a candidate for U.S. Senate, was recently admonished by his rules chairman for "inadvertently" failing to detail his finances on Constitutionally mandated ethics forms.

Haridopolos often goes out of his way to say that all senators’ bills are treated similarly in that they’re each assigned three committee stops — and it’s up to the committee chairmen to put bill on the agenda.

But when the legislation sponsored by Sen. Paula Dockery appeared on the proposed Wednesday agenda for the Government Oversight and Operations Committee, Haridopolos’ office ordered it removed with no explanation.

Dockery, a Haridopolos critic from Lakeland, said the decision is bad for taxpayers and raises questions about Haridopolos’ commitment to open government — an issue he has championed for years.

"The people of the state of Florida deserve transparency," she said. "If a legislator is going to financially benefit as a result of a certain outcome of proposed legislation, they should not vote on it or influence the way other members vote on it. Plain and simple."

Full story here

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 5:02pm]


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