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Former Hillsborough elections supervisor Buddy Johnson cleared of ethics complaints

Buddy Johnson, the former Hillsborough County supervisor of elections, was cleared of ethics charges related to his time in office, according to officials from the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The commission, which announced its findings Wednesday, said it had no probable cause to believe that Johnson misused his position to request expense reimbursement two days after leaving public office. The commission also said it did not find evidence that Johnson had misspent or diverted federal grant money to finance his 2008 re-election campaign.

The committee convened in Tallahassee in a closed session on Nov. 30.

Johnson was appointed Hillsborough elections chief by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003 after Pam Iorio decided to run for Tampa mayor. Facing a political newcomer in 2004, Johnson handily won a new term in office. His tenure was marked by missteps, including forgetting to notify voters of switched polling places and erasing a county mayor initiative from the ballot.

In 2008, he launched a re-election campaign against Phyllis Busansky, a former Hillsborough commissioner who had served in county and state executive positions. He lost the race, and was accused of using federal grants to fund his campaign.

In 2011 an FBI investigation found Johnson had not committed any federal crimes and closed its case against him.

Former Hillsborough elections supervisor Buddy Johnson cleared of ethics complaints 12/05/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:43pm]

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