MiamiHerald / When Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran convinced the House to pass ethics rules in 2016 that require lobbyist for local governments and other tax-funded entities to disclose their contracts, it was a victory for transparency. Finally, the public would see how much public money their local governments were spending to lobby the Legislature. A web page provided a one-stop resource for tracking such expenditures.
Sadly, that victory was short-lived because the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee failed to ensure that information collected from lobbyists was posted or that lobbyists actually filed the required disclosures.
The web page went a full year without a single update, even as some lobbyists continued to send in information. But many lobbyists didn’t, and the committee took no steps to check for violations, or even remind lobbyists of the requirements.
“We’re not in the business of trying to seek out and find violations,” said Rep. Larry Metz, chairman of the ethics committee. “If we’re told someone is not complying, we’re going to take that under advisement and act accordingly.”