Richard Corcoran Archives - Page 5 of 34 - Florida Politics

Richard Corcoran wants to meet with Trump administration on refugee resettlement in Florida

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is applauding President Donald Trump‘s executive order temporarily banning refugees from entering the United States.

The Land O’Lakes Republican also wants to work with the administration to improve the transparency of the process, particularly on resettling refugees in Florida.

In a letter sent Monday, Corcoran praised the president’s “bold action” on the issue, while complaining that the current relationship between the state and federal governments over refugees going to Florida, is “unacceptable and an abrogation of our duty to protect the safety of Florida residents.”

“Despite the state’s legitimate concern with security risks — a concern even more compelling in Florida given recent tragedies perpetrated by terrorists — there is no opportunity for Florida to institute more rigorous scrutiny of people coming to our state and receiving our services,” Corcoran wrote.

Trump’s executive order bars entry to refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days and from Syria indefinitely. It also blocks entry from seven distinct countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. In the original order, green card holders from those seven nations would be banned from re-entering the U.S.

The action has spurred protests around both the country and the world, though administration officials say that the reaction from the media and Democrats have been “hysterical,” pointing out that only about 109 travelers were detained in the first 24 hours out of about 325,000 who typically enter the United States in a day.

In the past year, Corcoran says nearly 700 people from Syria, more than 300 people from Iraq, and almost 200 people from Afghanistan were brought to Florida as part of the refugee program.

However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received no information from the Department of Homeland Security or other federal agencies about those refugees, which severely hampered any effort to differentiate between genuine refugees “and persons who pose a threat to Floridians.”

In the fall of 2015, Gov. Rick Scott blasted the Obama administration’s plan to relocate up to 425 Syrian refugees to Florida, complaining about how federal officials would not give him or the FDLE the ability to do background checks on those refugees.

The issue was brought up last week at a committee meeting in the Florida House.

Mark Glass, an intelligence officer with the FDLE, told the members of the Florida House Subcommittee on Children, Families and Seniors that the vetting of refugees from places like Syria and Somalia is compromised because of the possibility of identity theft.

Glass complained that the agency was not allowed to see the screening questions or answers of refugees seeking resettlement.

“Knowing the nature of the questions and details and the responses provided could assist FDLE and other local public safety officials in being able to potentially connect the dots of inconsistencies in statements made by the applicant, especially if the applicant is stating they have family or friends in Florida,” he said.

That was the same committee hearing where the entire Democratic caucus walked out of at one point when Mark Krekorian from the Center for Immigration Studies testified via Skype.

“As you know, the federal government routinely entangles state governments in national policies and programs,” Corcoran said in the letter. “Once established, such programs are operated with minimal opportunities for input or control by state policymakers. We look forward to a robust re-examination of the relationships between states and the federal government under your leadership.”

Mike Hightower speaks out on lobbying reform: ‘Bring it on’

Mike Hightower

Mike Hightower, now in his eighth decade on the planet and nearing the end of his fourth decade as a major player in Florida politics, has several distinguishing traits.

One: his yellow necktie. The signature raiment is referred to by his son as part of his “costume.”

Another, more compelling, characteristic: a sense of optimism and the long view of changes in the lobbying profession, which came to the fore in a wide-ranging conversation with FloridaPolitics.com Friday afternoon in Jacksonville.

Among those issues discussed: assuming the presidency of Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists, a 15-year-old organization of especial note after Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran very vocally expressed an intention to make the job of lobbyist a bit tougher.

As for lobbying reform, Hightower welcomes the challenge: “We celebrate it. Bring it on.”

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FAPL, said Hightower, is intended to ensure the “integrity” of the lobbying profession, with courses on ethics and codification of professional standards.

The guiding principle, according to Hightower?

“Whatever the rules are, we’re going to comply. Professionals always comply,” he said.

“It’s not up to us to determine whether the rules are good or bad,” Hightower added. “As long as we are complying, and we are transparent, and our word is our bond, if anyone wants to talk about us professionally, or talk about us as an individual, you do so at your own risk.”

“This is my 37th session coming up. Anytime you’ve spent that amount of time,” Hightower said, the people in the process become a “second family.”

“Marriages, divorces … births and deaths … children and grandchildren … hiring and firing, we’ve talked about it. It’s a family,” Hightower said.

“The profession of lobbying is a profession. It is guaranteed under the First Amendment. It’s important,” he added, before launching into an extended, anecdote-rich definition of “special interests” as being an interest that drives people, for personal or professional needs, into advocating for an issue.

“Absolutely we’re special interests,” Hightower declared.

“When people use the word special interests with a sneer or a little bit of malign in their voice,” Hightower added, they don’t get the process.

The phrase is “a reflection of Florida,” he said. “Every facet of our civic, governmental, business, private life. The three or four thousand people registered are there for a reason.”

“They’ve become subject matter experts and role models,” Hightower continued, extolling the lobbying profession. “They work both sides of the aisle on specific issues and very unique subject matter. They’ve spent their profession becoming the very best.”

“Florida, with our transparency laws, I don’t think any state comes close to us,” Hightower added.

Hightower pointed out that Florida has “some of the most transparent lobbying rules in the country.”

“We will be transparent. We have no problems,” Hightower continued. “You cannot legislate morality. In every profession, the true professionals will follow the rules.”

“In every profession,” Hightower said, “you will have people who skirt the rules.”

“When that happens, all you need is one public hanging,” he added. “There’s an unwritten rule in Tallahassee. When people don’t follow the rules, they may be successful for a year or two.”

Then, Hightower said, “they find themselves on an island” and “their cause or client suffers.”

“When they say ‘lobbying reform,’” Hightower said, “bring it on. Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists will comply.”

“We’re not afraid of complying,” Hightower said.

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Regarding the Corcoran era itself, Hightower noted that “if you’re going to be in the process, you play by the rules. Period. End of paragraph. If we don’t comply [with] the rules, there are consequences.”

“The successful, committed professional lobbyist” will work within those rules, he said.

“Some speakers and some presidents of the Senate and some governors,” said Hightower, “have said they didn’t see lobbying reform as a priority. This speaker sees it as a priority.”

“He gave us a set of rules,” Hightower added, “and as professionals, we’re going to do what it takes to play by the rules to represent their principle, their client and their profession.”

“I’ve been there for 37 years. I’ve been referred to as a lot of things by a lot of people. And you just focus on what your job is. Make sure your word is your bond, don’t lie. And if you do those things,” Hightower said, “people will trust you.”

“There still is an unwritten code in Tallahassee, Florida, that your word is your bond. It’s not written down anywhere. It’s understood, and it’s known.”

“And if you violate it,” Hightower added, “you’re no longer part of the profession.”

****

In the era of term limits, with a legislator forced to stop at eight years in one chamber, Hightower asserted that the role of the lobbyist as an educator is even more integral.

“I don’t know any lobbyist, a true professional, who says they’re going to stop at eight years,” Hightower said. “As long as it’s fun, and I’m doing well, and I’m well-compensated, I’m going to do it. It’s a great profession.”

“It’s all part of the process — the political process,” Hightower said, that drives public policy, moves legislation, and, perhaps, becoming a “resource” to bring people into the process to drive good public policy.

****

Unprompted, Hightower then mounted an affirmative defense of campaign fundraising.

“People say you guys raise money. Well, yeah, that’s OK. You’ve got to disclose it. With all due respect to anyone in the press,” Hightower said, “you guys have yet to give free time to anyone on TV, in the newspaper. Print ads — I think they’ve got to pay for that.”

“We’re part of the entire process. And transparency does not bother a true professional within the lobbying profession.”

“If you try to be cute,” Hightower said, “you get caught.”

“One of the things I’ve found in Tallahassee over 37 years — there are no secrets. This is a small town. You have a secret; it ain’t a secret. You may have told one person — you’ve told everybody.”

“What goes on in Tallahassee: it’s three blocks square. You’ve got 5,000 people who are involved, in the third largest state in America, living in a three-block square, 24/7. Nothing goes unnoticed,” Hightower said.

 

Joe Negron resigns from Gunster law firm

Senate President Joe Negron has resigned from the Gunster law firm, four days after Gov. Rick Scott suggested ethics reforms affecting lawyer-legislators.

Negron’s resignation was announced Monday by H. William ‘Bill’ Perry, Gunster’s managing shareholder.

Negron, a Stuart Republican, had been “of counsel” with the firm, usually referring to an attorney who works on a case-to-case basis for a firm, not as an associate or partner.

“Joe has been a great colleague and a valuable member of our litigation team,” Perry said in a statement. “We have accepted Joe’s resignation with both regret and the knowledge he will continue to dedicate his time and talents to the people of Florida as the leader of the Florida Senate.”

Last week, Scott had proposed a series of additional ethics measures to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has focused on heightening ethical standards and government transparency this year.

One provision would ban lawmakers from working for companies, including law firms, that lobby the Legislature. Gunster has a “Government Affairs Law & Lobbying” practice in Tallahassee.

And Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, is of counsel in the Tampa office of Broad and Cassel, practicing commercial litigation. That firm too has a government relations practice, including members who lobby in Tallahassee.

Negron’s webpage on the Gunster website, still active as of late Monday morning, showed that he practiced “business litigation” and “corporate law” for the firm, including “the defense of commercial law claims involving millions of dollars at stake.”

His “experience includes claims involving contract law, real estate and construction matters (including construction lien litigation), and insurance coverage,” the site said. “Of particular note, Joe defends litigation claims involving nautical and maritime law matters. He has also represented both for-profit and non-profit corporate directors and officers sued for breach of fiduciary duty.”

In a separate statement Monday, Negron said the “notion of a citizen legislature – people from all walks of life, business, and industry combining their experience and perspectives to form a government of, by, and for the people – has been a guiding principle of our country since its inception.”

“Florida’s part-time legislature, where elected officials, bound by term limits, live and work in the communities they serve, produces results for the people of this state that are far better than we could hope to see from full-time career politicians and bureaucrats,” he said. “Throughout my legislative service, I have carefully scrutinized my legal and legislative work to ensure I fully uphold the highest ethical standards.

“For the first time, I have reached a crossroads where my firmly held conviction to promote legislation that would benefit my constituents, community, and state has the potential to result in a possible perception of a conflict with my professional employment,” Negron added. “In the abundance of caution, to avoid even the possible appearance of such a difference, and to make certain I can continue to effectively advocate for my community, I have made the decision to step away from my position with the Gunster Law Firm.

“Practicing law at Gunster, a large statewide law firm, has been a tremendous opportunity to work with a very talented team of accomplished professionals. I will continue to practice law for the remainder of my time in the Senate and look forward to continuing to represent the citizens who elected me to serve in the Florida Senate.”

Scott’s move was seen by some as retaliation for Corcoran’s attacks on Scott’s agency heads, including deposed VISIT FLORIDA head Will Seccombe and DEP Secretary Jon Steverson, who quit to go work for a law firm to which he had steered millions in fees for outside legal work.

When asked last week whether Scott was being retaliatory “in any way, shape or form,” Corcoran said, “I always try to impute the best motive.”

Rick Scott to roll out his spending plan

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is announcing his annual budget recommendations next week.

Scott plans to release details of his spending plan on Tuesday during the annual legislative planning session hosted by The Associated Press.

The Florida Legislature will consider Scott’s budget request during the session that starts in March.

The Republican governor has already outlined some recommendations. Scott this week called on legislators to slash taxes by $618 million this year.

Legislators usually use the governor’s budget recommendations as the starting point.

But this year legislators appear to be on a collision course because of recent projections showing that Florida could have a budget shortfall in two to three years. House Speaker Richard Corcoran says because of that he wants to cut the budget by at least $1 billion.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Richard Corcoran already vexed by Senate gambling plan

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is saving the profanities—for now.

At a Thursday press availability, Corcoran was asked about comments by a lobbyist involved in this year’s gambling legislation, which the Senate has taken the lead on with an omnibus bill (SB 8).

The person was overheard in a Capitol corridor saying he had spoken with the Speaker about the bill: “He’s not going for this free-for-all … He is going to let [the Senate] have their kitchen-sink charade for now.”

“Those aren’t words that I would use,” Corcoran told reporters. “I probably would have used more profanity.”

He quickly added with a smile: “I’m just kidding.”

The Senate’s first panel to hear the bill, the Regulated Industries committee, OK’d it unanimously one hour into a meeting that had been scheduled to last four.

State Rep. Mike La Rosa, chair of the House Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee, said his panel would tackle any gambling overhaul “differently.” His group discussed the pari-mutuel industry Thursday, for example.

“We’re here to have individual meetings so we can hear everything about the issues that are in a bill, not just have one committee hearing  and talk about it for an hour,” La Rosa said. “We’re going to stick to a schedule.”

State Sen. Bill Galvano‘s 112-page bill would allow for more slot machines across the state, approve the sale of lottery tickets at gas pumps, and legalize fantasy sports, but also would pare down the number of state gambling licenses known as pari-mutuel permits. 

Most significantly, it includes a new agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that allows the Seminoles to offer blackjack at all their casinos in return for a $3 billion cut over seven years in card game revenue share to the state.

“I’ve seen the bill, and look, it’s not where we’re at,” Corcoran said. “The three things we’ve said are, it has to be a contraction (of gambling) … we want a constitutional amendment that bans the expansion of gaming; the Senate’s said they have no interest … and we have courts that keep encroaching upon our ability to make those decisions.”

Corcoran mentioned a federal court ruling that allows the Tribe to keep blackjack till 2030 even though an original provision limited them to five years and that expired in 2015. He also brought up a pending case before the Florida Supreme Court that could extend slot machines to counties across the state.

“We need a long-term solution that we could make, the representatives who are closest to the people, and not seven judges … then that’s a victory for the state,” Corcoran said.

Richard Corcoran: Rick Scott’s ethics proposals not personal

House Speaker Richard Corcoran Thursday told reporters he took no personal offense at ethics suggestions sent by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott’s office earlier in the day sent Corcoran, who is on an ethics reform tear this year, more ideas, including a provision that would ban lawmakers from working for companies, including law firms, that lobby the Legislature.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, is of counsel in the Tampa office of Broad and Cassel, practicing commercial litigation. The firm also has a government relations practice, including members who lobby in Tallahassee.

Scott also wants a ban on lawmakers working for companies that sue the state.

“I read the letter,” Corcoran said in an afternoon media availability. “Clearly, they have somebody in mind, it seems like. Somebody’s suing somebody; to my knowledge, it’s not me … but if that kind of behavior is taking the process in a place it shouldn’t be, then let’s have at it.”

Scott’s letter, sent from chief of staff Kim McDougal to Corcoran chief of staff Matt Bahl, outlines four suggestions:

— Immediately disclosing “all contracts legislators advocate for between state agencies, businesses, not for profit organizations, and/or any other entity that receives tax dollars.”

— Immediately banning lawmakers and staff involved in the state budget, “including the law firms they may work for or own, from suing state agencies…”

— Banning lawmakers from riding in airplanes “paid for by political committees and party executive committees.” A new House rule already prohibits House members from flying in lobbyists’ planes.

—”Shutting the revolving door to prohibit the employment of legislators by entities, including law firms, that employ lobbyists.”

“The power of the Legislature to appropriate funds allows individual legislators great influence over the actions of state agencies and other entities,” the letter says. “Therefore, the public deserves safeguards … to ensure that all funding decisions are made free of any undue influence, real or perceived.”

The House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee on Tuesday cleared two measures as part of Corcoran’s new “culture of transparency.”

One would increase the ban on former lawmakers and statewide officers lobbying their colleagues after leaving office from two years to six years by way of a constitutional amendment. The other “extend(s) the prohibition on legislators lobbying the executive branch” from two to six years after leaving office.

When asked whether Scott was being retaliatory “in any way, shape or form,” Corcoran said, “I always try to impute the best motive.”

Florida Democrats walk out of committee discussing refugees resettlement

Members of the Florida House Subcommittee on Children, Families and Seniors heard from five different speakers on Thursday regarding the process by which refugees are resettled in Florida.

However, Democrats on the committee only heard from four, as they walked out en masse in disapproval to hear from Mark Krekorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

“To be blunt, the presenter who is speaking, Mark Krekorian is a racist, and his organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, is a hate group,” said Fort Lauderdale Democrat Bobby DuBose in a press conference held outside the committee hearing (you can watch the video here).

The walkout wasn’t surprising, after House Minority Leader Janet Cruz wrote to House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Wednesday, calling on him to remove Krekorian from speaking to the committee, because he and his organization “have a long history of inflammatory racial rhetoric which is offensive not just to the Members of the Democratic Caucus, but all Floridians.”

After the walkout, Cruz said “he mainstreaming of hate speech as a part of political and policy discussions is a trend that must be stopped.”

The walkout was obviously noted by Republicans on the committee.

“I learned along time ago in relationships that you have to listen, and you have to communicate,” said Dover Republican Ross Spano. “I just find it surprising that you would walk out and refuse to listen.”

Krekorian told the Republicans who watched his presentation via Skype that he believes the State Dept. when they say that the incoming refugees are subject to intensive scrutiny, but he says the problem is that the vetting process is dependent on checking data bases which do not contain quality data. He said that the information trail is dry on people in war torn nations like Syria or Somalia.

He said that more than 90 percent of Syrian refugees who apply to be resettled are allowed into the U.S., questioning how rigorous is the vetting when such a high propensity of those vetting are accepted.

More provocatively, he said it was “morally indefensible” to resettle refugees in the west, saying that it costs twelve times more to do that than to care for them closer to their country where they initially found refuge.

The issue of resettling Syrian refugees in Florida has been a hot topic for Rick Scott and other Republicans in the Legislator for going back to late in 2015, when he joined more than 30 other governors around the nation in telling the Obama administration that it was time for a pause in bringing any more Syrian refugees to the U.S.

Mark Glass, an intelligence officer with the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, told the committee that the vetting of refugees from places like Syria and Somalia is compromised because of the possibility of identity theft.

Another gap he said is that currently the FDLE is not allowed to see the screening questions or answers of resettled refugees. “Knowing the nature of the questions and details and the responses provided could assist FDLE and other local public safety officials in being able to potentially connect the dots of inconsistencies in statements made by the applicant, especially if the applicant is stating they have family or friends in Florida,” he said.

He acknowledged that he is currently not receiving any information from the federal government from these refugees.

Also addressing the committee was Chris Card of Lutheran Services Florida, the organization that works with helping the refugees assimilate into the Florida. He was asked if he received any information about “problematic refugees” coming into Florida. He said he did not get that specific information, but said he knows that individuals with a criminal history aren’t allowed to resettle in the U.S.

After hearing testimony for two hours, Democrats asked why there was even a need to discuss the situation.

“Whatever we have in place now right now is working,” said Miami-Dade County Democrat Kionne McGhee. “There has not been a single refugee resettlement person involved in a terrorist attack in Florida.”

Volusia County Republican David Santiago has filed legislation (HB 427) that would require the state’s withdrawal from the federal refugee program.

Will American Dream Miami pay the price for Miami-Dade’s past public-funding sins?

In recent years, using taxpayer dollars for private ventures has become a combative issue.

Proponents say that doing so incentivizes businesses to operate in Florida.

Opponents argue it’s “corporate welfare,” a bad deal for taxpayers that often fails to deliver on promises of economic growth and good jobs.

In this contentious time, one developer hopes to bring American Dream Miami, the nation’s largest mall, to Miami-Dade County. Triple Five Group is envisioning a vast shopping and entertainment complex in the northwestern portion of Florida’s most populous county. If built, the project could offer thousands of new jobs in the area.

In the past, I have supported the Triple Five project, with an eye toward its potential economic benefits.

Nevertheless, since taxpayers may be footing part of the bill, Miami-area leaders and residents should give this project a close look.

Triple Five has received hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for its iconic North American project, Minnesota’s Mall of America. The developer also raised as much as $1.2 billion in subsidies – usually in the form of tax-exempt bonds – for its long-running New Jersey project, American Dream Meadowlands.

Although Triple Five maintains American Dream will open by 2018, a series of missed deadlines has hampered its progress.

Government funds to private corporations rub some the wrong way, spurring concerns that taxpayers will be left holding the bag with little in return.

One person sharing that opinion is Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who led the charge against Enterprise Florida, which used public funds for some private entities to boost economic development.

Facing lofty goals, Enterprise Florida struggled to meet its stated job-creation objectives, while receiving approximately 85 percent of its funding from the public sector. Less-than-stellar results have disappointed both Florida’s leaders and residents alike.

Corcoran told the Naples Daily News, “handing out ‘corporate welfare checks’ is not something we should be engaged in.”

Citing the case of Sanford Burnham Institute in Orlando, which received around $360 million in subsidies despite unsatisfactory financial performance, Corcoran said: “time and time again [companies have] made promises they could not deliver” in exchange for subsidies.

No help to the American Dream project is Miami-Dade County’s track record for using public money to fund public ventures.

In 2009, Miami-Dade County approved nearly $400 million for a new Miami Marlins baseball stadium. Two years later, Mayor Carlos Alvarez felt the backlash when he was recalled.

More recently, the developers of SkyRise Miami also sought public dollars to fund their downtown observation tower. In response, opponents of the deal, including entrepreneur Norman Braman, took legal action against both Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami.

“It’s just wrong. It’s a waste of taxpayer money. I think people are fed up with it,” Braman told 2015 NBC 6.

Despite Braman’s concerns, Triple Five continues to assure Miami-Dade County the project will result in economic growth and new jobs. And other critics insist the county should heed Corcoran’s warnings.

With some caution and diligence, Miami could strike a balance that will keep the project alive, as well as avoid repeating its past.

Local lawmakers, as well as officials statewide, must very carefully tread through this minefield, especially with a project of this magnitude; because American Dream Miami, if done right, could create thousands of jobs and in millions in revenue.

water

DEP withdraws request to pay lawyers in ‘water war’

The Department of Environmental Protection has withdrawn a request to lawmakers for more money to pay lawyers waging a water use fight against Georgia, its spokeswoman says.

The department had planned to ask lawmakers for an additional $13 million to pay expected legal bills from the still-unresolved case. The Joint Legislative Budget Commission was scheduled to take up the request, among several others, at a 5 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

The litigation already has cost the state tens of millions of dollars—with no end in sight. A federal court official recently ordered attorneys for the two states to try again to settle the disagreement.

“DEP is working with members to provide more information on the costs associated with this litigation,” spokeswoman Lauren Engel said in a statement.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Monday night said his chamber wouldn’t entertain the request without a detailed audit of how DEP officials spent legal money already appropriated.

“We remain committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” she said. “The state of Florida has been fighting for nearly two decades to protect the historic flows of the Apalachicola River, and we will continue to protect Florida from the environmental and economic harms caused by Georgia’s overconsumption of water.”

DEP Secretary Jon Steverson quit last Friday, reportedly for a job at the Foley & Lardner law firm, according to a Scott spokesman. The firm still has not publicly confirmed the hire.

Foley & Lardner also is one of the firms representing the state in the 16-year long court fight over river water.

The dispute centers around upstream water use from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers in Georgia. They meet at the Florida border to form the Apalachicola River, which empties into the Apalachicola Bay.

 

Richard Corcoran walks the walk, denies extra $13M for DEP water war

His job as Florida House Speaker requires Richard Corcoran to make some tough calls, but this one had to be easy for a man whose stated mission is to clean up the way Tallahassee operates.

While some politicians talk with a swagger (here’s looking at you, Marco Rubio) but don’t want the ball when the game is on the line, Corcoran has shown that his deeds match his words. He was at it again Monday when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection asked for an extra $13 million to fund its legal fight with the state of Georgia over water rights.

His blunt answer: Nope.

In addition to demanding more ethical behavior by House members, Corcoran guards the public’s purse like a hungry Rottweiler. He told the DEP that there will be no more money until it gives a full accounting of the approximately $98 million it already has spent.

That’s just common sense.

The bigger message was that this action came after Jon Steverson, who served as DEP head for the last couple of years, resigned his job to join the law firm of Foley Lardner.

Just what is Foley Lardner?

Why, one of four firms that is working on the lawsuit against Georgia that now is well into its second decade.

Corcoran has made it his mission to end that far-too-cozy relationship between the people’s representatives and those who would like to profit from that relationship.

“We won’t approve the money until an audit is done and we will pass legislation barring the revolving door from agency head to lobbyist/lawyer,” Corcoran said in a statement.

We can say this was an easy call because the conflict of interest is so obvious, but for years Tallahassee winked and nodded far too long as legislators slid seamlessly into lucrative lobbying. There is no calculating how many millions of dollars that likely cost the public

That is why Corcoran is so public about trying to stop stuff like this. Message sent. Was it received?

Saying no to DEP’s $13 million request is just the first step. We wait for the audit and what comes next. What we can hope comes out of this is more rigorous oversight in how taxpayer dollars are spent because, you know, take $13 million and $13 million there and soon we’re talking about real money.

I think Richard Corcoran already knows that.

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