Survey says Florida has political corruption, but it’s legal

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Florida continues to have some issues with political corruption.

That, according to the new survey from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Corruption in America.

The report is based on responses from hundreds of journalists covering state politics, along with issues related to corruption across all 50 states. Both legal and illegal corruption is measured, with illegal corruption defined as private gains such as cash or gifts by a government official in exchange for specific benefits.

Legal corruption, meanwhile, is defined as political gains such as campaign contributions or endorsements by an official in exchange for providing specific benefits to individuals or groups.

So how does Florida rank? Respondents claim illegal corruption in the Sunshine State is only “slightly common.”

However, legal corruption in Florida is described as “very common,” in both the executive and legislative branches of government.

As to best and worst states overall, “With respect to illegal corruption, Georgia and West Virginia are perceived to be the most corrupt states, followed by Hawaii, and a third group of states that includes New Jersey, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Oregon is perceived to be the least corrupt state, followed by Vermont, and a third group of states that includes Iowa, Maine, and Wyoming,” say the report’s authors.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


  • Jeff Redding

    April 28, 2016 at 4:51 am

    This is a photo of Institutional Government Fraud and Corruption in Florida. The County, FDOT, and FHWA Civil Rights Division is fraudulently representing ADA Wheelchair Clear Width Standards as the governing authority in the placement of light posts. This is FRAUD. This Financial Fraud increases your Billionaire Contractor Profits, but is directly responsible for many pedestrian and cyclist injuries and possibly deaths. Please stop this fraud and relocate the posts to the Utility Strip. And, shame on you for actually claiming the ADA gives you the authority to obstruct sidewalks. – vision impaired disabled veteran – The Pedestrians Lives Matter Campaign –


    April 28, 2016 at 9:14 am

    We SHOULD be electing ADULTS, SHOULDN’T WE???

  • David C. Ropp

    April 28, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    David Christopher Ropp
    April 25, 2016
    David Christopher Ropp
    April 25, 2016
    David Ropp
    April 13, 2016
    This is a request for the investigation into the actions of Louise Wilhite-St. Laurent, with the DOH, and a Kathryn Whitson, Chairperson with the BON and any others that may have been involved in the improper handling of my case.

    Mrs. St. Laurent lied and withheld exculpatory evidence in her ERO and Administrative Complaint against me.

    Facts: 1. Claimed that I was unsafe to practice due to alcohol/Drug abuse and impairment.
    -Yet she failed to include the negative urine, hair, and nail drug test I took three days after my arrest on Jan 20, 2013 to prove I wasn’t impaired.
    -She failed to include the negative urine, hair, and nail drug test Dr. Sayonara Baez submitted me to for her examination.
    -She failed to include the negative urine drug test Dr. Aldo Morales submitted me to for his examination.
    -She failed to include the random 60+ negative urine drug tests from the Broward County Drug Court Program.
    2. Claimed a violation for drug possession
    -However I successfully completed Drug court program with a dismissal of all Drug charges May 27, 2014 after the May 22, 2014 ERO. I started the program May 23, 2013. This was the shortest time I could have completed the program in.
    -She lied in her documentation stating that my DUI was re-filed because I didn’t complete my drug court program in a timely manner.
    -She failed to include that after her initial suspicion that the filing of my DUI was a new DUI charge her investigator informed her on 2/19/2014, in a report, that it was not a new charge but a re-filing of the original charge.
    3. Claimed Misappropriation
    – Failed to include the supplemental police report of Vivian Acevedo. This documentation was part of the initial police report. Which states she inventoried the hydrocodone pill from my vehicle and not from my pocket. This documentation exposes the lie, in the police report, of arresting officers Troy Wilson and Kevin Gonzalez, that they found the said hydrocodone pill in my left pant pocket.

    Evidence I submitted after the ERO and Administrative Report
    -Negative Drug Test from Jan 23, 2013
    -Negative Drug Test from Dr. Sayonara Baez, Dr. Aldo Morales, and Dr. E.K
    -60+ Drug tests from the Broward County Drug Program
    -Court Dismissal of Drug Charges
    -Dismissal of all charges surrounding my DUI. Found Not guilty in a court of Law by a jury of my peers.
    -Supplemental report of Vivian Acevedo
    -Deposition of Vivian Acevedo

    The DOH dismissed their case and relinquished jurisdiction back to the BON
    The Probable cause panel dismissed their case against me
    Took me Three weeks, from Nov 22, 2014 decision of the probable cause panel to dismiss my case, to get the complaint removed from the DOH license verification site.
    I Never received a copy of the dismissals from the DOH or BON

    Sept 2015 I applied for an Illinois endorsement of my RN license
    A complaint was brought against me by the IDFPR (Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations). I wasn’t sure why initially. They kept asking me to explain the May 22, 2014 ERO. They did give me my license after three months while pursuing their complaint against me.
    I missed out on a RN job opportunity after finding out that there was a discipline (libelous information) posted on the national endorsement site. An ERO is a temporary action. It is not considered a discipline or final order. I found out that the information was posted after my supposed dismissal Nov 21, 2014.
    I contacted the DOH and after speaking with Rena Coffield all negative information was removed from the site. I also requested the copies of the DOH and BON dismissals, which I received for the first time by email on Jan 2016. This aided in getting the IDFPR(Illinois department of financial and professional regulations) to drop their complaint against me.

    Mrs. Kathryn Whitson, BON chairperson withheld exculpatory evidence in her Dismissal order.
    -She failed to include the exact number of negative drug tests submitted into evidence.
    -She failed to include Vivian Acevedo’s supplemental report and deposition.
    -She failed to include the Court Dismissal of all drug charges.
    All of the evidence I provided, most of which they already had access to, proved that their claims against me were unsubstantiated and that there was never any probable cause for them to move forward in their case against me.

    After speaking with Brad Dalton the DOH has since removed four sites mentioning my ERO. However, on May 23, 2014 a miscellaneous document defending the surgeon general’s decision to enact an Emergency Restriction Order against me was published to Florida rules Department of State Florida Administrative Registrar (FAR). The document 64B9-16 is a first page search result on Google if you search my name David Christopher Ropp or my license number rn9333289. This information was published by the Florida Administrative Code. I have spoken with Adam S. Tanenbaum, General Council Member, with the Department of State and Linda McMullen, General Council Member, with the Department of Health and both said there is nothing they will do to help me. This is why I am sharing my story with you in hopes that you will be able to investigate the matter further and possibly expose this injustice.

    Thank You,
    David Ropp

    If you have any questions please contact me at:
    [email protected]

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    April 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Our Florida State’s long record of corruption, dysfunctional government and sheer loony tune like antics definitively display why we need to get rid of all of these inept and/or corrupt politicians who actually tried to “steal” our own elections for their own purposes, not for the general public whom they swore to honestly represent. This was the Florida Legislatures response to our “anti-gerrymandering” Fair District Acts the people passed as a Florida State Constitutional Amendment in 2010.

    Both major political parties have gerrymandered our elective district boundaries and taken other steps to “win” at any cost. That cost has always been a bill the taxpayer had to pay, willingly or not. This time around, the politicians and their corrupt web of corporate and super-wealthy donors got caught; then they used taxpayers money to try to retain their “safe district” gerrymandering conspiracy, lying repeatedly to all of the voters as well as when under oath in federal and state circuit courts, under appeals, and to our Florida State Supreme Court Justices.

    Here, in Florida, the message of tossing the “establishment” politicians from all local, state and congressional district elected positions is ringing loud and clear. This includes the many corporate owned lackeys and tea party fringe “nuts” who have so often driven our local communities and our country to distraction over aberrant cases of social issues while the bulk of the population spirals slowly downward into relative poverty, debt and mounting anger.

    In this example provided of “legal” and “illegal” corruption, we see how much corruption lies underneath the public view. Meanwhile, bought and paid for politicians clumsily attempt to deceive Floridian Voters that our all of our incumbents in public office are there to serve us all.

    Was this planned many years ago; to create our mounting anger and dislike and distrust for public officials, now extending to our local public city and county employees, to our kid’s teachers, the courts and judges — to just about every important American institution and elected and appointed public official has now been cheapened, scorned, held in the full view of public disrepute.

    Seems like it almost worked . . . until voters got up this year and began a peaceful political revolution to take our country back from the corrupt elements of the super-wealthy attempting to control us in every way they can.

    We own this country and we need to “owe up” to cleaning up this mess. We voted them into elective offices, in every election we have had over the last decade, and we need to stop it.

    It is a very easy solution. Elect new people to public office this year — if we take a long hard look, we see very few public servants in our public offices but many corrupt politicians tied to the flow of campaign cash and PAC slush funds meant to control both political parties and most all the of politicians. Good, level headed and well directed “boots to the rear” for the corrupt and bring in a group who will serve us well, once in public office, is our best path to take.

    Instead of voting for the “best” connected and wealthiest of the candidates, who can “buy” the airwaves and newspapers and endorsements from other embedded politicians, elect someone new who is truly sincere, intelligent with good ideas and public policies and who are above all, honest, with a background of personal and political integrity.

    Some of our best candidates are in public office; they will be the ones who do not make corporate speeches or serve on corporate boards, vote against the people’s best interests or have unsavory issues following them from their past. Keep them and bring them to their level of competency in government, if they are willing to serve only the people of our country.

    Let’s get rid of the corrupt ones, and take our country back by electing people who wish to serve our community and our nation, not get rich through all of the deals and connections they can make while supposedly being our elected representatives to our government, on the local, state and federal level.

Comments are closed.


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