Alex Rodriguez, who is facing charges over his run as a no party affiliated candidate last cycle, has signed a document admitting to several violations during that run and agreeing to pay a $6,500 fine.
That’s according to a report from the Miami Herald’s Samantha Gross. Rodriguez signed a joint stipulation with the Florida Ethics Commission where, according to Gross, Rodriguez admitted to “filing an inaccurate financial disclosure form and for accepting money with the understanding that he would change his party affiliation from Republican to NPA, qualify to run and file a false disclosure form.”
Both Rodriguez and former GOP Sen. Frank Artiles are facing criminal charges over the scheme. Artiles is accused of paying close to $50,000 to Rodriguez, the NPA candidate. Rodriguez then ran in the Senate District 37 contest last year against incumbent Democratic Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, who shares the same surname.
As an NPA candidate, Alex Rodriguez — who reportedly did not even live in the district — collected nearly 6,400 votes. Former Sen. Rodríguez went on to lose the race by just 32 votes to Republican candidate Ileana Garcia.
The Ethics Commission will take up the newly signed agreement at a July meeting, according to the Herald.
While Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty in his criminal case — as has Artiles — his attorney has openly stated that Rodriguez was pulled into the SD 37 contest to be a spoiler.
Rodriguez’s attorney William Barzee said in an email earlier this year that Rodriguez “deeply regrets allowing himself to be used in this way and hopes that by coming forth with the truth he can help to right these wrongs.”
Barzee added, “Frank Artiles and his co-conspirators knew they couldn’t beat José Javier Rodríguez in a fair election so they rigged it. Artiles cynically targeted and used a vulnerable ‘friend’ with a great name to run in the race in order to confuse voters and steal the election.
The new stipulation agreement echoes some of those same statements, though Rodriguez is still looking to fight any criminal consequences stemming from the campaign.
Florida Democrats have been outraged over the episode, even calling for now-Sen. Garcia to resign her seat and face a Special Election. Garcia has disclaimed responsibility, however, and said she knew nothing of Artiles’ scheme.
“I can’t attest, I can’t say, and I can’t answer for someone I don’t know and for something that I haven’t done,” Garcia said. “I am not the focal point of this.”