Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried should invest in GPS tracking or at least a good roadmap. Her gubernatorial campaign keeps going in circles and winding up in the same place: Trying to explain away a mistake.
As Florida Politics reported, the latest one is another missed deadline to file a financial disclosure report. The report was due July 1, and Fried needed to meet that deadline. Technically, she has until the grace period ends Sept. 1 on this one before fines start kicking in, but c’mon.
But she missed the official deadline, just as she missed on several other occasions. Fried is piling up unforced errors.
“Commissioner Fried’s Form 6 is being finalized to ensure accuracy and will be submitted within the Sept. 1 grace period,” Fried spokesperson Max Flugrath told Florida Politics reporter Jason Ogles.
Well, OK, we all want accuracy, but this latest move is stretching the limits of political patience. Statewide officeholders know well in advance about the July 1 deadline, and given Fried’s shaky history with such reports, her campaign should have moved heaven and earth to comply.
The longer this goes, the more reason people have to be suspicious about what’s in Fried’s numbers.
Earlier this year, Fried raised eyebrows throughout the Florida political world by filing an amendment to her 2018 financial disclosure.
It showed she had a lot more cash from different sources than previously disclosed.
That’s not an oops. That’s more of a “what the hell?”
In a follow-up to the Florida Politics report, Brian Burgess of The Capitolist laid out a timeline of Fried’s finances from 2016 to the present. Republicans dedicated to beating Fried will devour that red meat, and it should alarm Democrats.
After all, they demanded to see former President Donald Trump‘s taxes and other personal financial info. Fried has to play the same rules if she wants to be Governor of the third-largest state in the union.
The spotlight was on her for a couple of reasons. As the only statewide Democrat elected in Florida since 2018, Fried became the face and voice of her party.
She loudly challenged Gov. Ron DeSantis on just about everything from the outset, and he responded by freezing her out. She didn’t back down, which is good. It’s not healthy for any state, especially one this large, to have one party act as if the other is irrelevant.
That’s how GOP lawmakers here usually act, though.
But in letting her ambition go into overdrive, Fried overlooked a few details. You gotta do the paperwork.
The saying “follow the money” is not just a bromide from the Watergate era. It’s a game plan for how Fried’s opponents, and everyone, will view her finances. The longer people wait for full disclosure, the more suspicious they will get.
Yes, accuracy is important for Fried, especially now.
Timeliness is too. If she doesn’t know that yet, I’m sure people will line up to explain it to her.