Nikki Fried dismisses Ethics Commission finding against her as partisan attack
Nikki Fried. Image via Colin Hackley.

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Fried notes the Commission's members were appointed by Republican leaders.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday dismissed the probable cause finding that she violated state ethics laws and suggested it was to be expected from a commission appointed by her partisan adversaries.

On Wednesday, the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause Fried violated state law when she failed to initially disclose $400,000 in lobbying income when she ran for office in 2018.

Fried, the only Democrat holding statewide elected office in Florida, is challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis for Governor in 2022. On Friday, when asked about the Commission’s findings, she dismissed it as what she expected from a panel appointed by Republican leaders, including DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

“It’s interesting to have an Ethics Commission that is appointed by the Governor, the Senate President, and the Speaker and to think there would have been any other type of results,” Fried said during a news conference she held in Palm Beach County to discuss her office’s new polystyrene rules.

Before her election to Agriculture Commissioner, Fried worked as a lobbyist for the medical marijuana industry.

Evan Power, chair of the Leon County Republican Party, filed an ethics complaint against Fried in June after the Commissioner amended her 2018 financial disclosures and revealed she earned $351,480 from Igniting Florida, as well as her 2017 disclosures to show she made $165,671 in consulting fees, not just $84,000 as previously disclosed.

Both amendments to Fried’s disclosures were cited in a press release published by the Ethics Commission.

“The Commission considered a complaint filed against Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole Heather Fried. Probable cause was found on allegations she violated Florida’s Constitution and financial disclosure law by failing to accurately disclose income on her 2017 and 2018 Form 6 disclosure filings,” the Commission wrote.

Fried’s initial response, released Wednesday by her campaign spokesperson Drew Godinich, dismissed Power as “a disgraced Republican Party official” who “filed a false and fraudulent ethics complaint against Commissioner Fried.”

“Consistent with the administration’s regular practice of feeding false information to its subordinate agencies, Commissioner Fried is being attacked for following the law and showing transparency, exactly the opposite of what Republican Ron DeSantis and his cohorts do every day.”

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Jacob Ogles of the Florida Politics staff contributed to this report.

Last updated on December 10, 2021

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


8 comments

  • tom palmer

    December 10, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Just curious, but what is the difference between finding probable cause that someone violated ethics rules and finding that there was, in fact, a real violation?

  • tom palmer

    December 10, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Never mind, I saw explanation in article in Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

  • Bill Bucolo

    December 11, 2021 at 1:34 am

    Except for how they might abuse their role in the matter, It’s very hard to take seriously anything to do with modern Republicans deciding what is ethical.

    • Tom

      December 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      Typical ignoramus bill.
      You got nothing.
      Fraud, crispy critters and Tarantula have no real chance. Repubs lead on voter registration. Lead on issues.
      Best Repub. candidate Gov & U S Senate.

      America’s Governor, the best.

  • Tom

    December 11, 2021 at 4:35 am

    What’s the big deal bout a new $1million plus In new earnings. Everybody enjoys that in life. Especially during a pandemic.

    Public leg. hearings need to held besides any ethics public review.

    Nikki Fraud suggests on the side of people, so she Claims. Nothing like earning much more money as an elected official. Always make you look like for people. In this case makes Fraud look like a hypocrite. Good going.

  • Impeach Biden

    December 11, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Fried / Fraud is on her way out. Just another lying, crooked Democrat the likes that pollute many states and municipalities throughout the United States. Just look around where all the chaos is occurring. All run by Democrats.. Buh bye Nikki.

  • TJC

    December 11, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t like it when Republican candidates, elected officials, or staff members automatically cry “partisan adversaries” when they are accused of wrongdoing, and although I voted for Fried I don’t like it when she automatically claims it’s the work of “partisan adversaries.” Her failure to disclose $400K has a whiff of stink about it, and she should be held accountable.
    Now, if only my Republican counterparts could smell the stink of some of their “leaders”…ah, but they can do no wrong, apparently.

    • Tom

      December 12, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      TJC, Instead of impugning someone why don’t you face the issue. Fraud is fraud. Fraud earned a million or more since getting elected and can’t justify nor report it accurately or on time.
      People are suffering and she’s making money as an elected privately.
      It’s your stink Pal. Keep it to yourself.
      Fraud is an embarrassment. Enjoy the aroma. Hopefully she’ll get the nomination and the torch she deserves. Enjoy!

Comments are closed.


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