A Florida grand jury releases a new report saying the state's political system is *full* of corruption. It recommends strengthening penalties for public officials who abuse their positions, but only the state legislature can do that.
To hear it from the grand jury, here in Florida, if you want to play, you have to pay. It may be unethical, even illegal, but in most cases, it's not a criminal offense.
The grand jury investigation was called for by Governor Crist a year ago. Over his four-year term, the governor's had to sanction more than 30 elected officials for different kinds of ethical violations.
One of the most common is bribery, and the grand jury says it happens all the time. Case-in-point: former House Speaker Ray Sansom, who helped steer taxpayer money to his hometown college and later was given a job at the school. But there could be a big hurdle to criminalizing many of the most common problems. Namely, a legislature that may not want to get tough on itself.
Rep. Alan Williams is all in favor of reform.
“When we're talking about this new government and this 'work together' and this 'let's get to work', well, let's focus on how we can make sure that our elected officials are held accountable,” he said.
The reform recommendations are nothing new. Many of them were introduced as bills during last spring's legislative session, but none of them were passed.
The grand jury also recommends eliminating so-called "three-pack" advertising. That's a strategy that lets political parties skirt campaign finance limits and offer unlimited help to their candidates of choice.
Polling Place Distirct 1A
WALTON PARK RECREATION CENTER - 122 WALTON PARK DRIVE
Polling Place District 1B
ANDREW BELLE COMMUNITY CENTER - 1270 LAKE STREET
Polling Place District 2A
ROY DRIGGERS BUILDING (CIVIC CENTER) - 126 N. ST. ANDREWS STREET
Polling Place District 2B
WIREGRASS RECREATION CENTER - 620 6TH AVENUE
Polling Place District 3A
HOUSTON COUNTY FARM CENTER - 1701 E. COTTONWOOD ROAD
Polling Place District 3B
NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY - 1842 3RD AVENUE
Polling Place District 4A
DOTHAN UTILITIES COMPLEX - 200 KILGORE DRIVE
Polling Place District 4B
DOUG TEW RECREATION CENTER - 300 GARLAND STREET
Polling Place District 5A
WESTGATE RECREATION CENTER - 501 RECREATION ROAD
Polling Place District 5B
WESLEY MANOR RETIREMENT CENTER - 718 HONEYSUCKLE ROAD
Polling Place District 6A
VAUGHN-BLUMBER CENTER - 2715 FLYNN ROAD
Polling Place District 6B
WIREGRASS COMMONS MALL COMMUNITY ROOM - 900 COMMONS DRIVE