Joe Gruters wants to de-weaponize complaints lodged against candidates

Florida Politics by Jacob Ologies

January 9, 2019

Joe Gruters wants to stop ethics complaints from being used as political cudgels.

Now the Republican state senator from Sarasota is proposing a solution that could add a layer of secrecy to the process.

His bill (SB 228) would prohibit the Florida Ethics Commission from making public ethics complaints made against a candidate within 60 days of an election. It could also double the period before an election when elections complaints could be made public.

“Far too often, we see these complaints being weaponized for the sole purpose of campaigning,” he said.

While Gruters says it’s important to hold elected officials and candidates liable for violations of ethics and the law, he says meritless complaints flood the system in attempts to paint candidates in a poor light. Often, those complaints get dismissed quickly after an election.

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