The Grand Jury investigating Broward county corruption issued a report last week entitled “A Study Of Public Corruption In Florida And Recommended Solutions”.
While some may view it as a raising of the white flag, it may be a clarion call for help.
The report quotes Thomas Jefferson: “Where a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself a public property”. The report begs the state legislature to pass stronger laws with broader scope to deal with the realities of modern governance:
“Our first and most critical recommendation is to amend definition of ‘public servant’. Many of our governmental duties have been shifted to private or semi-private
entities and actors who do not fall within the existing narrow definition and thus escape prosecution under anti-corruption laws” ( page 17)
The report calls for a strong Inspector General to investigate corruption and ethics cases. It lays out a framework for the legislature to strengthen law enforcement efforts stop corruption at all levels of goverment, protect whistleblowers and punish private contractors who use the corruption to their benefit.
The report makes the point that, while Florida law may be vague, Federal laws are crystal clear. It’s as if the Grand Jury is begging for the U.S. Attorney to jump into the Broward cesspool. Could an AUSA make a RICO case? Could an Army of IRS agents ferret out the ill-gotten booty?
At 127 pages, the report isn’t light reading, but the author(s) seems to be sending a message. They may have the proof, but Florida law doesn’t let them take the case to a jury.
Are they sending a message about private or semi-private “entities and actors”? The report mentions cases of for-profit and non-profit entities escaping prosection because the fall outside the scope of the law; While insiders have mentioned shadowy groups working in concert with the Machine, most have assumed the Grand Jury was targeting corruption at the building/construction and transportation departments. It’s hard to believe that elected School Board members and school board employees would fall outside the scope of the law.
Perhaps the Grand Jury has zeroed in on these shadowy foundations and LLCs that operate within the walls of the KC Wright building? Perhaps they’re clued into the fact these groups, founded by politicians and lobbyists, have their hands in school board business?