Ethics Committee Finds 'Probable Cause' Against Fried

Ethics Committee Finds 'Probable Cause' Against Fried

“Most Floridians rightly have a hard time understanding how one could forget a quarter of a million dollars in income.

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
December 8, 2021

In early June, Evan Power (R), the Chairman of the Leon County Republican Party, filed an ethics complaint against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D). The ethics complaint came after Commissioner Fried amended her 2018 financial disclosures, which indicates that she earned $351,480 from Igniting Florida, a publicly-traded marijuana company, and 2017 earnings that showed she made $165,671 in consulting fees as opposed to the $84,000 that was previously disclosed.

Now, the 2022 gubernatorial hopeful is directing criticism at the GOP after the Florida Commission on Ethics announced that it found probable cause that the Florida lawmaker violated state law in not disclosing $400,000 in lobbying income.

Before being elected to state office, Fried was a lobbyist for the medical marijuana industry, and the Ethics Commission reviewed the ethics complaint, informing that “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 from 6 disclosure filings.”

Power praised the announcement, saying that the Ethics Commission was “taking the first step in holding Nikki Fried accountable for failing to be transparent with the taxpayers of Florida.”

In a statement, Power further commented that “most Floridians rightly have a hard time understanding how one could forget a quarter of a million dollars in income. Sadly, Nikki Fried and her press team have decided to attack Governor DeSantis, the Commission on Ethics, and myself rather than accept responsibility.”

The Chairman concluded by lamenting that “this seems par for the course for our Agriculture Commissioner who has used her position to wrongly attack the Governor while ignoring the very constituents she is supposed to be working for in Florida’s agriculture industry.”

However, Drew Godinich, the spokesman for Fried’s gubernatorial campaign, called Power “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 to every day.”

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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