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Gallagher ethics charges will likely be dropped

Remember the ethics charges against Tom Gallagher that Gov. Charlie Crist used against him in their GOP primary debate? The attorney prosecuting the case on behalf of the Florida Commission on Ethics has reached a settlement with Gallagher's attorney that calls for the charges to be dropped.

Under the joint stipulation that will go before the full commission at its June 8th meeting, it states that "the public interest would not be served by proceeding further." The commission found that in July 2006 that enough evidence existed to say that former insurance commissioner Gallagher had broken state ethics laws when he purchased stock in two companies whose subsidiaries were regulated by the Department of Insurance.

The settlement agreement says that both sides now agree that Gallagher's stock ownership was "minimal" and that he had publicly disclosed it and that it did not involve an "abuse of his position." But the settlement agreement also states that Gallagher was "unaware" that his conduct could be seen as a violation of state law and that "in hindsight" he should have requested an advisory opinion regarding the stock purchase.

To read the proposed settlement: Download gallagher_stipulation.pdf