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Ethics panel agrees FIU broke state law

The Florida Commission on Ethics on Friday voted unanimously that Florida International University broke state law by using public money to pay Fausto Gomez and former FIU provost James Mau to lobby on its behalf. State law says that state agencies cannot use tax dollars to lobby the Legislature.

But the commission declined to make any formal recommendation to the Florida Legislature on what to do next. Instead the commission will forward its findings to Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio and note that the commission decided not to take any more action. Commission members said there was no reason for the case to go any further under their watch because FIU officials agreed the law had been broken and FIU "self reported" the case to the commission.

Lawmakers, however, could ultimately sanction FIU, including blocking it from being able to lobby the Legislature for up to two years.