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House panel approves Sansom's witness list

At a brief hearing Wednesday morning, the Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct voted to issue subpoenas for the scheduled Feb. 22 hearing on allegations of misconduct against former House Speaker Ray Sansom.

The Destin lawmaker's list of potential witnesses numbers 35 people, including former Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio and six other legislators: Sens. Don Gaetz, Mike Haridopolos, Dennis Jones and Joe Negron and Reps. Mary Brandenburg and Marti Coley. Two former House members also could be called to testify: Joe Pickens, now president of St. Johns Community College in Palatka, and David Mealor, an associate vice president at UCF.

The testimony by Rubio at a hearing on Sansom's conduct would be a full-blown media spectacle. The name of former Sen. Lisa Carlton of Osprey, Sansom's budget-writing counterpart in 2007, has dropped off the list of potential witnesses.

The five-member committee also OK'd its independent counsel's request to issue subpoenas to 25 individuals who may be called to testify against Sansom. Most are linked to Northwest Florida State College, the school that offered Sansom a job after he secured millions of dollars in state funding as House budget chairman.

Sansom, accompanied by his attorney Gloria Fletcher, attended the brief meeting. Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, confirmed he has had initial discussions with Fletcher on a possible "consent decree" with Sansom, but Galvano said at this point he expects the hearing to go forward. "We're well prepared to have a hearing on the matter. It's been pending for quite some time," Galvano said. 

-- Steve Bousquet