Last year, I was contacted by the Ethics Commission after they received a complaint regarding the Financial Disclosure forms that we all are required to fill out each year. I was alerted by the Commission to errors that had resulted from me filling out the forms incorrectly in the same way each year between 2004 and 2008. I believed that I had filled out these forms accurately, and as soon as these errors were brought to my attention I filed amended forms to be sure that the correct information was listed.
When the Ethics Commission met on October 22, 2010 the investigator’s report on the case was released, and probable cause was found that I had made these errors. After that report was released, I accepted full responsibility for these mistakes in a proposed stipulation agreement. The Commission voted to accept this agreement at their meeting on December 3, 2010.
Throughouy the process, I answered all questions from the Commission completely and supplied them
with all of the documentation they requested. None of these mistakes were intentional or meant to hide any personal information. To be clear, all of my income over this period was reported on the original forms. Nonetheless, I did not adequately follow the instructions on the forms that were filed and relied on forms from previous years for consistency. All documents now on file with the Ethics Commission are accurate and complete.
While these errors on my forms have been easily corrected, I take this situation very seriously and will embrace whatever is deemed to be the appropriate penalty. I accept responsibility for these errors and
apologize to the members of the Florida Senate. I have learned from this process and have gained a
greater respect for the need for elected officials to remain diligent in their efforts to be transparent with the public.