The complaint was filed Oct. 27 in Tallahassee by Benjamin Gold of Fort Myers. Diaz de la Portilla dismissed the complaint as "immaterial" but said he does have a bank account and will amend his disclosure form if necessary.
The complaint comes as Florida tea party activists instrumental in electing Gov. Rick Scott have expressed frustration with Scott's administration for not doing more to push for state ethics reform.
In an e-mail, Gold said he singled out Diaz de la Portilla because he chairs the Florida Senate's Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections.
"I am a Tea Party member and feel strongly about our movement holding government accountable, especially when the elected leaders who oversee ethics laws seemingly have little regard for them, or worse, stop meaningful reforms," Gold said.
Last year, the subcommittee was set to handle a wide-ranging ethics bill, SB 86, but it died before it could come before the panel. Sen. Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican, has been trying to pass the legislation for four years. (The subcommittee did pass a different ethics bill, SB 2088, that later died, too.)
A re-submitted version of Dockery's bill, SB 552, is expected to come before the subcommittee next session. The legislation faces long odds: It must clear five committees instead of the usual three; the more committees a bill must go through, the less likely that it will go anywhere.
"[A]ll accounts list it as dead on arrival and Sen. Diaz de la Portilla is mute on the issue," Gold said of the bill.
In a series of text messages, Diaz de la Portilla, a lawyer who was elected last year, says the complaint is "alleging a technical, immaterial, inadvertent omission regarding where I do my banking."
"For the record, I've had a checking account at SunTrust [Bank] in Coral Gables since 1987," Diaz de la Portilla added. "It's not a state secret. I'm reviewing the complaint to see if my disclosure form needs to be amended: And if so I will amend the disclosure form."
In the complaint, Gold noted Diaz de la Portilla must have an undisclosed bank account, because he loaned himself thousands of dollars for his Senate campaign. Attorney General Pam Bondi, Gold added, also a Republican, faced similar questions about her listed assets. Bondi later amended her disclosure form.
Diaz de la Portilla said he does not know Gold. Gold said he had not previously filed complaints against legislators before the Florida Commission on Ethics.
But, Gold added, there are other tea party folks "in an out of government, trying to expose unethical practices and strengthen requirements to hold leaders accountable to the law."