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Tea partier files ethics complaint against Miami state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican, has been hit with an ethics complaint for not listing his bank account as an asset in his annual financial disclosure form.

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."

Comments

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Lao Tzu

Does that complaint refer to his old bank account in Miami, or his brand new casino-funded offshore account in Singapore?

Garrett

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla is a greasy character who works as a lobbyist and sells his advocacy to the highest bidder regardless of whether its in the public interest. His lobbying clients include the sleazy red light camera company and developers who want to build outside of the urban development boundary.

amigay

Just goes to show how dumb Tea baggers are if they think an ethically-challenged guv is going to do anything about it.

Political Forum

Throw them all out!

Audrey

It must be a slow news day. This is a non-issue. So, the guy amends the report and that's it. Let's keep our eye on the ball, shall we? Mr. Gold, get a job and a life.

Guilty

Not so fast, Audrey. Don't gobble up DLp's spin. He can amend all he wants, but he's still going to have to deal with the ethics committee and I'd use his admission that he left off his bank accounts as exhibit #1. Dollars to doughnuts, he's going to be found guilty of violating the ethics laws.

How can he forget his bank account? What about investment accounts or other assets? seems like there is a lot he his not revealing...

Debbie Israel

DLP is as corrupt as they come. He is a puppet for the FL Bar. He has his hands in their pockets. His behavior in the Senate has been appalling. He sponsored a bill in good faith and then didn't see it through despite knowing how necessary it is for thousands of constituents and despite the fact that it passed the House 83-30. He is evil and needs to be voted out of office in 12.

Miguel

You are a bunch of envious losers. This is a non- issue. Hypertechnical and not material. What's the big deal? The guy made an honest mistake on a form by not listing his personal checking account, but he disclosed all his income elsewhere on the same form. Who cares whether he keeps his checking account at suntrust or Wachovia? what difference does it make? And who is this no name from ft. Myers anyway? The guy lives nowhere near Miami where the talented, good looking, articulate, and honest mdlp hails from. Smells like a politically motivated complaint just because dlp did not go along with the governors union busting privatization schemes.

Miguel

"Debbie" what the hell are you talking about? Mdlp was the best county commissioner Miami fade has ever had. He exposed the cronyism of the penelas regime. He is an AV rated lawyer.

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