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State Ethics Commission clears Sen. Gary Siplin in newsletter complaint

The Florida Commission on Ethics has dismissed a complaint filed against state Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, that accused him of using a publicly funded newsletter to help promote his wife’s bid to replace him in the Legislature.

At the time, Siplin’s wife Victoria, a political novice, was running to replace him on the Senate since he was barred by term limits from running again. She was beaten in the primary by state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, another Orlando Democrat.

The complaint filed in August by Democratic activist Mary Ritter alleged that a newsletter from Siplin's Senate office mentioned and pictured Victoria several times and was sent to homes outside of Gary Siplin's current district but within the boundary lines of the redraw seat that his wife was seeking.

Without weighing in on the facts of the case, the Ethics Commission ruled last month that the allegations were legally insufficient and therefore dismissed the complaint.

Siplin didn’t announce that he had been vindicated until today. In the process, he attempted to tie Ritter’s complaint to Thompson’s campaign. He said that Ritter is an employee of Susannah Randolph, wife of state Rep. Scott Randolph, a fellow Orlando Democrat and chair of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee.

Randolph supports Thompson’s Senate campaign, Gary Siplin said. Then he took it a step further, accusing Randolph of favoring one Democratic candidate over another in the primary and suggesting that he step down from his county leadership post.

“I’m just thankful that the Ethics Committee saw through the Randolph’s political antics,” Siplin said in his news release. “I just wish our Democratic Party Leaders would not favor one candidate over another during a primary.  Perhaps Scott Randolph should resign as Chair of the local Democratic Party for his partisanship during the primary election.”

Download Siplin Press Release on Ethics Commission dismissal

Download Ethics Commission Order Dismissing Siplin Complaint

Comments

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Newman

Siplin is probably the most unethical member of our state legislature. This only means that our State Ethics Commission is a complete joke.

EthicsSchmethics

I just read the ruling by the Ethics Commission and it's crap. They site a case where a city's "white paper" was sent to constituents and later used in the campaign, and the court ruled that there is no violation when there is a valid public purpose. So, what is the purpose of sending the newsletter to people outside of Gary's district, who he has NEVER and will NEVER represent? It is a legislative courtesy to communicate ONLY to your district and he clearly crossed the line. I should file an ethics complaint against the ethics commission. WHAT A JOKE!

SlipperySiplin

I don't see how someone, in their personal off-time, filing a complaint reflects on the spouse of that person's boss? Siplin is really reaching here. He sent an official Senate newsletter to constituents not in HIS district but conveniently in the district his wife was running in and touts her achievements and her campaign events in it. And the thing is this isn't the first, or second, time Siplin has been accused of being unethical. THIS IS THE MAN WHO JUMPED A FENCE OUTSIDE OF HIS SENATE OFFICE TO RUN AWAY FROM REPORTERS when they tried to question him about one of his OTHER ethics violations. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about him or his wife and any other puppets of his, involved in our government anymore.

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