Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff on Monday directed every state agency to report any case in which an agency pays a law firm that also employs a member of the Legislature, calling it a potential conflict of interest.
The memo from Kim McDougal came in response to a Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times report that disclosed that Enterprise Florida, the agency that House Speaker Richard Corcoran (in photo) is trying to abolish, has paid more than $235,000 in legal fees since 2011 to the Orlando- based law firm of Broad & Cassel, which employs Corcoran.
"The employment of a legislator by a law firm that does business with the state could easily be perceived as a conflict of interest," McDougal wrote. Her memo cited a provision in the Code of Ethics that prohibit public officers or employees from having an employment or contractual relationship with any business that is subject to the regulation of or is doing business with the state agency that employs the officer or employee.
"Specifically, it is important to know that the spirit and letter of the law are being followed regarding legislators' or state employees' contractual relationships with state agencies," McDougal wrote.
Corcoran has said that Enterprise Florida paid Broad & Cassel for legal work before he joined the firm in 2011. Corcoran also has said he was not personally aware that his firm did legal work for Enterprise Florida.
McDougal said she wants a report from every state agency by noon next Monday, April 3.