Former Senate President Ken Pruitt is among an elite group of people.
He is not only one of a handful of legislators who have held the coveted job of Senate president, he is also one of a handful of people being targeted by a high-priority ethics bill passed unanimously Wednesday by the Florida Senate.
Pruitt served as Senate president from 2006 to 2008 but, like many former legislators, parlayed his clout as a top-dog lawmaker into a high paying career as a lobbyist. He has 15 clients, including Florida Crystals Corp. and the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office, and his firm has reportedly earned as much as $150,00 a year in lobbying fees from Florida Crystals alone.
Pruitt’s full-time job, however, is serving as St. Lucie County’s elected property appraiser, a position that increases the value of the retirement benefits he earned as a long-time legislator.
Under the bill (CS/SB 846) the Senate passed, Pruitt and other constitutional officers – such as sheriffs, state attorneys and property appraisers – would be banned from lobbying for compensation. The restriction does not take effect until after the next election so Pruitt buys some time. His term ends in 2016.