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With wife lobbying for oil, DLP says 'no conflict' heading energy committee

The powerful Miami lawmaker now in charge of the Senate committee on energy policy is married to a lobbyist hired to help secure the repeal of Florida's ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.

Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, earlier this month was named chairman of the Senate's energy, environment and land use committee. He insists that any vote on oil drilling or other energy policies that come before him will not be influenced by his wife, Claudia, one of more than two dozen lobbyists registered to represent Florida Energy Associates, the umbrella group of oil and gas industry representatives seeking access to drill off Florida's coastline.

``My objectivity has never been in question,'' said Sen. Diaz de la Portilla, 45. ``She doesn't tell me how to vote.'' Full story here.