Ethics commission tosses Teamsters complaint against Scottby Dara Kam | October 26th, 2011
The Florida Commission on Ethics dismissed a complaint filed by the Teamsters accusing Gov. Rick Scott of a conflict of interest in a prison privatization plan ordered by the legislature.
The commission found there was no legal basis for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ complaint alleging that Scott had a conflict of interest in the prison privatization plan because he oversees the prisons agency and is a trustee of the State Board of Administration that invests money in the state pension fund. The state’s investments include holdings in the companies bidding on the privatization plan, now scrapped after a Tallahassee judge ruled it was unconstitutional.
The Teamsters are engaged in a battle with the Police Benevolent Association to represent the state’s 22,000 prison and probation officers. Voting in the union election is now ongoing and the winner should be announced in mid-November.
The Teamsters also accused Scott of a conflict of interest because the companies vying for the privatization contract contributed money to the Republican Party of Florida for his inauguration.
But the ethics commission, meeting in an executive session Wednesday, didn’t buy that either.
“Alleged receipt by the governor’s inaugural fund of contributions from (private prison operators), coupled with the complainant’s use of the phrase ‘pay to play politics,’ does not equate to the quid-pro-quo, criminal-bribery-like understanding … required to indicate a possible violation” of the law, the dismissal order reads.