Just in time for new race, Rader cleared of complaint from 2010 campaignby John Kennedy | March 30th, 2012
Just in time for another election cycle, former Rep. Kevin Rader had a complaint filed against him dismissed Friday by the state Commission on Ethics.
Rader, a Delray Beach Democrat, was accused in 2010 of failing to disclose his partial ownership of an underwriters’ group on his state financial disclosure forms. Rader, at the time a state Senate candidate, said he owned Advanced Insurance Underwriters through another firm, Rader Insurance Inc., which he did disclose on the forms.
State ethics investigators found probable cause that Rader should have revealed his connection to Advanced Insurance. The matter emerged when Victoria Thiel, a tea party activist, filed the complaint a month before the November 2010 election Rader lost to Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers.
But Rader fought the charge. His attorney, Mark Herron, filed a legal challenge with the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings, arguing that ethics investigators misapplied the state’s disclosure law. As part of Friday’s finding, that case also will be dropped.
“In the heat of a campaign, people sometimes will file complaints without merit,” Rader said. “I’m extremely happy this has been dismissed and the commission took no action.”
Rader last month announced that he would challenge Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, in this summer’s Democratic primary.
But with Senate district boundaries still not set, Rader also acknowledged he is considering running in a proposed district in the Lake Worth-West Palm Beach area that has a majority black and Hispanic voting age population. Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, filed candidate papers this week to run in that district. Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, also is weighing a campaign for the seat.
“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen, because know one knows what these districts are going to look like,” Rader said.
After the first redrawn Senate boundaries were rejected as unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court, the Legislature has completed its second attempt at map-making. The redrawn plan now must win approval from justices.