Gov. Charlie Crist called for a statewide grand jury to investigate political corruption in South Florida and around the state. Crist said he has removed 30 public officials from office around the state since he’s been governor.
“A recent rash of crimes committed by public officials in South Florida has led to a crisis of confidence among those who have elected them to office,” Crist said. “Today, I have petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a Grand Jury to investigate these crimes, bring indictments and provide specific recommendations to address fundamental problems within the system that may be cultivating a culture of corruption.”
Read the petition here.
Crist’s request for a grand jury comes after in the wake of the indictments of several Broward County elected officials on federal charges including bribery, money laundering and wire fraud. And prominent GOP fundraiser Alan Mendelsohn, a lobbyist who served on Crist’s transition team, was indicted last week on charges that he diverted at least $350,000 from campaign contribution and clients’ fees to pay for his mistress’ love nest, a luxury car and his kids’ private school tuition.
Palm Beach County led the public corruption scandal sheet in 2006 that resulted in three county commissioners and two West Palm Beach officials going to prison.
The corruption isn’t limited to South Florida, Crist said. He’s asked the grand jury to begin work by focusing on Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Lee and Hendry counties.