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Corruption Chronicles

Fla. Cabinet Member Violates Ethics

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, violated ethics laws by owning stock in two insurance companies while he was the state’s Insurance Commissioner.

Tom Gallagher was elected Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, treasurer and fire marshal in 1988 and served in that combined post until he became the state’s first Chief Financial Officer, a cabinet post to Governor Jeb Bush, in 2003. The longtime Florida legislator is making his fourth run for governor of the Sunshine State since term limits will force Bush to leave office.

Problem is, that the Florida Ethics Commission has ruled Gallagher violated state statute by trading holdings of two insurance companies-Conseco Inc. and Penn Treaty American-which were regulated under his supervision as Insurance Commissioner.

Gallagher’s attorney has downplayed the wrongdoing, saying that the amount of stock was miniscule, around 3,000 shares that sold for a mere $7,200 profit. Perhaps the attorney hasn’t read Florida Statute 112.313(7) which clearly says that “no public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, an agency of which he or she is an officer or employee.”

The Florida Masochist gives Gallagher the “knucklehead of the day award” and calls him just another corrupt politician who thinks rules don’t apply to him.


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