Cliff Stearns Corruption Scandal
Republican James Jett has accused Rep. Cliff Stearns of briding him. Jett was set to run in the Republican primary against Sterns for the new District 3 seat. According to Jett, Sterns offered to a bride, in exchange for Jett dropping out.
Jett said one offer included a job on Stearns' campaign staff that would pay him to cover the approximately $25,000 he had spent on his congressional run. He also said he was told there could be a job heading the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or a U.S. marshall position once there are vacancies.
Gov. Rick Scott would have to be involved, in order for Stearns to give Jett the head position at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It could very well be that Stearns was overplaying his influence. However, it does sound shady.
According to Jett, the FBI has recorded phone conversations Jett had with Jim Horne and Jud Sapp. Horne and Sapp were to help set up the deal between Jett and Stearns. Jett isn't someone who makes these kind of accusations likely. By all accounts he is honest and doesn't stand for corruption.
This is the second time Jett has said someone has tried to pay him, illegally, for politics. A Clay County man was convicted in 1990 for offering Jett, then a county commissioner, $30,000 for his vote. Tape recordings were used in that case, by the State Attorney's Office.
Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll's name was brought up by Jett to the FBI. Jett adds that he doesn't think Carroll has done anything illegal.
Update: the Sterns story makes me wonder how often this kind of pay for play deals go on. State Sen. Jim Norman admitted to violated the law by not reporting a $500,000 house, given by campaign donor Ralph Hughes to Norman's wife. Former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom gave Northwest Florida State College pork, in exchange for a job. It is no wonder that Republicans don't flinch when JD Alexander uses the legislative process to increase his property values of his company Atlantic Blue.
The current crop of Republicans are so confident that they have no qualms about breaking the law. Do you actually believe that Rick Scott is worried about the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation on the data erased from his laptop and cell phone? Scott and other Republicans do not have to worry about being indicted for violating Sunshine and campaign laws. Jim Norman and Ray Sansom will unlikely get convicted by the FBI. JD Alexander got the CSX line and state college near his Blue Atlantic property. Marco Rubio used the nonprofit Republican Party of Florida credit card as his own ATM. Rubio is now a Senator. Scott was involved in a huge Medicare fraud scandal and his now governor. These Republicans are going to keep behaving unethically because it pays well.