Jim Norman showdown? Not yet.

The FBI may be able to find out lots of stuff about Jim Norman, but they won’t find a Hillsborough County Commission Code of Ethics. There is none.

While their staffs can easily get bounced for violations of the code they sign, good luck with holding Commissioners like Norman and others to the same standard.

However, there is the “Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees” adopted by the Legislature found in Chapter 112 (Part III) of the Florida Statutes.

Commissioners sworn into office promise to uphold the ENTIRE state constitution.

Foremost among the goals of the Code is to promote the public interest and maintain the respect of the people for their government.

Criminal penalties which initially applied to violations of the Code were eliminated in 1974 in favor of
administrative enforcement.

PROHIBITED ACTIONS OR CONDUCT

Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts
Public officers, employees, local government attorneys, and candidates are prohibited from soliciting or accepting
anything of value, such as a gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor, or service, that is based on an understanding that their vote, official action, or judgment would be influenced by such gift. [Sec. 112.313(2), Fla. Stat.]

Unauthorized Compensation
Public officers or employees, local government attorneys, and their spouses and minor children are prohibited from accepting any compensation, payment, or thing of value when they know, or with the exercise of reasonable care should know, that it is given to influence a vote or other official action. [Sec. 112.313(4), Fla. Stat.]

Misuse of Public Position
Public officers and employees, and local government attorneys are prohibited from corruptly using or attempting to use their official positions to obtain a special privilege for themselves or others. [Sec. 112.313(6), Fla. Stat.]

Sadly, there are no criminal penalties for violation of the Sunshine Amendment and the Code of Ethics. Penalties for violation of those laws may include: impeachment, removal from office or employment, suspension, public censure, reprimand, demotion, reduction in salary level, forfeiture of no more than one-third salary per month for no more than twelve months, a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000, and restitution of any pecuniary benefits received.

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Justice first, then throw away the key

There is still the little matter of perhaps neither of the Normans declaring as income the $500,000 “investment” as a “gift” upon the death of Ralph Hughes.

The IRS takes a dim view of this kind of behavior.

Question:

Do the Normans file joint tax returns,
or is Jim going to let his wife take the full rap if she is responsible for filing her own separate return, declaring the half-million dollars as income?

There may be a statute of limitations on state ethics violations, but I’m pretty sure there is no such limitation on federal tax evasion laws.


<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

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One Response to “Jim Norman showdown? Not yet.”

  1. Marilyn Smith Says:

    Oh, this is the same protection of the 1974 decriminalization of violations
    of the CODE OF ETHICS. It does perhaps appear that this lack of PUNISHMENT AND COLLECTABLE FINES is the reason why we have commissioners like HAGAN JUST GOING ON AS USUAL, even when pointed out in PUBLIC RECORD where a commissioner objected and pointed out that a relative of HAGAN’s was involved in the contract that was about to be voted on….unfortunately for us SHE had no one take up that very egregious action…HAGAN didn’t even abstain.
    Talk about what appears to be blatant DISREGARD FOR THE LAW. “hey I can do anything I want”…by Commissioner Hagan

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