Florida grand jury urges new laws to fight corruption

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A statewide grand jury impaneled by Gov. Charlie Christ has proposed making punishment more severe for public officials found guilty of misusing their positions, and other ethics violations. The grand jury’s 127 page report was issued Wednesday in advance of lawmakers heading back to Tallahassee for the spring session.

The grand jury recommended that state legislators enact new legislation to deal with political corruption after a large number of public officials were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to corruption charges in recent years.

Among its recommendations, the grand jury proposed harsher sentences and the formation of an independent state Office of Inspector General that would supervise the inspector general offices of other state agencies. Also recommended was expanding the definition of public employee to include private contractors hired to perform government services.

Saying that cadets at the nation’s military academies take oaths not lie, steal, cheat or tolerate those that do, the grand jury said that public officials should be held to the same standard.

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