CEO 74-16 -- October 10, 1974
APPLICATION OF PENALTIES REQUIRED BY PART III,
CH. 112, F. S., AS AMENDED BY CHS. 74-176 AND
74-177, LAWS OF FLORIDA, TO SUBSEQUENT
BIDS FOR OFFICE
To: Vince Fechtel, Representative, District 34, Leesburg
Prepared by: Gerald Knight
As stated in s. 112.314, F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, penalties for violation of the Code of Ethics and financial disclosure procedures by any candidate, public officer, or employee include dismissal from employment or removal from office or the ballot. Should a public officer be removed from office or a candidate from the ballot, however, there is no future penalty provided. Thus, an officer or candidate is not precluded by part III, Ch. 112, F. S., from becoming a candidate for public office, from holding a subsequent public office, or from becoming a public employee. Should the public officer removed from office for intentional violation of part III again fail to comply with the Code of Ethics provisions while in subsequent office or employment subject to those provisions, he may again be disciplined and penalized as provided in s. 112.317, supra.
Do the penalties for failure to report financial disclosure information as required by part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Chs. 74-176 and 74-177, Laws of Florida, apply only to the office which the public official would presently hold, or would the penalties also apply to any public office the individual might hold or seek to hold?
Part III, Ch. 112, F. S., as amended by Chs. 74-176 and 74-177, Laws of Florida, establishes a code of ethics and financial disclosure procedure for public officers and employees. Section 112.314, supra, as amended by s. 8, Ch. 74-177, supra, provides that
Intentional violation of any provision of this part by any officer, employee or candidate shall constitute grounds for dismissal from employment, removal from office, or removal from the ballot.
See also s. 112.325, supra, as created by s. 2, Ch. 74-176, supra. These penalties are apparently to be imposed by the "official having power to take disciplinary action." See s. 112.324, supra, created by Ch. 74-176, supra. Attorney General Opinion 074-251.
Once removed from office, however, there is no further penalty provided by the statute for a public officer who has violated part III. Thus, such an officer is not precluded by part III from becoming a candidate for further public office, from holding a subsequent public office, or from becoming a public employee. Of course, if a former public officer who was removed from office for violation of part III assumes another position which subjects him to the application of part III, and if he again intentionally fails to comply with the code of ethics or financial disclosure procedure established therein, he may again be disciplined and penalized as provided by s. 112.317, supra.