The FBI has all but dismissed the case against former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, but the Florida State ethics commission is still very much interested in gifts he might have received in 2016.
Gillum, who came within a hair’s breadth of winning Florida’s gubernatorial race in 2018, has been touted as a possible player for the presidency in 2020. Because, after all, nothing says “rising star” like losing a statewide election. Just ask Beto O’Rourke. Putting that odd piece of business aside, Gillum will now have some serious ethics complaints weighing down his campaign should he choose to throw his hat into the White House ring.
An ethics complaint against former Florida gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum will proceed after the state ethics commission found probable cause at a hearing Friday that he had accepted gifts, Gillum’s lawyer confirmed.
Gillum faced six counts related to soliciting and accepting gifts — including rental accommodations in Costa Rica, a boat ride to see the Statue of Liberty and tickets to see the Broadway musical “Hamilton” in 2016 — Gillum’s attorney Barry Richard told CNN.
“There’s conflicting testimony as to what happened,” he said.
At the hearing, the Florida ethics commission advocate considered the facts of the case and “recommended no probable cause on the account for soliciting gifts, and she recommended probable cause on the remaining counts, which were accepting gifts that exceeded $100,” Richard said.
Florida law bans state officials from accepting gifts worth more than $100.
Considering how unlikely it is that the crooked Department of Justice will actually bring charges to bear against a possible 2020 Democratic Party nominee, this cloud will probably not be dark enough to keep Gillum from running for president. It didn’t, after all, keep him from running for governor.
On the other hand, with dozens if not hundreds of Democrats poised to run for the nomination in 2020, this is the kind of anchor that no candidate can really afford to have dragging on their campaign. The slightest weakness is going to be grist for the mill in this brutal primary season; a candidate with a cleaner record will easily be able to stomp all over Gillum and his shady past.