Former FL AG Given High-Level Access for Lobbyist Clients, No Disclosure

The whole article is worth a read, it also has an overview of problems with Florida’s revolving door policies.

Tampa Bay: “When the cruise line Royal Caribbean sought to amend a 1997 consumer protection agreement with the Florida Attorney General’s office, it hired a lawyer familiar with the agency’s inner workings.

“Former Attorney General Bill McCollum called on the staff of his successor, Pam Bondi. Six months after the June 2013 meeting, Bondi’s office granted McCollum’s request.

“Royal Caribbean’s advertised rates would no longer have to include fees for services like baggage handling and loading cargo. The fees, which can inflate a trip’s cost by more than $100, could be listed separately from the company’s advertised rates.

“McCollum served as vice or acting chairman of the Washington D.C.-based group [the Republican State Leadership Committee] from June 2012 to January 2014, records show. During that period it contributed $650,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign, more than 10 percent of what she raised, and chipped in another $16,000 in gifts so she could attend conferences with other Republican attorneys general.” [brackets added]

“Yet once he did contact Bondi’s office in 2013, McCollum didn’t register himself or list his clients with the state, which is a requirement for anyone who lobbies the executive branch.

“McCollum says that restriction — intended to ensure the public knows who is trying to influence public officials — doesn’t apply to him.

“‘I was wearing my lawyer hat,’ McCollum said. ‘I’m representing a client on a legal matter. I’m not trying to influence the attorney general. I’m trying to represent my client. That’s not lobbying.'”

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