We have highlighted some of the Republican “double-dippers” on this site, so it would only be fair to point out a potentially troubling move by House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands. Sands, whose fortune was wiped out in the Bernie Madoff scheme, has received clearance to pursue work as a “consultant” to local governments while continuing to serve in the Florida Legislature.
The advisory opinion, to be officially released next week, states that Rep. Sands would not have a conflict because local governments are not state agencies. But he was cautioned to keep private interests separate from public responsibilities.
“We suggest that in order to avoid even the appearance of favoritism, the member scrupulously separate his public role from his private pursuits in his interactions with public and private entities which may be affected by legislation,” the opinion reads.
While my sympathy goes out to Mr. Sands for the loss of his personal fortune, that issue needs to be completely left out of the question when it comes to pursuing current employment. If Mr. Sands is unable to make a living in the Florida Legislature, he should consider resigning and pursing employment that will support his family. By pursuing employment that will potentially create appearances of impropriety, Mr. Sands does a disservice to his party and his constituents.