Blind Trust

The chairman of the Florida Ethics Commission says five officials who are elected statewide should be forced to put their stocks into a blind trust while they are serving.

The commission meets Friday and is expected to recommend that the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and chief financial officer all be required to put their stocks into a trust while they serve.

Ben Wilcox with Florida Common Cause says that would help avoid any appearance of impropriety.

“Well, I mean, the problems we’ve had in the past have been officials that are day-trading, moving stocks around. I mean, that’s really where the problem becomes. If you don’t have an ability to move the stock around, then it reduces the possibility you can use it to benefit yourself financially.”

The talk about a blind trust was inspired by Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who is facing an ethics investigation for trading in stock of companies that had business before the cabinet.

Gallagher, who ran for governor and lost in the GOP primary, is facing a possible fine and goes before an administrative judge in January.

Gov. Jeb Bush kept his assets in a blind trust during his time in office and he advised other officials to do the same.

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