Facing the prospect of having to look for a “real” job just a week after losing the Republican gubernatorial primary, Bill McCollum turned to the Florida Commission On Ethics. McCollum wrote to the Commission to make a request that he be allowed to lobby the Governor’s office and the Cabinet, or, to lobby his soon to be ex-coworkers in Tallahassee.
The answer? No.
The Commission and State law won’t allow him to lobby on behalf of private clients before the state government and collect fees for two years. McCollum knew that, but he didn’t let that stop him from asking anyway.
McCollum’s Sept. 3 letter acknowledged the fact that under state law, he can’t lobby his former agency, the attorney general’s office, for two years after leaving. But he asked “what entities” are also included under the post-employment restriction. The advisory opinion, to be acted on at the ethics panel’s Oct. 22 meeting, concludes that the lobbying ban applies to the governor and Cabinet as a group as well as the governor’s office and each Cabinet member individually “for a period of two years after leaving office.”
Put another way, McCollum apparently would prefer that the revolving door in Florida politics just be taken off its hinges entirely, but here’s the kicker:
McCollum asked that his request be kept a secret.
McCollum, who earned $400,000 a year as a lobbyist at Baker & Hostetler between two of his earlier statewide campaigns, asked that his name be withheld from any published opinion. But it wasn’t. His letter appears in the agenda materials along with the opinion.
Psst. Bill, it’s called the “ETHICS COMMISSION.” Oh, and you’re the “ATTORNEY GENERAL.”
No, McCollum certainly won’t endorse Rick Scott, his former rival in the Governor’s race, but he’s not above potentially profiting from a GOP win, should Scott somehow manage to wind up in the Governor’s mansion. (Perish the thought.)
McCollum, the man who balked at being referred to as a “career politician” served 20 years in Congress, collects an $82,000 pension, and had a net worth of $1.3 million as of last year. But not satisfied with that, and the fact that he lost the Governor’s race and may be out of offices to run for, McCollum would now like to profit from the state in other ways immediately, by jumping the two-year ethics law, and he would prefer that no one know that he made the request to do so.
Sure sounds like a career politician to me.
Can you say “hypocrisy?”