Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate Nikki Fried Faces Ethics Probe

( The only statewide Florida Democrat officeholder is facing an ethics investigation over claims that she violated state financial disclosure laws.

The Florida Commission on Ethics announced last week that there is probable cause that Nikki Fried, Twitter’s favorite Ron DeSantis troll and Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner violated state financial disclosure laws after she was accused of failing to accurately report her income during her time as a lobbyist.

The ethics complaint, filed in June just days after Fried filed the official paperwork to run for Florida governor, was made by the top-ranking member of the Florida GOP, Leon County Republican Chair Evan Power.

Power alleged that Fried failed to properly disclose more than $400,000 she earned with consulting firm Igniting Florida when she was lobbying for medical marijuana.

Four days before she officially filed to run for the Democrat nomination, Fried’s campaign amended two financial disclosure forms for 2017 and 2018 to include the income she failed to report. And the amended forms were wildly different from the originals.

In the form for 2018, when Fried first ran for Agricultural Commissioner, her income was initially listed as $72,000. In the amended form, her income was listed as $351,480. The form from 2017 was amended from $84,000 to $165,761.

The Florida Commission on Ethics rule states that a person may amend a financial statement “any time after filing the disclosure form.” If there is a complaint filed, the candidate or elected official has thirty days to submit an amended form.

Now that the commission has determined there is probable cause for a probe, Fried has the right to a public hearing before an administrative law judge where evidence will be presented. She could choose instead to resolve the issue through a stipulated settlement with a commission advocate.

Either way, the issue will still go back to the Ethics Commission, which will determine if Fried broke the law, then agree on a penalty.

While Fried is formally running in the Democrat primary for Governor, she is not seen as a serious contender, but rather a Twitter “influencer” seeking social media status by “taking on” Governor Ron DeSantis.

Fried’s campaign press secretary Drew Godinich dismissed the ethics complaint against her, claiming it was baseless and a politically-driven “sham.” The same, of course, could be said about Nikki Fried’s campaign for governor.