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Florida Ethics Committee: Former mayoral candidate, Gillum's Chief of Staff violated Code of Ethics

Committee found Dustin Daniels misused official resources
Dustin Daniels
Posted at 2:49 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 14:49:33-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida Ethics Committee ruled during its April 16 meeting that Dustin Daniels, the former Chief of Staff for the former Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, violated Florida's Code of Ethics.

According to a press release, the Committee found that Daniels misused official resources in campaign-related mass emails utilizing City equipment.

In 2019, Jennings Lawton DePriest, a local GOP activist, filed the complaint accusing Daniels of "misusing his public position" to secure special benefits for others.

DePriest refers to a 2017 grand jury investigation into a complaint that Mayor Gillum's office had spent about $4,000 on campaign email software using taxpayer money.

The grand jury found that out of 106 emails sent, four could have been classified as political advertisements, but after the investigation, the grand jury found no evidence of official misconduct.

"The grand jury found that Andrew Gillum misused public dollars and that Dustin Daniels was a part of that," said DePriest. "He was the only one who had a password and even though they couldn't prove criminal intent they were already found to have violated the public's trust and I'm asking the state ethics committee to hold them accountable."

On Friday, the Commission voted to increase the $250 civil penalty based on the type of violation that occurred, combined with information contained in the hearing record. A civil penalty of $1,000 and public censure and reprimand will be recommended to the Governor for imposition.