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Politics / Issues

A Manatee County commissioner may have violated ethics rules with vaccine event

A county government building with American flag.
Manatee County Government
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The state ethics commission says it found probable cause that Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh violated rules and helped certain residents get COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year.

The state ethics commission says it found probable cause after Vanessa Baugh helped certain residents get COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year.

The state ethics commission says it found probable cause that a Manatee County commissioner violated rules and helped certain residents get COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year.

Vanessa Baugh headshot
Manatee County
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Vanessa Baugh

Vanessa Baugh may have violated constitutional rules prohibiting the abuse of office when she put her name at the top of a random vaccine distribution list.

Probable cause was also found that she misused her position or public resources to help others.

Baugh directed Manatee County health officials to secure spots for herself, and political donors, at the February event at Lakewood Ranch, which was part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign to get seniors vaccinated.

In June, a Manatee County sheriff’s investigation found that Baugh would not face criminal charges for her actions.

That 113-page report was sent to the ethics commission, which is moving to the next phase of its investigation.

Baugh’s attorney told the Bradenton Herald that the finding is not an adjudication of guilt.

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