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Politics / Issues

Jim Norman's Ethics Violation Case Now in Hands of State Senate

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The state Ethics Commission today sent state Sen. Jim Norman's financial disclosure case to the Florida Senate - where his lawyer said he will argue against any penalites. The Tampa Republican faces charges that he failed to disclose a half-a-million-dollar gift to his wife when he ran for the Senate in 2010.

Norman’s lawyer says a Hillsborough County attorney advised Norman, who was a county
commissioner at the time, that he didn’t have to disclose that the money was used to renovate a lakefront home in Arkansas.

The attorney, Mark Levine, maintains that Norman’s wife is an independent business woman who doesn’t update her husband on every agreement she negotiates.

" If you know his wife, she is very independent always been an entrepreneurial individual and has always worked outside of the home," Levine said. "I mean, Sen. Norman had his job. He had his county commission position he didn’t mess with her stuff and I mean that’s the kind of relationship they had and to this day there is nothing different about that.  I mean they are both independent in terms of what they do to bring money into the household and it’s not his job to question her judgment."

But Dan Krassner with Integrity Florida - a non-partisan research organization which exposes corruption in government - is using the Norman case to call on lawmakers to uphold strict ethical standards for public officials.

"I’m married, if my wife received a $500,000 vacation home I would hope I would know about it," says Krassner. "So the idea that someone didn’t know about that asset and inadvertently failed to disclose it on a financial disclosure form just doesn’t pass the smell test."

It's now up to the state Senate if Norman faces any penalties.