Political Corruption is Helping Florida Become a White Collar Criminal Haven


Political corruption is an ancient development, one of those adages that still rings true.

Now, thanks to a slow, cancerous spread of corruption, Florida is becoming a haven for white-collar tax evaders and corrupt public officials who are all betting they can evade scrutiny for years.  In many cases, they are right.

The development of political corruption in Florida is primarily ignored by snowbirds, new residents, retirees, partygoers, and people who just want to fish or take in the sun. But behind the scenes, the state is setting some new low points in its pattern of becoming the home to some very unsavory white-collar criminals who are attracted here by the low taxes, lax state scrutiny, and an increasingly compliant number of public officials who will look the other way when the right incentives present themselves.

Here are some examples of the state’s political corruption, as reported by the exceptional reporting in Florida Bulldog:

More Bad News About Political Corruption

This news about political corruption charges is just from a few recent issues of the Florida Bulldog, so the list is much longer. But suppose you connect these allegations with the news that Trump has made Florida his official state of residence, a recent home purchase by Sean Hannity, and a slew of hedge fund and private equity executives. In that case, you have a nexus for some like-minded white-collar tax evaders who will continue to contribute to a corrupt Florida legislature that is already proven that it willfully disregards the will of the electorate.

Take the Florida referendums that passed and were publicly disregarded or emasculated. This happened with the referendum to restore voting rights to persons convicted of felonies and a referendum to decriminalize cannabis and make it more readily available.

In both cases, Republicans in the Florida legislature did all they could to block or delay the implementation of these public votes.

In the case of restoring the voting right to felons, The Guardian newspaper summarized this anti-democratic move by Florida Republicans like this:

“In 2018,…64.5% of Floridians had voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to end the policy. More than 5.1 million people – more than voted for Ron DeSantis, the Republican elected governor that evening – were in favor of the measure. The referendum – often referred to as Amendment 4 – was one of the most dramatic amendments to the right to vote in US history since the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  But over a year and a half after Amendment 4 went into effect, hundreds of thousands remain blocked from voting.”

In short, the Republicans ignored the will of the people. The same is true of the cannabis decriminalization referendum initially held in 2016, which received a favorable vote of  60%. But Republican legislators undercut voters’ intent. Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, but lawmakers banned smoking it and were losing a court battle over that interference until it was eventually signed into law.

Republican Obstructionism Encourages Political Corruption

Newcomers to Florida didn’t realize it was the third state to join the Confederacy in January 1861. If you move to Florida from New York, Massachusetts, or Illinois, you should remember that it is a Southern state. This means it has bought into the great lie that the Southern states that lost the Civil War were involved in a “just cause.” That mass self-deception is still evident today.

What the Florida Bulldog and other media report about corruption in Florida are not new.  From 2000 to 2010, Florida was the worst state in the union, with the most federal public corruption convictions. A news item from Integrity Florida found that from 2003 to 2013, Florida had 622 convictions, behind California and Texas, which had much larger populations.

A 2015 study by the Harvard Law School’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics found that Florida hit a trifecta of corruption in:

  • Illegal corruption is “moderately common” in Florida’s executive branch.
  • Illegal corruption is “very common” in the state’s legislative branch.
  • No state has a high ranking of unlawful corruption in its judiciary.

According to a 2019 report from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Miami was the fifth most corrupt city in the US. A 2021 study that looked at data from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to determine the number of public corruption convictions per 10,000 residents in all 50 states found that Florida ranked 42nd out of 50 states.

Birds of a Feather

With Trump in Palm Beach, similar high-flyers that benefit from tax loopholes, mainly carried interest, and receive federal subsidies are also moving to Florida. The Wall Street Journal reports that David Tepper, Paul Tudor Jones, and Barry Sternlicht (all hedge fund moguls) are among the prominent transplants who have pulled up roots in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut in recent years for Florida” along with financier Carl Icahn.

The big reason is taxes.  For average people, a significant reason to move to Florida is affordability, but for the ultra-rich, it is to get the exemption for estate taxes, not income taxes.  Trump’s cohorts are professional tax cheats.  They spend millions to evade paying millions more in taxes.

Now, the Trump, DeSantis regime, and its Florida Republican legislature are working overtime to make it homier for the top 1% to feel safe here.  Public protests are being outlawed, the police will monitor large gatherings, and as shown above, the legislature has even made it possible to hide the criminal behavior of Florida cops. It is now legal to drive your car into a group of protestors and not be charged with anything.  This means the death-cult Republicans in the Florida legislature have made hit-and-run legal. The state also benefits from a low-information electorate.

So, is Florida the new home to white-collar criminals?

You bet it is.

And the snowbirds, retirees, and party-goers don’t even notice what’s happening.


CONTRIBUTE to the Florida Bulldog here. 



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