Ethics Commission throws out Diaz de la Portilla complaint

03/08/2013 4:55 PM

03/08/2013 4:56 PM

The state ethics commission on Friday dismissed a complaint against Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, saying it was no longer in the public interest to proceed with the case.

The 2011 complaint accused Diaz de la Portilla of failing to report his checking account on his 2009 and 2010 financial disclosure forms. Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican, admitted to the omission, but said he didn’t think it was a problem.

“The checking account may not have been disclosed, but the income — what is relevant in any type of conflict of interest analysis — was fully disclosed in 2009 and 2010,” he said, noting that he had conferred with Senate counsel before filing the reports.

Diaz de la Portilla later amended the forms to include the checking account, and tacked on two retirement accounts and three car leases.

“It’s an honest mistake that other folks have made,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “It happens, but it won’t happen again.”

On Friday, Chief Advocate Diane Guillemette recommended the Florida Commission on Ethics find Diaz de la Portilla in violation of state disclosure rules. But the commission voted 7-2 to dismiss the case.

Said Commissioner Matthew Carlucci: “I don’t see mal-intent.”

After the hearing, Diaz de la Portilla said he was pleased to see the two-year case come to an end.

Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.

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