Miami Beach lawmaker may settle ethics complaint

The Florida Elections Commission will soon decide whether to accept an agreement with state Rep. David Richardson that would close a complaint filed against the freshman lawmaker.

The complaint accused the Miami Beach Democrat of failing to disclose his political party, as required for legislative candidates, in ads that circulated during the August 2012 election.

Mark Herron, Richardson’s attorney, said his client didn’t prepare the ads. If the commission accepts the deal, Richardson will be fined $500 but will not have to accept or deny fault, Herron said.

The complaint lists four mailers and two TV ads in which Richardson’s party affiliation were not listed. Richardson is a political novice who has never held elected office before, and the complaint accuses him of purposely withholding information about his party because he ran in a district, stretching from Miami Beach to East Little Havana, with many Republican voters.

The commission will decide on Feb. 19 whether to accept the settlement with Richardson, the first openly gay legislator elected in Florida.