Eric Giunta
Florida Democrat lawmakers could get five years in prison for lying about residence
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By Eric Giunta
July 6, 2013


Almost a half-dozen Democratic state legislators from South Florida are being accused of not residing in the districts they represent. The offense is not only politically unpopular, it could get them impeached, and even land them in prison for up to five years.

What are the allegations?

A recent investigative news report by Miami's Local 10 News uncovered evidence that Sen. Maria Sachs of Delray Beach, an attorney, maintains a permanent home in Boca Raton while claiming to "reside" in Fort Lauderdale, which is within her district.

And that's not all. Saint Petersblog reports:

"House Minority Leader Perry Thurston claims to live with a convicted felon in a small, rundown Lauderhill home, rather than with his wife and family in their longtime two-story home in an upscale Plantation neighborhood. Rep. Joe Gibbons, who represents Hallandale Beach, appears to live in Jacksonville with his wife and family while renting out a small condo in his House district. Then there's state Rep. Jared Moskowitz who won a seat in a Coral Springs district and did so by renting an apartment a few miles away from his Parkland Golf and Country Club estate, where his wife continues to live. And as it turns out – so does he. Rep. Hazelle Rogers, the same. She rents a condo in her district, a few miles from where she actually lives."

What laws are these legislators supposedly violating?

The Florida Constitution explicitly requires that "[e]ach legislator shall be . . . a[] resident of the district from which elected," and Section 104.011 of the Florida Statutes makes it a third-degree felony to "swear[] or affirm[] falsely to any oath or affirmation ... in connection with or arising out of voting or elections."

When filing to run for office, every would-be legislator swears an oath that he is "qualified under the Constitution and the Laws of Florida to hold the office to which [he] desire[s] to be nominated or elected," and if elected must additionally swear that he is "duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state". . . .

Catch the rest of the story at Sunshine State News!

© Eric Giunta

 

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