State Senator Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale) today issued the following statement regarding the latest developments on the handling of an ethics complaint both he and state Representative Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) filed earlier this year regarding the alleged failure of NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer to comply with state lobbying disclosure law:
“Since filing our complaints, if one central theme has emerged, it’s that the process itself is severely flawed. The Senate handed off its mandatory obligation to investigate alleged lobbyist reporting violations to an office that is tasked with lobbyist registrations. In justifying its decision, the Senate cited an obscure case handled under a completely different set of Senate rules in effect years ago, while the different rules voted on, passed, and currently in effect were ignored.
“Now, we have Ms. Hammer’s insistence that she’s not a lobbyist, but a consultant, in direct opposition to the long history of her registering as the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, receiving payment from the NRA for her Florida lobbying activity, making regular appearances before Florida legislative committees and being introduced as a representative on behalf of the NRA, and directly influencing the fate of Florida gun legislation in her capacity as a lobbyist.
“In what world does this not constitute lobbying?
“Our authority, as lawmakers and representatives of the people, is severely compromised if we allow this to continue.
“As a registered contract lobbyist for the NRA, Ms. Hammer had a legal obligation to disclose her financial compensation from the NRA. She did not. It’s time she’s held accountable.”