Can You Survive the Florida Political Climate?

Congrats! After a cutthroat election, you have officially begun your career as a Florida politician.

With this newfound responsibility comes great challenges. Suddenly, lots of people want to be your new best friend! Many offer you luxury getaways and cups of coffee for a chance to have your ear. Be careful -- those good times can really be ethics violations in disguise! Can you navigate your way through a career in local and state politics without slipping up?

Question #1

How exciting! You just got elected to the Town Council, and the first measure up for a vote is whether to do a study on widening a channel for cruise ships. Your dad owns an alligator-hunting shop, along a row of dozens of similar shops, right off of the local port. The more passengers that pass through, the better his business will do! Your dad would be so happy!

Decide to vote on the measure
Admit a voting conflict of interest, and don't vote on this measure.
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Question #2

As a rookie to the Town Council, you want to talk to more experienced councilmembers about an upcoming vote on expanding Main Street, a traffic-clogged road in the center of your town. Fellow Councilmember Oliver Garcia is a great guy, really knowledgeable and smart and used to work for the State Department of Transportation. He'd be a great resource! You give him a call.

Tap into his wealth of knowledge and ask him about the proposed road construction
Ask him where the bathroom is at the Town Hall
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Question #3

One of the Main Street businesses is Arnold's Hardware. The owner, Arnold Moore, is your dad's best friend. Before you vote on expanding Main Street, you have dinner with Arnold, who tells you that he really wants that road expansion to help his store. That night, he messengers you a note saying, "Do the right thing for Main Street businesses. Give us a larger road," along with a check for $100 for your re-election campaign. You happen to already think that the project is a good idea.

Deposit the check. Nice to have the support of the community.
Send the check back. It feels icky.
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Question #4

Your family just opened up a new small bungalow-style mini restaurant on the beach. A measure has come before the Town Council that would allow businesses on the beach to sell alcohol. You're the only business on the beach. Your family fought hard to get that first permit to open the restaurant on the sand. If the law passes, your business might get more customers! The vote is right around the corner, and you are feeling torn about what to do.

Decline to vote. Your voters will see this as a conflict of interest
Vote for it. Let the good times roll!
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Question #5

It's time to get out of your little hometown. You enter the running to become a Florida State Representative for your district. After the long and hard fight, you finally arrive in Tallahassee. On the first day of the job, you run into a familiar face: an old friend from your high school! He's at the Capitol to lobby for the shrimping industry. He invites you to reminisce about the old days and talk about how things work in the big leagues over a cup of coffee. It'll be on him!

Accept the coffee offer. Extra cream. Extra sugar.
Tell him that you can't accept the coffee.
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Question #6

Your old buddy, the shrimping industry lobbyist, is so happy to hear that you're a state legislator. He remembers what a great senior class president you were! He wants to help you out for your re-election. It never hurts to plan ahead. He passes along a check from his employer for $15,000 made out to The Committee for Continuous Excellence, an organization you started to help out with all the incidental costs in running for office and to highlight the ethics issues that matter to you. You had to mortgage your home for the last campaign.

Thank him for the check. Elections are a broken system you'll try to fix as a legislator.
Politely decline. You can't be bought, not even by an old friend.
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Question #7

During a break from session, an up and coming developer, Lou, seeks to have you become a political consultant for his company, Big Stacks Inc. He has dreams of opening a quaint little casino on the edge of town, and you agree that it could be a boon to the local economy. In addition to matters before the local authorities, Big Stacks Inc. happens to be interested in some bills in the state legislature. But Lou is only asking you to talk to local officials.

Take the job. The extra money helps, and it will help the people in your district.
Refuse the offer. You go to church instead.
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Question #8

Maria, another high school classmate, runs a construction business in your hometown. She sends you an email, "Hey, could you do me a favor and put in a good word for me with the town development director for that library renovation contract?" Maria wants you to meet with the town development director and community groups to highlight the qualifications of her company. Maria offers pay you for your troubles. It just so happens that you are registered as a lobbyist too!

Accept the payment and fly down. Your legislative salary isn't enough to pay the mortgage from your campaign.
Apologize and refer Maria to others. You're a sitting legislator, not a lobbyist.
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Question #9

You are nearing the end of your term in Tallahassee! Loads of offers come your way because of your superb work in getting parties to work together. One that you're excited about is to work for a lobbying firm representing garden hose distributors in Florida. They want to hire you to advance their cause with the State Department of Economic Opportunity, an agency you know quite well because you were on the House Economic Affairs Committee.

Accept the offer. It's another great chance to do good work in Tallahassee.
Decline, it seems dirty to start lobbying Tallahassee so soon after you left.
Get your results!

Find out why Florida got a C- for corruption risk, by checking out the State Integrity Investigation.

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