It was reported yesterday that George LeMieux will likely seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida. This one is a no brainer. Mr. LeMieux was appointed by then Governor Charlie Christ and in my opinion is everything that the Tea Party is fighting against. The following is what I turned up in just a few minutes of investigation.
LeMieux was an attorney at Gunster Yoakley & Stewart & GOP consultant from Florida. He was called “the maestro” of Crist’s successful campaign for governor in 2006. Previously he was Chief of Staff to Charlie Crist, an appointed position. LeMieux is a self-described “Charlie Crist Republican” and NEVER ran for public office.
Now this concerns me quite a bit:
Sen. LeMieux has been ducking questions about a Florida Bar complaint filed against him over his role in negotiations between the Florida Department of Transportation and Florida East Coast, which owns the rail corridor that the state wants for passenger rail.
The accusation: LeMieux, as a private attorney with Gunster Yoakley, represented conflicting clients –the state and FEC. The company was listed as a Gunster client (as well as FEC’s development arm) on the firm’s official website as late as last August 2009. Since 2007, Gunster has earned $621,857.95 from taxpayers on the contract, according to FDOT.
LeMieux wouldn’t talk about the complaint. His office barely would, save to say it’s “meritless.” Gunster wouldn’t comment, either. It would only provide an official who spoke on background to say Gunster stopped representing the FEC in 2005 – so no conflict existed. Both said that they didn’t want to break attorney-client privilege by publicly discussing client business. Another reason for the silence to the press: Florida bar rules prohibit people from discussing bar complaints. Certainly a good point.
Except for one thing. It’s false.
Asked if a so-called “respondent” to an ethics complaint could comment in the media about the case, Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker said “sure… There’s a good reason they wouldn’t defend themselves in the media. But they’re not prohibited.”
Also, the section of Bar rules [3-7.1(a)] that LeMieux’s office cited as reason for its can’t-comment stance only says that he or others would only be prohibited from speaking about the case if ordered by a judge or a referee. But the case hadn’t even reached that stage of the process.
So either LeMieux & Gunster had their people lie. Or they just don’t know the rules of the bar – strange
considering that LeMieux is a top-notch lawyer who earned about $1.65 million from the firm before his former boss, Gov. Charlie Crist, tapped him to become a U.S. Sen. fill-in when Martinez quit. (LeMieux also took along an extra $11k from taxpayers in unpaid leave). LeMieux was worth every penny to Gunster. As the chief of staff for Crist, he helped hire and supervise every top state official who would or could ink big contracts with Gunster on behalf of the state. Eleven days before LeMieux returned to work at his old firm, Gunster, it won a no-bid contract with the FL Department of Transportation to work on the FEC rail corridor. Now, as senator, LeMieux is heavily involved in trying to steer federal money to FL for more rail projects –which could earn his twice-former firm of Gunster even more money.
I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of garbage that I am trying to remove from Washington D.C. The last thing we need is another Republican committed to bringing home the bacon!
Less government, more Liberty!