Florida Commission on Ethics Finds Probable Cause Related to Nikki Fried Complaint


The Florida Commission on Ethics announced yesterday it found probable cause that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) violated state law when she failed to disclose more than $350,000 in lobbying income when she ran for her current post.

“The Commission considered a complaint filed against Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole Heather Fried,” the commission said in a press release. “Probable cause was found on allegations she violated Florida’s Constitution and financial disclosure law by failing to accurately disclose income on her 2017 and 2018 Form 6 disclosure filings.”

Before Fried was agriculture commissioner, she worked as a medical marijuana lobbyist. Fried had to amend her 2018 financial disclosures to reflect the earnings from Igniting Florida, which was listed as a consulting business with Fried as the sole owner.

Fried also allegedly overlooked nearly $300,000 in earnings in 2018 when she filed her first amendment to the 2018 forms in early 2020.


The commission dismissed three charges, but found probable cause for two of them. The Fried campaign said they would be asking an administrative law judge to dismiss the charges.

Fried’s campaign responded by saying the charges are politically motivated.

“Consistent with the administration’s regular practice of feeding false information to its subordinate agencies, Commissioner Fried is being attacked for following the law and showing transparency, exactly the opposite of what Republican Ron DeSantis and his cohorts do every day,” said Drew Godinich from Fried’s gubernatorial campaign. “The Ethics Commission should denounce this politically inspired nuisance complaint and hold this DeSantis operative accountable for misleading the public.”

The ethics complaint was filed by Evan Power, chair of the Leon County Republican Party, which Godinich also said was “a false and fraudulent ethics complaint against Commissioner Fried.”

Power responded by praising the commission’s announcement.

“I commend the Florida Commission on ethics for taking the first step in holding Nikki Fried accountable for failing to be transparent with the taxpayers of Florida. Most Floridians rightly have a hard time understanding how one could forget a quarter of a million dollars in income. Sadly, Nikki Fried and her press team have decided to attack Governor DeSantis, the Commission on Ethics, and myself rather than accept responsibility. Unfortunately, this seems par for the course for our Agriculture Commissioner who has used her position to wrongly attack the Governor while ignoring the very constituents she is supposed to be working for in Florida’s agriculture industry.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) Press Secretary Christina Pushaw chimed in and pushed back against the statements from Godinich claiming the commission and the DeSantis administration were feeding “false information.”

“It is therefore puzzling that Fried’s spokesperson issued a statement dismissing the bipartisan commission’s finding of probable cause as ‘false information,’ ‘politically inspired,’ and a ‘nuisance’ not warranting further investigation,” Pushaw said. “The Fried campaign did not specify what, exactly, they considered to be ‘false information.’ Fried’s campaign further alleged that the DeSantis administration has a ‘regular practice of feeding false information to its subordinate agencies.’ Fried’s spokesman has offered no examples or evidence of this serious, baseless, and dishonest allegation. Making such an inflammatory accusation without providing any supporting facts is unprofessional and unethical.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Nikki Fried” by Monroe County BOCC.




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