This time the corruption involves Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando, but the guy in question, who has given testimony under immunity, worked for tons of others, including current Senator Mel Martinez. Yeah, that Mel Martinexz the Bushies loved so much, that Mel Martinez who made his fortune in civil litigation, at the same time they tried to make hay concerning John Edwards' litigation history.
The case is about absentee ballot gathering, a practice that was so rife with dcorruption that the state banned the practice a few years ago. Seems likely that several politicains are going to be named after Ezzie Thomas, the "ballot king's," testimony comes forward.
The investigation began with questions about the 2004 election that kept Buddy Dyer in the Orlando mayor's office, but has since widened with Thomas' testimony to include other politicians.
The allegations center on Thomas, a retired businessman who for years has tried to increase voting in Orlando's black community. Thomas' election work, which often involved helping elderly residents vote by absentee ballot, was at first on a strictly volunteer basis as president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Orange County Voters League.
But in 1998, Thomas began profiting from his expertise at bringing in scores of absentee votes by hiring himself out to political campaigns looking for an edge on Election Day.
He has said he works only for candidates whom he supports. That has mostly been Democrats, but he also has worked for Republicans, including Glenda Hood -- mayor of Orlando at the time but now responsible for ensuring the integrity of Florida elections as Florida secretary of state.
On Friday, Mosley verified that Thomas' statement to prosecutors -- given with the promise of immunity -- concerned ballot-collection work for Martinez when he ran for county chairman in 1998, Hood's 2000 mayoral campaign, Siplin's and Apte's campaigns in 2002, and Dyer's mayoral campaigns in 2003 and 2004.
Equal opportunity corruption on both sides of the aisle, but it is interesting that one of the Republicans Thomas helped is the current person in charge of the vote counting in Florida, Glenda Hood, and the other is the newest Senator there, Mel Martinez. Martinez, at least, is a rising Republican star, if he escapes this with only a tinge of scandal.
Which he likely will. Carl Hiaasen, after all, does not write fiction. Loony corruption is what Florida is all about.