CFO candidate Ring tagged for efforts to be both a lobbyist and senator

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ political committee is hitting his opponent Jeremy Ring for lobbying state universities while serving as a state senator.

Background

In 2013, Ring was working for a venture capital firm hoping to do business with state universities. Prior to the 2013 legislative session, then-Senator Ring met with representatives from various state universities. It was after those meetings occurred that Ring asked the Florida Ethics Commission if he was allowed to solicit business from universities. Since Florida universities are considered state agencies, the Ethics Commission issued an opinion stating he was forbidden from lobbying a state agency while serving in the legislature. As a state senator, Ring could control spending decisions for each state university. The Ethics Commission called it a potential conflict of interest, though he was allowed to lobby community colleges and local school districts.

Commercial

Patronis’ committee, Treasure Florida has released a new commercial critical of Ring’s efforts to lobby state universities. A narrator says: “Jeremy Ring. Sometimes a politician. Sometimes a lobbyist. At times, both.”

Recent polls show Patronis leading Ring in the race for CFO. Patronis has also raised more money. In August, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement discovered that a consultant hired by Ring had illegally obtained Patronis’ driving records. FDLE said the consultant posed as Patronis in order to obtain the information, though he was not charged with a crime.