TBD | FCHR Bribery (Does the Florida Commission on Human Relations Accept Bribes?)
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QUESTION: DOES THE FLORIDA COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS ACCEPT BRIBES? (SORT OF...)

A Floridian recently asked the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) if it accepted bribes. The state agency declined to say whether it did or didn't.

WHO:The FCHR is a state agency that investigates discrimination (employment, housing, etc.) (see Chapter 760 Florida Statutes). In laymen's terms, it's a little brother to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; a federal agency).
WHAT:§760.06(4) FS grants the FCHR "power" to accept gifts, bequests, and many other things.
Note: Bequest = something valuable given to influence an official outcome (click here)
WHERE:Florida
WHEN:Whenever. According to the FCHR (see below), the investigating agency can accept these items (ie, gifts/bequests/etc.) even from a company/organization that it's actively investigating.
HOW:Gifts can be given to any of the 12 FCHR Commissioners (see §760.03). Gifts can also be given to the Executive Director, FCHR Staff, or the FCHR itself.
WHY:It seems unlawful and unethical for an investigating agency to accept gifts and/or bequests from the people/organizations it's actively investigating (please accord Canon 5D Florida Code of Judicial Conduct). At the very least it's questionable; which is why a Floridian questioned it.

DETAILS

In September 2019, a Floridian asked the FCHR - in an official manner - whether the FCHR could accept gifts/bequests from an organization that it was actively investigating. Roughly 80 days later, the FCHR answered with "an emphatic yes".
Scroll Below to read the pertinent excerpts.
Click Here to read the entire statement.
Download the full, official statement here.

The following year (September 2020), that same Floridian Petitioned the FCHR for another Declaratory Statement. This time, he asked the agency outright: "do you accept bribes?". After 211 days - and appellate court intervention - the FCHR declined to say whether it did or didn't accept bribes. Scroll Below to read the public notice.
Click Here to read the entire statement.
Download the full, official statement here.

Altogether, the FCHR duly stated that it accepts gifts/bequests from organizations that it actively investigates. Later, however, the FCHR hesitated then declined to say whether it accepts bribes.
So, the answer to the question "Does the FCHR Accept Bribes?" is "sort of; they won't say for sure. At least not yet."






2019 | FCHR FINAL ORDER (19-065) | Relevant Excerpts Only

...Under the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, the Commission has the power to accept gifts, bequests, grants, or other payments, public or private, to help finance its activities. Section 760.06(4), Florida Statutes (2019). There are no limitations in the text of the statute, nor is there cabining language in other applicable areas of law suggesting alternative interpretations aside from the plain text...
...There is no applicable case law suggesting that the Commission cannot accept bequests during the investigation of a claim, nor is there any textual support that such a hypothetical scenario would be barred by the governing statute...
...Given that the answer to Petitioner's question of law on whether the Commission can accept gifts during the investigation phase of a claim is such an emphatic yes, there is no doubt to resolve, no controvery to address. Absent such ambiguity, accordinly, the commission must deny the petition for declaratory statement...

...


DONE AND ORDERED this 10 day of December, 2019
FOR THE FLORIDA COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS

Commissioner Tony Jenkins, Panel Chairperson;
Commissioner Mario Garza; and
Commissioner Rebecca Steele




Filed this 10 day of December, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Clerk
Florida Commission on Human Relations
4075 Esplanade Way, Room 110
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 488-7082

Click Here for the entire statement
Download the full, official statement here.






2021 | FCHR PUBLIC NOTICE | 47 FAR 62

Section VII
Notice of Petitions and Dispositions
Regarding Declaratory Statements

DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Commission on Human Relations
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Florida Commission on Human Relations has declined to rule on the petition for declaratory statement filed by Elias Makere on March 31, 2021. The following is a summary of the agency's declination of the petition:
Petitioner did not meet the requirement of alleging facts that show a bona fide, actual, present and practical need for a declaration. Subsection 760.06(4), Fla. Stat., (2020) does not indicate more than one interpretation of the provision in question.
A copy of the Order Declining of the Petition for Declaratory Statement may be obtained by contacting: Florida Commission on Human Relations, c/o Tammy Barton, Clerk of the Commission, 4075 esplanade Way, Suite 110, Tallahassee, FL 32399, (850)907-6788, tammy.barton@fchr.myflorida.com.

Be aware of the FCHR's penchant for accepting gifts/bequests from organizations it actively investigates!

Also, take into consideration the agency's hesitance to state whether these gifts/bequests are outright bribes.

As always: please get the justice you deserve.

Sincerely,



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