Tallahassee Reports has learned that City of Tallahassee Mayor-Elect Andrew Gillum has served on the board of a national organization for the last three years, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), that supports an independent ethics board for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Why is this important?
At the City Commission meeting on September 3, 2014, Mayor-Elect Gillum made comments that indicated he would not support a local ballot initiative for an independent ethics officer and ethics board for the City of Tallahassee.
At the meeting, Gillum said some people in this community are after “a gold standard of reform that frankly may not be in the best interest of the community.”
In addition, Gillum spoke about how the recent elections were a signal that the citizens were happy with the ethics of the city.
In contrast, CREW has been a supporter of an independent ethics board at the Congressional level while Commissioner Gillum served on their board.
In fact, CREW sent a letter to US House leadership on September 4, 2014 asking that the US House continue their Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The letter said in part:
We are writing to urge you to publicly and expeditiously announce your intent to continue the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for the 114th Congress.
What is the OCE?
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is an independent, non-partisan entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staff of the United States House of Representatives and, when appropriate, referring matters to the House Committee on Ethics.
The OCE is governed by an eight-person Board of Directors, Members of the OCE Board are private citizens and cannot serve as members of Congress or work for the federal government.
Ironically, one of the groups supporting CREW;s efforts with regard to the OCE are the League of Women Voters. The League of Women Voters are also part of the local group, Citizens for Ethics Reform, which is pushing for a local independent ethics officer for the City of Tallahassee.
According to forms filed with the IRS and reviewed by Tallahassee Reports, Mayor-Elect Andrew Gillum has served on the CREW Board of Directors in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Tallahassee Reports has not been able to confirm Gillum’s membership on the board for 2014.
Gillum’s membership on the Crew board is not mentioned in his lengthy bio on the City of Tallahassee website.
Tallahassee Reports has reached out to Commissioner Gillum for a comment and will continue to investigate CREW’s activities.