Practice Areas

Election Laws: Inquiries And Violations

Ethics Complaints Involving Candidates and Public Officials

Some people think that all is fair in running for public office. Some people are seduced by money and power once they are elected. But very often political candidates, appointees and elected officials run afoul of complex campaign and ethics laws without any malice or criminal intent.

The criminal defense attorneys at Dutko & Kroll, P.A. have experience defending office seekers and office holders against alleged violations of state and federal election laws and ethics regulations. If you have been questioned, arrested or indicted in South Florida, contact us today for effective representation.

Dealing With the Florida Election Commission

The Florida Election Commission (FEC) has jurisdiction over political candidates, political organizations and elections. Complaints are investigated by the FEC for possible sanctions and can result in criminal charges. We counsel and represent candidates and campaign staffers in informal investigations and formal hearings relating to the following.

  • Fundraising and campaining
  • Campaign finance and disclosure
  • Misappropriation or misuse of campaign funds
  • Election fraud, including vote buying, tampering with ballots, etc.

Fort Lauderdale's Experienced Ethics Complaint Defense Attorneys

The Florida Commission on Ethics (FCE) has jurisdiction over the conduct of elected officials, political appointees, and administrators in local and state offices. Our attorneys have been called upon to defend public officials accused of crimes and misconduct after they have attained office, including the following:

  • Influence peddling, such as bribes and kickbacks
  • Improper or undisclosed gifts from constituents
  • Embezzlement of public funds
  • Honest services fraud (acting in the self-interest counter to the public good)
  • Undisclosed conflicts of interest

If the complaint goes to a formal trial or administrative hearing, the FEC or the FCE has the authority to remove the person from office, impose monetary sanctions, or publicly censure or reprimand the official. If state or federal prosecutors bring an indictment, the official could face criminal penalties and civil lawsuits.

We can sometimes intervene in the early stages of election or ethics complaints and resolve conflicts or discrepancies to the satisfaction of commission investigators and prosecutors, avoiding a public spectacle and the adverse consequences.

Practice Areas In Brief:

  • White collar crimes — We provide a sophisticated defense for fraud and financial crimes, including mortgage fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud and embezzlement.
  • RICO Act — We defend people charged with criminal conspiracy and racketeering crimes connected to organized crime such as money laundering, bribery, extortion or obstruction of justice.
  • Violent crimes and major felonies — Our lawyers have tried cases of capital offenses, murder and manslaughter, aggravated assault, sex offenses and other felony crimes punishable by long prison sentences.
  • Other misdemeanor and felony crimes — We provide a vigorous defense no matter what the charges, including DUI, drug possession, theft, domestic violence or other offenses.
  • Administrative law and professional license defense — We are among the few firms that represent professionals on criminal charges and in disciplinary or licensing board proceedings.
  • Election law violations and ethics complaints — We represent political candidates and elected officials accused of campaign law violations, bribery, misuse of funds and other misconduct.
  • Appeals and post-conviction relief — Our lawyers can appeal your conviction or overly harsh sentence. We have handled precedent-setting cases.

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