Ethics Complaint Against Moms for Liberty Founder Is Tossed

Michael M. Santiago/Getty
Michael M. Santiago/Getty

A complaint that kept Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich from being confirmed to a Florida ethics post last week was rejected by the state’s ethics commission on Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The man behind the complaint, the political consultant and blogger Robert Burns III, told the Sentinel it was KO’d because the Florida Commission of Ethics can’t investigate one of its own members.

Burns told the Sentinel commission’s director Kerrie Stillman sent him a letter that said Descovich would have to be investigated by the Florida House speaker and Senate president—not the commission itself.

The development is the latest in a dizzying controversy surrounding Descovich, whom Burns accused of working as a lobbyist for Moms for Liberty as she sat on the ethics commission—which is forbidden.

Florida Senate Breaks From Guv—Doesn’t Confirm Moms for Liberty Exec to Ethics Post

Descovich countered that Moms for Liberty isn’t a registered lobbyist in Florida, despite its increasingly influential role in the state’s move to radically change classroom curriculum and enact book bans that target LGBTQ+ material.

Burns said he feels he’s in uncharted territory because a sitting ethics commissioner has never been the subject of an ethics complaint in Florida.

“There’s nothing on any of their websites with instructions, forms, anything,” he told the Sentinel.

Burns’ complaint made waves in the Florida Legislature last week, with members of the Senate citing it as the reason they refused to confirm Descovich as an ethics commissioner after she was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

That was a surprise since the Senate has largely operated at DeSantis’ behest in recent years. The only other time a DeSantis appointee was rejected was in 2020.

Descovich, who already sits on the state ethics board, was appointed by DeSantis to the ethics commission in September, and her term is up in June.

Katie Betta, a spokesperson for the Florida Senate, told The Daily Beast that state law allows Descovich to remain on the commission as she awaits Senate confirmation. A spokesperson for DeSantis told the Sentinel that he’ll re-appoint Descovich as soon as she’s eligible again.

When he refiles his ethics complaint, Burns told the Sentinel, he plans to draft complaints against other Moms for Liberty executives, including co-founder Tiffany Justice. He did not tell the paper his reasoning behind that prospective complaint.

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