Several months after being investigated for improper campaign finance reporting, state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Lake Mary, has been cleared by the Florida Ethics Commission.
The complaint alleged Plakon hid money and did not make proper financial disclosures, accusing him of trying to hide real estate transactions inside his business Nationwide Publishing.
“I am pleased that the Florida Commission on Ethics quickly dismissed this frivolous and ridiculous claim from a Washington, DC-based George Soros affiliated group. Of course, my opponent claims to know nothing about this and denies coordinating this disgusting attack on my character, even though the complaint was filed immediately after she filed to run,” Plakon told Florida Daily.
The group that filed the ethics claim against Plakon was Campaign for Accountability which is based out of Washington D.C.
Plakon is facing a rematch with Attorney Tracey Kagan in November. Back in 2018, Plakon won by just two percent in what is widely considered a safe Republican district. Kagan denies knowing anything about the Campaign for Accountability but Plakon is clearly putting the blame on her shoulders.
“Instead of focusing on the issues important to Seminole County voters, my opponent and her out of state backers seem to be more interested in personal attacks. I believe that Seminole County voters will reject her brand of dishonest politics and I look forward to continuing to represent my community in Tallahassee this session and focusing on the issues and values that matter most to our community,” Plakon said.
Florida Daily reached out to Kagan for her take on Plakon’s accusations that she was behind the complaint.
“I’m appalled and I’m highly insulted. I don’t know anyone in Washington DC. I’ve never contacted anyone in Washington DC. My campaign is grassroots funded,” she told Florida Daily. “I am a single mom with three daughters, a small business owner and…my sole goal is to get to Tallahassee to protect our children, our environment and public education.”
The essence of the complaint was that since Nationwide Publishing made real estate transactions, and Plakon owns that company, he should have been disclosing those transactions as personal income and more specific about his holdings. The Ethics Commission found there was no legal sufficiency for that complaint and dismissed it out of hand without the need for further hearings.
Plakon said he saw this coming. He told Florida Daily, that when he ran for office in 2014, he used the top Democratic lawyer in the state when it came to financial disclosure. This attorney was his first witness before the Ethics Commission as Plakon defended himself.
With the legislative session in full swing, Plakon goes back to work in Tallahassee with a clear eye on his looming November rematch with Kagan. Democrats believe there has been a significant change in the demographics of Seminole County and 2020 makes their best chance to take out a sitting House member.
The party has had some success in Seminole County. In 2012, they were able to knock off Republican state Rep. Chris Dorworth, who was set to become speaker down the road, after a swirl of allegations against him. Attorney Mike Clelland won that race in a recount. In 2018, Democrats were able to wrest a seat away from Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes thanks to a strong campaign from Joy Goff-Marcil, in a district covering the southern part of Seminole County and the northern part of Orange County. With the Democrats coming after him in November, Plakon said he is more focused on winning than ever.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.