Former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion has agreed to enter a guilty plea in the federal corruption case against him.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Eggelletion's former colleague, Commissioner John Rodstrom. "I think it's just a tragedy," he said of Eggelletion's fall. "It's bad for everybody -- bad for anyone in public office who just wants to do their job. It's a tragedy for Joe and for his family. I feel bad for his wife; she's a nice lady and she doesn't deserve this."
Rodstrom has been the board's loudest voice for ethical reform, but he's quick to point out that Eggelletion's crimes were not merely ethical -- they were illegal under Florida law that predates the recent wave of reform. "You can have all the ethics rules in the world, but the penalties are so weak that it won't change behavior," he said. Rather, the difference is enforcing existing laws. "What will change behavior are high-profile cases like this that let us know that the feds are watching, that the state is watching."
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More from Rodstrom, including his irritation about Crist's sudden interest in corruption, after the jump.
I asked Rodstrom whether he thought Crist's statewide grand jury would have any effect on discouraging corruption. He called that a "ridiculous" and "transparent" exercise in party politics, then illustrated his point with the help of commissioners to the north.
"Where was [Crist] when [former Palm Beach County Commissioner] Mary McCarty was convicted?" Rodstrom fumed. "You had three commissioners in that county go to prison -- and all of them are Republican."
But now that the Broward Democrats have been hit with scandal, Crist suddenly wants a statewide investigation. "Say what you want about Jeb Bush; he at least had a political philosophy, and he's true to that," Rodstrom said. "This guy [Crist] puts his finger in the air, sees where the wind blows, then makes his decision."