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Dan Gelber's BP problem

Fallingcocofin Last night, state Sen. Dan Gelber was in West Palm Beach talking to local Democrats about his campaign for Florida Attorney General.

He tossed the usual red meat to the crowd warning that Florida has been "hijacked by right wing elements" and "right wing zealots."

Gelber said he should be attorney general because he has the "experience and the gumption to get the job done."

Apparently that experience and gumption failed him when his law firm - Akerman Senterfitt - took on BP as a client. Not bad for the firm - there are gazillions to be made - but not good politically.

At first, Gelber said he was sticking with the firm telling the Daily Business Review on June 15, that it was a "non-issue."

Gelber went on to explain:  “Akerman has over 400 lawyers and handles tens of thousands of cases. I am of counsel to the firm and not a partner. I know nothing about the case, nor will I ever. I have publicly demanded that BP be held accountable for their gross negligence and for the pain they have inflicted on our state’s economy and environment, and will continue to do so aggressively.”

Yesterday, Gelber announced that he had resigned from the firm days ago. If true it is certainly odd that Gelber waited to tell the public until after his Democratic rival, David Aronberg, released a statement demanding that Gelber resign.

Crowley Political Report received this statement from Aronberg Monday evening:

"As a candidate for attorney general, it is an inherent problem when your own law firm is on other side of one of the most important pending lawsuits in Florida's history. . .You don't have to be a lawyer to know that you can't profit from the polluter and then represent those who have been injured by that same polluter."

Gelber told reporters Aronberg was pulling a "political stunt."

No question Aronberg intended to make Gelber squirm. But it is pretty clear after Gelber's "non-issue" statement to the Daily Business Review something like politics must have changed Gelber's mind.



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I can't get past their pay wall...but thanks for the tip.


Another legislator is leaving Akerman too. Daily Business Review has the latest here:


maybe Aronburg needs to stop diddling co-eds and run a real campaign not flash in the pan stunts

Peter Schorsch

The policial precendent that may have served as warning to @dangelber was Holder's decision to recuse in USB case.


While not unethical that Gelber was only an employee and the firm accepted BP as a client, my concern is that Gelber tried to defend his continued employment while on the campaign trail. Apparently, he did not recognize the strong appearance of impropriety and that he would be indirectly profiting from BP and Florida's disaster.
It was not until later, after public revelations and criticisms came out that Gelber put his political interests over his belief that there was no conflict.

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