A Florida attorney general's opinion in 1978 indicates that Clay
County Clerk John Keene should not have used public money to pay
a substantial portion of a $60,000 legal bill he ran up after he
was accused of ethics violation.
Most of the legal bill -- $42,000 -- was incurred when Keene
tried to recoup $5,900 he spent defending himself in front of
the Florida Ethics Commission. The 1978 opinion says the Florida
Legislature never intended public officials to be reimbursed for
pursuing their own legal actions before the commission.
While the Attorney General's Office has not researched the
specifics in Keene's case, the 1978 …