Friday, July 9, 2010

Under fire for BP association, Nan Rich comes to Dan Gelber's defense

Posted By on Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 10:49 AM

click to enlarge Nan Rich

Last week a hot story on Florida political blogs was the issue of Democratic Attorney General candidate Dan Gelber and his resignation from his place of employment, Akerman Senterfitt, after the law firm took on disgraced oil giant BP as a client.

Gelber's Democratic opponent, fellow state Senator Dave Aronberg, issued a press release a week ago Monday calling on Gelber to resign because of the association with the company that the next Attorney General could very well end up in litigation with.

Gelber angrily responded that the Aronberg statement was a shameless political stunt, because he said in fact he  had resigned days earlier.  That led to a back and forth about when Gelber had actually announced his resignation, since he had told a business journal in mid June that it was a "non-issue."

Aronberg's team disputed that they knew when Gelber had quit, and in fact Gelber's e-mail saying when he would do so would be in "early July."

In any event, South Florida Democrat Nan Rich is now coming out and endorsing Gelber, after saying that she preferred to stay out of the race until Democrats chose a candidate on August 24.  Rich says Team Aronberg's attacks on the Gelber camp represents the "politics as usual"campaign rhetoric that she wishes would just go away:

“As the incoming Democratic Leader, I had initially resisted endorsing either candidate in the AG race since both are my Senate colleagues. However, recent events have changed my mind. I think people are tired of politics as usual. Politicizing the tragic oil spill is politics as usual. Dan Gelber stands above that. When I heard that Dan Gelber had left his law firm within weeks after it accepted representation of BP, I was not surprised. Though few public officials (and in this case, one with a young family) would walk away from their job and income on principle, Dan is no ordinary public servant. He has always led by example, and shown the courage of his convictions even when the choices were difficult. For these reasons, I am endorsing Dan Gelber for Attorney General. Of all five candidates running for this post, he clearly has the deepest credentials and the personal integrity to be Florida's top lawyer."

Rich does make a salient point.  Gelber made a reported $225,000 a year at his law firm, and now he won't be bringing in any more income for awhile.  When asked about that last week, he said all he cared about was becoming the next Attorney General in Florida.

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