An ethics complaint against Gainesville City Commissioner Harvey Ward was filed on January 27 with the Florida Commission on Ethics, and the same affidavit was hand-delivered to State Attorney Bill Cervone’s office today. The complaint alleges that Ward posted a campaign-related video on his personal and City Commission Facebook pages. During the video, Ward says he is at City Hall, and the video concludes with a campaign disclaimer.
The complaint asserts that the video was filmed in Ward’s Commission office at City Hall. Since the video solicits campaign support and the Facebook posts contain a link to make donations to Ward’s campaign, the complaint alleges that this is a criminal violation of §106.15 (4), Florida Statutes. That statute makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to directly or indirectly solicit political contributions in a building owned by a governmental entity.
The complaint goes on to allege that Ward may have also violated §106.15 (3) (using the services of a government employee during working hours to further a candidacy) and §112.313 (6) (misuse of public position) in filming the campaign video at City Hall.