McCollum's role in investment oversight draws questions

Kathy Woods Sep. 29, 2009, 6:42pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal newsline)-Florida Attorney General Bill McColllum pulling double duty as Florida's attorney general and he is on the board as an investment fund trustee. Is that OK or a conflict of interest, some are asking.

He is one of three that sit on the board the other two happen to be Gov. Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. All three are the state's top political leaders.

Many other states have between seven and eleven board members dealing with their public investment companies. The SBA surveyed 15 other investment funds and found no attorneys general or governors on their boards.

John Boatright, a professor of business ethics at Loyola University Chicago says, "How can an attorney general head an investigation that might include the trustees? That creates an obvious conflict of interest."

In 1998, Florida's Constitution Revision Commission decided to combine the office of the comptroller and treasurer into the office of Chief Financial Officer, which reduced the board to two members, so the state added the attorney general and voters agreed.

Spokeswoman for McCollum said, "Having the state's highest elected officials in positions of authority over these agencies provides for good responsibility and accountability to the people of Florida."

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