According to the Florida Elections Commission (FEC), on January 12, 2021, a complaint was filed alleging State Representative Randy Fine violated Florida’s election laws. Over a year and a half later, he has been found guilty of violating Florida Statues 106.19(1)(a) for accepting illegal campaign contributions that exceed the legal limits. This charge is a 1st degree misdemeanor, one step away from a felony charge.
According to the order from the FEC, Randy Fine accepted illegal contributions from Publix during his 2020 reelection campaign. He did not bother to return the illegal contributions until after the election was over. According to his own reports, Fine spent an astounding $335,709.77 as an incumbent to retain his seat in the Florida House of Representatives which pays just over $29,000 salary annually. In contrast, neighboring Representative Tyler Sirois and Thad Altman spent a total of $227,000 combined.
In defense of the crime, Representative Fine hired high-powered attorney Richard Coates of Tallahassee. Richard has been named twice to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite, and called “one of Florida’s top elections law experts” by the Palm Beach Post. He was also a financial supporter of Governor Ron DeSantis’s opponent for Florida Governor, Adam Putnam.
Coates negotiated an agreement with the FEC on Fine’s behalf which resulted in Fine being able to pay a civil penalty fine of $400. Without the agreement, the FEC could have further pursued a harsher penalty which includes possible jail time. Fine did not bother to even show up to the hearing earlier this month, which was noted by the Commission.