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Former Florida Education Commissioner Settles Indiana Ethics Charges

Tony Bennett
StateImpact Indiana

Former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett will pay a $5,000 fine as part of a proposed deal with Indiana ethics investigators, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Associated Press.

Bennett admits using state resources for his 2012 reelection campaign. But Bennett was also cleared of any ethics violations related to changes he sought to Indiana’s school grading formula in 2012.

Emails showed Bennett, A Republican, asked staff to adjust the state formula after learning an Indiana charter school would receive a lower than expected grade. The school was founded by a prominent political donor who favored Republicans in statewide races.

Bennett quickly resigned as Florida’s schools chief in August last year after the Associated Press published those emails.

The settlement would help provide clearer rules about allowed use of state resources, Bennett said in a statement.

Bennett has started a consulting firm and worked for one of the companies that failed to win a contract for Florida’s next statewide exam.

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