Florida ethics panel OKs $5K deal with ex-candidate Andrew Gillum

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Ethics Commission on Friday accepted a settlement fining former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum $5,000 for a trip he took to New York.

The panel also voted 5-2 to drop four other charges against Gillum, including his acceptance of a ticket to the Broadway hit "Hamilton," news outlets reported. The fine involves a boat trip Gillum took around the Statue of Liberty that he failed to report as a gift.

Gillum's attorney Barry Richard said the former Tallahassee mayor took the trip with a longtime friend but did not realize then that he was a registered lobbyist. Gillum now understands he should have reported it, Richard said.

Gillum narrowly lost last year's governor's race to Republican Ron DeSantis.

Separately, the FBI recently opened an investigation into Gillum's campaign finances.

At a meeting of Florida Democrats in Orlando, Gillum told supporters he had no idea "where the inquiry is going" and said he was proud of the campaign. Gillum has a goal of registering 1 million voters through a political action group named after his 2018 campaign slogan, Bring it Home.

"While we will be compliant through whatever inquiries they may have, we are not going to be distracted," Gillum said. "We have a job to do."

Later, talking to reporters, Gillum said news of the investigation wasn't detracting from fundraising for the voter registration efforts.

"We followed the law," Gillum said.