Lawmakers must follow the law like everyone else. Just because you vote against a law doesn’t mean you get some personal exemption from having to comply with it. As a recent example, Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who was one of only three senators to vote against the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, is learning this lesson the hard way while under investigation for serious violations.
By contrast, you would think that a lawmaker who votes in favor of a law would not be quick to violate it. Aside from looking bad, wouldn’t that go against what the lawmaker supposedly stands for and worked so hard to achieve? The best person to answer that question right now might be Florida State Rep. Randy Fine, who has cemented his legacy as yet another off-the-rails Republican disgrace.
Fine is currently under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for violating Combating Public Disorder, the state’s new anti-cyberbullying law, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in April. The law’s “cyberintimidation” provision makes it illegal to “electronically publish” someone’s “personal identification information” (such as a name or phone number) to “incite violence or commit a crime against the person” or “threaten or harass the person, placing such person in reasonable fear of bodily harm.”
Although this law has only been on the books for a matter of months, Fine has managed to violate it repeatedly and flagrantly. The kicker is that Fine not only voted in favor of the law, but he proudly cosponsored it. A report on Friday by The Daily Beast details the harm that Fine’s violations have caused. The incidents stem from Fine turning his Facebook page into a “ragefest where he posts his enemies’ personal details and provides his followers with a roadmap to channel their hate.”
In one instance, Fine posted a school board member’s cellphone number and instructed anti-maskers to “let her know exactly how you feel,” leading to harassing text messages calling her a “psychotic nazi.” Before long, anti-mask protesters congregated outside the board member’s home, flying a Gadsden flag. One protester coughed in her face while yelling, “Randy Fine says hello!” and, later, the board member was subjected to an investigation for a phony allegation of child abuse.
In another instance, Fine posted a photo of this board member with an Army veteran who has been critical of him, revealing a license plate and house number. It didn’t take long for two Fine supporters to accost the veteran, then put him in the hospital after violently assaulting him.
Not only does Fine’s cyberbullying egregiously violate his own law, but his offending behavior began well before the law that he helped birth. The Daily Beast’s own investigation also casts serious doubt on Fine’s claims of having suffered as the victim of harassment. Is there any evil or hypocrisy left on earth that this Republican Party hasn’t yet explored and mastered?