PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The man who wants to be Palm Beach County's state attorney is under investigation tonight.
As reported on Tuesday, the state ethics commission is now investigating whether Dave Aronberg played dirty tricks before he entered the race.
"The complaint is now sufficient for investigation," a memo from a state ethics investigator said.
The complaint to the commission alleges that early this year, Dave Aronberg told a political ally to pay actors to fake anger.
The "anger" was at then-sitting state attorney Michael McAuliffe, whom Aronberg wanted to drop the race.
"I've had others against me already. They've all been dismissed, and this will be dismissed too," said Aronberg.
The complaint was filed in July by a computer tech, Shawn Hanlon, 29, of Palm Beach Gardens.
On October 16, it moved to the investigation phase.
Hanlon didn't want to be interviewed, but he wrote in his complaint, "Palm Beach County is trying to restore the public's trust after years of public corruption scandals. Mr. Aronberg's actions raise concern about whether he'll just add to the corruption problem instead of fighting to clean it up."
Even though Hanlon insists he made the complaint on his own, Aronberg says there's no way someone who wasn't a political pro could have written something so precise.
"My opponents want a politically timed, October surprise, so you have these complaints out there," said Aronberg. "It's sad that's what politics has become."
Aronberg's Republican opponent, Dina Keever, says no one in her campaign put words in Hanlon's mouth.
But we asked whether it is possible that someone in the Republican Party helped orchestrate the complaint.
"I'm sure it's possible," said Keever. "But I've never met the person who filed the complaints."
Keever says that Aronberg is trying to distract attention from the real issue. That he's under investigation for doing political work while being paid by the attorney general to root out pill mills.
"He continues to say that he wants to rise above the negativity. Well you can't rise above the negativity if you've created it," said Keever.
The third candidate in the race, Robert Gershman, said he hopes that the complaint is settled by November 6.
"I want the voters to know what is going on with him," said Gershman.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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