Crist vetoes leadership funds, draws GOP wrathby Dara Kam | April 6th, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a campaign finance measure pushed by GOP lawmakers that would have given powerful legislative leaders the ability to open “leadership funds” to influence elections.
Crist said in his veto letter that the accounts, done away with by lawmakers more than two decades ago, “allowed legislative leaders to solicit and accept campaign contributions during the legislative session from lobbyists and interest groups outside of the public view.”
The bill (HB 1207) also would have shed light on electioneering communications organizations, or ECOs, that advertise against candidates or issues without having to identify who they are.
Crist, who is running for U.S. Senate, liked that part of the proposal and asked lawmakers to send him back a revised version.
Democrats praised Crist’s veto while his partisan colleagues blasted it.
“If Governor Crist was serious about giving the people of Florida real election reform and providing accountability for the campaign activity of leaders in the Legislature and at the state’s political parties, he would have made this the law of our great state,” Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla said in a statement.
“Instead, the veto indicates he may be more interested in protecting the status quo and scoring points in his quest for higher office, than he is in providing the people of Florida real and meaningful election reforms,” Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, said.
But Sen. Dan Gelber lauded Crist’s action.
“It was the right thing to do. Floridians are tired of the shenanigans that are increasingly defining state government. The bill was a step in the wrong direction, and I think Gov. Crist recognized so. We need to put an end to cash register politics, not enable it,” Gelber, D-Miami Beach, said in a statement. Gelber is running statewide for attorney general.