Senate GOP leaders say Crist misinformed, hypocrite on leadership vetoby Dara Kam | April 8th, 2010
Senate GOP leaders are still steamed over Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of a campaign finance bill (HB 1207) would have allowed legislative leaders to have fundraising accounts separate from those of the state parties.
Lawmakers outlawed the “leadership funds” more than two decades ago, and Crist in his veto letter wrote that they “allowed legislative leaders to solicit and accept campaign contributions during the legislative session from lobbyists and interest groups outside of the public view.”
An outraged Senate President-Designate Mike Haridopolos blasted Crist yesterday for not reading the bill and today Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, never a big fan of Crist’s to begin with, said the governor’s comments were inaccurate. Lawmakers are prohibited from raising campaign money during the legislative session but the governor is not. And Crist has kept busy fundraising for his U.S. Senate primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio throughout the legislative session that began more than five weeks ago.
“So that seems a bit hypocritical to have some of the complaints that he raised in his veto when I believe the bill, although it may not go as far as some would like, could have provided more transparency on fundraising for House and Senate leaders in the party than we’ve had,” said Alexander, R-Lake Wales. “But he’s the governor and that’s his prerogative.”
Crist on Wednesday defended his veto. “I just think it was the right thing to do,” Crist said. “Given the current climate, dealing with those slush funds, the last thing we should do is put the stamp of approval on them. So we vetoed them.”
Haridopolos got even more riled at Crist’s characterization of the “slush funds” and had this to say on Thursday: “You can’t say you shouldn’t be fundraising during session when you’re doing it yourself and you have the extended veto period. I mean, if you want to go completely clean, that’s great. But you can’t say it’s okay if you do it and it’s not okay if we do it.”