CFO candidate Ausley slams opponent Atwater for failure to audit lobbyistsby Dara Kam | September 27th, 2010
The Senate President is a powerful man, but who knew he had control over items as far-reaching as lobbyists’ earnings and courthouse buildings?
Former state Rep. Loranne Ausley, apparently.
In her continuing strategy to defeat outgoing Senate President Jeff Atwater, Ausley, a Democrat, has accused him of failing to rein in spending on a controversial appeal court nicknamed the “Taj Mahal” nearing completion in Tallahassee and a private prison that cost dozens of corrections workers their jobs.
In her latest attack, Ausley bashes Atwater for failing to audit lobbyists’ compensation reports, something that lawmakers have been required to do for years but have failed to follow through on.
The lobbyist gift ban law, passed in 2005, 2005 law, requires lobbyists to file quarterly reports telling how much they earn.
But lawmakers haven’t hired an auditing firm to make sure they’re telling the truth, although the law requires it. Atwater’s staff said he tried to hire an auditor but did not receive enough bids and lawmakers didn’t want to spend big bucks on it in tight budget years.
Ausley held a press conference today in Tallahassee criticizing Atwater for failing to hire the auditors.
“Jeff Atwater is allowing lobbyists to operate on an honor system, despite laws that require regular random audits,” Ausley said in a press release. “It’s outrageous, and yet another example a broken system in Tallahassee that allows for lavish spending on earmarks and gives a free pass to lobbyists. It has to stop.”
Atwater’s campaign is getting fed up with Ausley’s attacks.
“Today’s publicity stunt by Loranne Ausley is the best example yet that she is completely out of touch with Florida’s economic reality. She is running away from her own record of raising taxes and supporting more spending. Instead of telling Floridians what she’ll do as CFO, she’s distorting Jeff Atwater’s record and running a campaign from the gutter,” his spokesman Brian Hughes said in an e-mail.