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State party chairmen flame war over Haridop fund raising

by Dara Kam | February 15th, 2011

Senate President Mike Haridopolos hasn’t yet officially said whether he will abstain from fundraising for his U.S. Senate campaign during the legislature’s upcoming 60-day session that begins on March 8.

This week, Haridopolos, a Merritt Island Republican who frequently speaks of the classes he teaches University of Florida students in the Capitol, said to ask his Democratic opponent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson whether he would forego fundraising while the Senate’s in session.

Politico recently reported that Haridopolos has 15 fundraisers scheduled over the next 30 days to build up his campaign war chest, meaning he intends to keep filling his coffers during session. Florida legislators are barred from collecting campaign contributions for state or legislative races during the 60-day session.

Now, the state party chairmen have waded into the “to fundraise or not to fundraise” sphere.

In a press release, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith demanded that Haridopolos “either step-down as Senate President” or “immediately stop abusing the power afforded to him by not fundraising until the legislative session ends.”

That prompted Republican Party of Florida Chairman Dave Bitner to issue a press release demanding that Nelson do the same.

“Chairman Smith should clarify his statement about fund raising activities during legislative sessions. Did he mean to say that Senator Bill Nelson will not be accepting any money leading up to, or during the federal legislative session? Will he also request that the Senator return any of the approximately 1.2 million dollars he has accepted from lobbyists during the legislative sessions since 2002?” Bitner said in his statement.

That means Nelson would have to quit his job to raise money to keep his job if he agreed to Bitner’s demand.

As constitutional expert Haridopolos no doubt knows, the problem is that Congress is always in session. Their session (which is not a legislative session, but a Congressional one) begins the day members are sworn in and ends after the two-year Congressional terms are up.

“Article 1, section 3 of the Constitution provides a system of staggered six-year terms for senators. At the conclusion of each two-year congress, the terms of only one-third of the 100 senators expire, allowing two-thirds of the senators to continue serving without interruption. As a consequence, the Senate is a continuing body, which allows the Senate to make any changes in its leadership, or to change committee assignments prior to opening day,” the U.S. Senate website reads.

11 Responses to “State party chairmen flame war over Haridop fund raising”

  1. monkeysauce Says:

    I for one am shocked that the Democrat party chair is demanding a Republican stop raising money so that his Democrat Senator can raise money freely. It’s almost like this is some kind of pointless PR gesture or something.

  2. Cynical Idealist Says:

    Bunch of sanctimonious morons. From both parties. Who cares when they raise the money, only the press…..Real people expect politicians to beg for money. It’s kind of like the sun rising in the morning…

  3. Poor Reporting Says:


    Don’t go throwing around the Constitution as if you’re a lawyer, especially if you are using it to insinuate that someone is an idiot for not understanding it, when you clearly fall into that category yourself.

    Congress does have sessions (Two per Congress, defined by each two year cycle), and Congress convenes and adjourns many times throughout the year, as well as taking recesses). Therefore, Nelson could raise money in times when he is not performing his official duties or Congress is not in session.

    You can check the historical record to see when Congress has been in session here: tp://

    Far be it for a reporter to rely on pesky things like facts when attempting to cover for liberal democratic hypocrisy.

  4. Alistair Says:

    Haridopolos: hypocrite in chief.

  5. Carreradoc67 Says:

    What a load of BS! These Democrats keep pushing there double standards on the rest of us and don’t expect us to notice. Smith and Nelson both raised money while in the same position and now they are wagging their fingers at Haridopolos, it’s about time a few Democrats in this state looked in the mirror. These tactics are either desperate or dumb or both.

  6. Dana Says:

    Hey Smith…how about kicking you vp out of the state party…maybe those that are doing burt’s work for him and Bobby illegally is wrong too you think.

    Dude you can’t get out of your own primary let alone run a party.

    Hey kettle what color are you…coral corrupt….all of you need to go packing

    and NO we wont let you be replace by on Wexler or a Klein..Burt..we know you all cover each other’s asses for ears.

    The State’s Attorney needs to put them all away for good!

  7. whasup Says:

    Sounds like Bill Nelson is already desperate to avoid a well-funded challenger.

    But Hairy Dupe-all-us is not his real threat on the Republican side.

  8. Really Says:

    Here is the problem for those that don’t know or understand the rules/laws. Memebers of the legislature are not allowed to fundraise during session. That has always been the case. There is no rule or law that prohibits memebers of congress from doing so because they serve full-time. So why would Senator Nelson be expected to stop raising money when there is no rule/law requiring him to do so??? You people just don’t get it.

  9. papabear Says:

    Carreradoc’s dead-on. Smith stepped in it here. Unless of course him and Bitner are set to release a joint statement urging Bill Nelson to not raise $$$ during the Fl legislative session in the spirit of good government. Come to think of it, why won’t he do that? I think that would look pretty good….

  10. Martin Says:

    Out with do nothing Senate Bill Nelson!

    Vote with him in 2012….he actually went into space and then let the 26,000 space jobs in Florida disappear.

    No fight in the guy. He’s USELESS!

  11. Raleigh Says:

    The tactics used by the democrat liberals is to post continual negative stories about republicans.

    Here it is the middle of February and there has been nothing but negative stuff written.

    Two years of it till the next election! Can you stand it? Will you see beyond it? Will S FL change it’s democrat leanings?

    Food prices skyrocketing. Cost of gas spiraling out of control. A federal government out of touch with the regular man and woman?

    Trouble brewing.

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