Florida GOP will release all credit card records
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04/23/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

Democratic Party of Florida spokesperson Eric Jotkoff reacts to the state GOP credit card scandal and news that Republican Party of Florida will release all of its American Express statements from the three years Jim Greer was chair.

Over the course of the last several years, we’ve seen Republican politicians like Marco Rubio and Dean Cannon charging literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses to live large on the Republican Party’s American Express cards, and showing the Republican Party has been little more than a slush fund to allow Republican politicians to live large. Over the past several weeks, The Orlando Sentinel, and the St. Pete Times, Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau, and other news outlets have been reporting on the details of this. And each credit card statement that was leaked, it was so explosively shocking.

It started with, actually, disgraced Speaker, now indicted Speaker, Ray Sansom’s credit card statements coming out during the investigation into him last year, before he resigned. And now we see Marco Rubio, we see Dean Cannon, we see Jeff Atwater and others. And that’s why, that’s why this move is good. But what we’ve learned over the course of the past several days is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS, and other federal law-enforcement authorities currently have the Republican Party of Florida, and these stained Republican politicians, under criminal investigation over their spending, and allegations that they didn’t pay taxes on the money that they were supposed to. So, while it’s nice to see that the Republican Party is finally heeding the calls of the Florida Democratic Party—when we demanded over a year ago that they release their AmEx bills—unfortunately, they’re just simply doing this because they know that all this is going to come out in the criminal investigations anyway.

Q. The Republican Party of Florida had a meeting today, and they said they will release all American Express statements during the three years that Jim Greer led the party. How do you think that will play out in the elections?

Well, I think that what we’ve seen is that these same Republican politicians who have led our state down the wrong path, while they’ve been excessively spending on these slush funds, to live large, they’ve been running our state government the same way—whether it be the slush funds, whether it be excessive spending, whether it be not using the funds for appropriate stuff. And it’s wrong, and that’s why we are, Florida Democrats, are standing up to change the way Tallahassee works, to end business as usual. And what we see is that Marco Rubio spent over a hundred thousand dollars on the Republican Party AmEx card, including for that infamous $134 haircut, including to fix his family’s minivan, and a lot of other stuff.

We’ve seen dozens and dozens of these politicians; yesterday, The Associated Press reported that twenty-seven Republicans had these cards. And many of them had ’em at the same time Charlie Crist was governor. As governor, he was head of the Republican Party; it was his hand-picked chairman who signed off on all of this spending. So it’s clear that both of them are to blame.

In the governor’s race, we see Attorney General Bill McCollum, who has over the course of the past year continued to refuse to investigate, dragged his heels on it, worked to block investigations into the Republican Party, and actively said that they should police themselves. And that’s wrong. He’s helped cover it up, and he’s been involved in the backroom deals that led to these federal criminal investigations. And so it’s clear that while the politics are less important than the actual, than cleaning up this Republican corruption that’s plagued Florida, it’s clear that all of these guys are to blame—the Republican politicians who have run our state down the wrong path over the course of the past several years.

More WMNF coverage:

Gelber responds to Sink's call for independent RPOF investigation

GOP House candidate says Sansom has to go

Indictments pile up against Sansom; House colleagues react

Grand jury indicts Sansom, college resident

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