Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What A Joke

    All the backslapping and blather about the gift ban (see below), yet we get this today:
    A Senate investigation has concluded that four state lawmakers broke no laws when they took a $46,000 trip to Canada this summer on a gambling company's tab.
    "Lawmakers' Canada Trip Was Legal, Probe Finds". You see,
    the Senate's top lawyer found that the four lawmakers -- Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton; Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville; Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole; and Rep. Frank Farkas, R-St. Petersburg -- did not violate any gift laws by going on the trip. The junket included a trip to Canada, a visit to Niagara Falls, golf on a private course and tours of two casinos.
    Here's how they got away with it:
    Magna, however, reported the $48,180 payment as an "in-kind" contribution to the Republican Party of Florida. In-kind contributions usually refer to goods and services that a contributor gives to a candidate or party, such as office rent, travel expenses or food.

    The lawmakers involved in the trip insisted it was largely meant to serve as a fundraiser for the GOP, even though the party had not arranged it and a party spokeswoman later said the trip should not have been reported as a contribution. Gov. Jeb Bush also called the trip "inappropriate."

    In addition, in a 27-page report detailing the trip, top Senate lawyer Stephen Kahn found that much of the discussion between Magna and the lawmakers focused on gambling issues.

    Those conversations included how much lawmakers should tax slot machines in Florida, one of the key issues that remained unresolved at the time.
    "Lawmakers cleared in free Canada trip". By the way, the "not a gift" stuff was on the two-night trip for four was as follows:
    $35,500 on a charter jet, $3,300 on food, $4,280 for limousines and van transportation and $1,600 in golfing greens fees.
    "Lawmakers' lavish jaunt was no crime". For food alone, that comes out to a mere $825 dollars per GOoPer for the two night trip (presumably they had their significant others with them, but who knows?)

    See also "Senators off hook for excursion". A similar issue at the local level: "Draw line between trade and junkets".

    More information, analysis and a discussion of the issue at FLA Politics.

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