Another fine fundraiser biting the dust
"The politically influential Fort Lauderdale law firm that Scott Rothstein created just a few years ago has attempted to oust him amid a criminal investigation into his business dealings, sending shock waves through political campaigns that took fat checks."
The investigation into Rothstein, a major fundraiser for Gov. Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and other major politicians has left candidates in the lurch and the prominent law firm reeling. The firm -- Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler -- was a top sponsor of a Fort Lauderdale golf benefit Friday chaired by former Gov. Jeb Bush."Rothstein, his firm and his wife gave about about $600,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and $200,000 to the state Democratic Party".
Federal authorities on Monday stepped up their criminal investigation into Rothstein, 47, who is suspected of operating a Ponzi scheme by selling hundreds of millions of dollars in fabricated legal settlements to investors.
Sink, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said she was giving back an unspecified amount of donations. Records show she received $2,050."Feds probe prominent Broward attorney Scott Rothstein". See also "Sink’s campaign returning $2,000 in Rothstein-related contribs; no word from Crist camp; Abrams leaving firm" ("Rothstein has been a major Republican contributor and money-raiser who raised big bucks for John McCain’s presidential bid and Gov. Charlie Crist’s 2010 Senate campaign.")
"These are very serious allegations,'' Sink's campaign said.
Rothstein, his wife and employees and relatives of employees of his law firm have contributed $100,550 to Republican Gov. Charlie Crist's Senate campaign since the governor announced in May, according to campaign finance records. Rothstein's law firm is one of Crist's top contributors.
Rothstein said in an interview in August that he got married in a three-day wedding celebration at the former Versace mansion in South Beach in January 2008 with about 400 guests, and that Crist flew in to attend.
This from the desperate dim bulb who wants to be Guv - Billy McCollum,
in attacking Sink over Rothstein's money, McCollum is unwittingly (or wittingly, perhaps?) raising the question: Should McCollum's fellow Republican, Gov. Charlie Crist, return the $100,550 directly contributed by Rothstein and his law partners to Crist's U.S. Senate campaign? Crist allies estimate Rothstein could account for as much as $500,000 to $1 million in contributions to Crist."How McCollum's attack on Sink boomerangs on Crist, RPOF".
Speaking of dim bulbs: "'Surprised' Roger Stone says GOP moneyman Rothstein’s downfall hurts Democrat Sink".
Aaron Deslatte: "Central Florida's two-year fight to roll its commuter-rail plans through Tallahassee may be almost over. Two weeks ago, Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater and other legislators went to Washington to hear that Florida must jump-start the $1.2 billion, 61-mile SunRail project and help out South Florida's Tri-Rail if it hopes to land $2.5 billion in federal funding for a high-speed train between Tampa and Orlando." "Washington's ultimatum on commuter rail puts plans on track".
Rubio moves North
"U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is an unlikely contender in northwest Florida, a strip of the Bible Belt closer to Alabama than his hometown of Miami."
For the young, Cuban-American politician, Panhandle voters could be a tough crowd: They've come across few Hispanic candidates and often view South Florida as a cesspool of incivility and corruption."Marco Rubio warming up Panhandle voters".
But in a Republican primary that's shifted from a cakewalk for Gov. Charlie Crist to a referendum on whether he has sold his Republican soul, many voters in Northwest Florida say they don't care if Rubio speaks Spanish -- as long as he speaks ``true conservative.''
"Private elevator inspectors in Florida are missing violations, and more of the machines are going uninspected each year. ... Florida farmed out the safety inspections to private companies in 2000. In the past three years, the number of elevators left uninspected climbed 79 percent to 5,710 in the 2008-2009 fiscal year." "Report: Fla. elevator inspectors missing problems". See also "Report: Fla. elevator inspectors missing problems".
RPOFer waiting on Saint "Jeb!"
"The single biggest threat to Charlie Crist's political future probably isn't his U.S. Senate primary rival, Marco Rubio."
It's former Gov. Jeb Bush, who could give Rubio an enormous boost if he chose to."Jeb Bush overshadows Charlie Crist in poll".
A new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll underscores how much Bush's shadow still looms over Florida almost three years after him leaving office: Forty-six percent said they would rather have Bush leading Florida today, while 41 percent said Crist.
More striking, 71 percent of Republicans would pick Bush as governor today, while only 22 percent of Republicans said they would pick Crist over Bush. ``Is there a path to victory for Marco Rubio? Yes, but it involves the support of Jeb Bush,'' pollster Tom Eldon said. "Crist may have appointed the last senator, but Bush has it in his hands to appoint the next one.''
Billy can't catch a break
"The state party had been hoping to avoid a primary in the race to fill the seat Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is giving up after one term to run for U.S. Senate." "AP: Dockery to run for Florida governor". See also "State Sen. Paula Dockery to run for governor".
The temerity of these (former) inmates
"Freed inmate wants $1.35M from state for serving 27 years for murder conviction".
Your Chamber of Commerce at work
"Sarah Palin will be the featured speaker for the Daytona Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's 90th annual meeting Feb. 15". "Palin to speak at chamber function".
Florida Independents sliding to the right
"Independent voters are more likely to side with Republicans than with Democrats on issues facing Floridians, according to a poll conducted for The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times."
Whether it's opposing a so-called "public option'' for government-run health insurance, supporting oil drilling or a general feeling that the nation is on the wrong track, independents are proving a key ally for conservatives."Poll: Florida independent voters moving to right".
The more conservative sentiment is a reversal from a year ago, when Herald/Times polls showed that independents leaned more Democratic.
Chief reasons for the public-opinion turnaround, according to poll respondents and pollsters: the rough economy and President Barack Obama's difficulty in quickly living up to his campaign slogan, hope and change.
"Wexler exit might leave seat empty until May".
Enough with the wingnuttery
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "How long will the Legislature refuse to put roughly one-half billion dollars into the Florida economy?"
Last spring, with Florida's unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, the Legislature rejected $444.7 million in federal stimulus money for families suffering from the loss of a job. Republican leaders sided with business groups, which claimed that the money would have meant higher taxes. Now, the unemployment rate averages 11 percent statewide, and is higher in this area. It has topped 15 percent in St. Lucie County. So all these months later, at least two Republican senators are talking about helping people the state could have been helping all along.Recall this, from the wingnut who keeps on giving, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton, who
claimed during the session that the money would come with too many demands. Among other things, he wrote in a July letter to The Post, the Legislature would have been "forced by the federal government to expand unemployment eligibility beyond what is now legally recognized.""Take the $444 million. Now".
Hearing that, you could be forgiven for thinking that Washington is asking Florida to give benefits to unsavory people. In fact, unemployment benefits would be extended to some part-time workers - who were losing their jobs in droves - and to spouses who had to quit their jobs to accompany their husbands or wives who had to move to find employment. Spouses who had to quit their jobs and move to escape domestic violence also would become eligible for unemployment benefits.
Plus, although the state is being asked to change its laws to make those people eligible, the feds would cover the cost. For normal unemployment benefits, Florida is taking out federal loans to pay the state's share of what already are low benefits compared with those most states offer.
Michael Bender: "Obama-Crist press conference: the most powerful fundraising tool ever?".
It is now safe to answer the phone
"State officials today are expected to announce plans for a crackdown on abusive debt collectors, following reports that collection harassment has surged in the past 18 months and that little has been done to punish offenders." "State to crack down on rogue debt collectors".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "In search of money to help pay off Miami International Airport's expansion, officials want the county to consider drilling for oil and gas at an old jet port that's now part of the Big Cypress National Wildlife Preserve as one potential way to get money. Other options on the table: rock mining at the 23,840-acre site between Miami and Naples or allow a park for off-road vehicles that tear up the terrain. As desperation moves go, these options are the mother of all dunderhead schemes." "Don't go drill crazy in the Everglades".
"Somewhere between wild speculation and outright falsehoods"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Claims of oil riches for Florida warrant skeptical review"
Advocates of drilling for oil in Florida's coastal waters make two claims that have caught the attention of lawmakers and heightened momentum to end the ban on drilling offshore. They claim that as much as 3 billion barrels of oil lie beneath Florida's coastal waters. And they claim that the state could reap $2.25 billion a year from drilling royalties. The claims are somewhere between wild speculation and outright falsehoods."Offshore fictions".
"Miami-Dade looks to cash in on old Everglades jetport".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "State lawmakers are wasting valuable time - and leaving money on the table - by balking at the new deal Gov. Charlie Crist reached with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to legalize increased gambling at seven casinos, including Tampa's Hard Rock." "Gambling stalemate gets dicey for state".