An obituary for my friend, Committee of Continuous Existence, 1973-2013

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Committee of Continuous Existence, a colorful figure in Florida’s world of campaign finance regulation, died today after the Florida Division of Elections revoked all CCE certifications in compliance with legislation passed earlier this year by state lawmakers. Committee of Continuous Existence had just celebrated his fortieth birthday.

Committee of Continuous Existence, or CCE as he was known to both friends and enemies alike, had courageously struggled for his life for the better part of the last year while complications from a common form of the disease known as hypocrisy plagued CCE’s health. State lawmakers, many of whom raised money for their friend Committee of Continuous Existence, voted to pull the plug on CCE as part of a series of ethics and elections reforms which, in the end, will likely do little to keep money out of politics. 

The man many blame for Committee of Continuous Existence’s health problems was himself a close, personal friend of CCE.

State Senator Jack Latvala, who chaired the committee which dealt with the legislation affecting Committee of Continuous Existence, at first did not want to lose his longtime companion CCE. Latvala and Committee of Continuous Existence enjoyed a particularly close relationship with Latvala having raised about $1.8 million for CCE during the 2012 election cycle. Latvala initially suggested lawmakers take a more modest step towards reform — preventing using the funds for personal purposes.

That was before a dire prognosis which ended up giving CCE little time to live. 

In September of last year, Dr. Steve Bousquet revealed that former state Representative Chris Dorworth relied on Committee of Continuous Existence for all but the most basic of life functions. The “Dorworth Syndrome”, as the ailment would come to be known in Tallahassee, shocked lawmakers into action.  

In the end, Latvala led his colleagues in ending Committee of Continuous Existence’s existence. Once he could no longer accept contributions, CCE withered to a shell of his former self. 

As CCE’s life came to an end, many of his friends and colleagues came together to remember a life full of six-figure checks and negative mailers.

“Do you remember the time he and his friend ECO tried to link Karen Castor Dentel to Jerry Sandusky?” one political consultant after another was overheard asking.

In the end, CCE was surrounded by those whose lives were intertwined with his. By his death bed were several friends, including  John French, David Ramba, Mike Millner and Nancy and Robert Watkins. 

“He went in his sleep,” noted Rachel Kruse, an associate at Ramba’s firm who kept track of CCE’s personal affairs and paperwork.

Committee of Continuous Existence is survived by Electioneering Communication Organization and Political Committee.

In lieu of flowers, please send hard money. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.