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Florida Democrats differ on party finance rules

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From Bill Cotterell: Florida Democratic leaders disagreed sharply Thursday over rules changes that would relax control of party finances.

Party Treasurer Alma Gonzalez said she could not support Chairman Karen Thurman’s proposal to raise from $5,000 to $25,000 the amount of checks requiring the treasurer’s signature. Thurman said the $5,000 limit is more than 10 years old and that a bigger, busier party needs the flexibility to make bigger purchases without the treasurer personally approving every check.

Democratic National Committeeman Jon Ausman backed Gonzalez in memos to members of the Democratic Executive Committee who will meet in Orlando during the weekend to consider rules changes. Ausman recalled that the state party’s finances were investigated three times by the Florida Elections Commission between 1992-95, once by the Federal Elections Commission in 2002 and that in 2005 the Internal Revenue Service froze the party’s checking account and levied a $200,000 lein for unpaid taxes. Last year, the party’s House campaign committee was fined $209,000 by the FEC for 209 violations.

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.

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