Senate President ‘fine’ with getting rid of CCEs

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Senate President Don Gaetz said Tuesday that he’d be willing to go along with eliminating committees of continuous existence, though he acknowledged that the chairman of the Senate’s ethics committee wants to consider changing the law affecting the murky campaign finance organs rather than getting rid of them.

Speaking to property appraisers visiting the Capitol on Tuesday, Gaetz said he agreed with House Speaker Will Weatherford that CCEs have been misused by lawmakers in some cases, noting that some legislators “basically lived out of their CCEs, and subsidized their filet mignon lifestyles.” Gaetz noted that getting rid of CCEs is a top priority for Weatherford.

“I’d be fine with that,” Gaetz said. “We’re trying to figure out here (on the Senate side), can we mend them, or do we need to end them.” The House Ethics & Elections Subcommittee voted on Monday to approve a bill (HB 569) that does away with the fundraising committees, but raises the amount of money lawmakers can raise from individual donors to $10,000, up from $500.

Senate Ethics & Elections Committee Chairman Jack Latvala has indicated he does not want to raise contribution limits to $10,000 and has questioned eliminating CCEs. Instead, he has suggested cleaning up the committees, contending some lawmakers have used CCEs to pay for meals and other personal expenses.

Via the News Service of Florida.

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.