The Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday on the significant polical contributions made in the windup to session by interest groups with legislative missions: $662,000 was raised by 38 current legislators in the first two months of the year from groups angling on tax breaks, expanded scopes of practice, sugar concerns, pension woes, and other interests.
These donations came in just before the House and Senate started a session laden with ethics and elections reforms. As the Sentinel points out, these proposals include the elimination of “Committees of Continuous Existence” (CCEs), which can bring in large sums of cash in contrast to candidate’s campaigns which are limited by $500 donations; and other efforts by House Speaker Will Weatherford to increase of these individual donation limits — a measure which Gov. Scott has threatened to veto.
The greatest bank went to Rep. Jose Oliva, who raised $64,500 through his Conservative Principles for Florida fund. Of this, the Florida Realtors, Akerman Sentefitt, and Rep. Richard Corcoran’s CCE put in $10,000 a piece for the hopeful future Speaker. Future House Speaker Steve Crisafulli raised a total of $33,000 through his Growing Florida’s Future fund.
Yet, as the Sentinel calculated, the total raised by legislatively controlled CCEs represents only about 7 percent of the total $8.9 million grossed by interest groups CCEs, such as those controlled by unions, Realtors, and the business lobby.
The Political Action Together Legislative & Education Committee raised $1,095,451; the Realtors PAC – Florida raised $1,059,932; and the International Longshoreman’s Assoc. raised nearly $333,000. The Florida Optometric CCE raised just under $200,000 while the Florida Medical Association PAC raised about $177,000.
For a complete breakdown, refer to the Sentinel piece here.