Trey Radel to refund more than $63,000 to donors

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Former congressman Trey Radel is refunding contributors more than $63,000, according to the latest campaign finance report filed by the Florida Republican, who gave up his seat in January after pleading guilty to a drug charge.

The money is being returned to 53 donors — 42 individuals, 10 political action committees and one business — most of whom gave in November or December, reports the USA Today.

The list includes Radel’s father, Henry J. “Skip” Radel Jr. of Cincinnati, who is getting back his donation of $2,600.

Several of the donors attended a “Gourmet with Trey” fundraiser at at the tony Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, Fla. The event took place Nov. 5 — a week after police caught Radel trying to buy $250 worth of cocaine in Washington but two weeks before the bust became public.

The fundraiser’s timing upset Betty Folkerth of Naples, who gave Radel $500 that night after he impressed her at the event.

“Why would you proceed with something like that knowing full well it was probably going to blow up in your face at some point in time?” she said Wednesday. “We were all disappointed for him and in him.”

Three contributors contacted said they had not asked for a refund and were surprised that Radel plans to return their money. They had not received their refunds as of Wednesday.

Most of the refunds to individuals were authorized on March 31, according to Radel’s report filed with the Federal Election Commission and released late Tuesday. The report covers campaign activity from Jan. 1 through March 31.

The campaign also is giving money back to several PACs, including those representing Home Depot, New York Life Insurance and Darden Restaurants.

Radel declined to comment.

More from the USA Today here.

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.