Weatherford likes idea of welcoming fox into the henhouse of Fla.’s campaign finance system

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Count Speaker Will Weatherford, an elected official not likely to run again anytime in the next few years, as a “fan” of lifting the caps on contributions to state political candidates.

Weatherford told Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times“I think what they’ve (Integrity Florida) uncovered is what at least some of us have already known. We already have unlimited campaign money in Florida, it’s just not going to the campaigns.”

First of all, “uncovered” isn’t the right word to describe what Integrity Florida has done. Speaker Weatherford knows that. Heck, it was his committee which financed another committee’s sending of the most repugnant mailer of the 2012 election cycle. The fact that the campaign finance system is broken did not need to be “uncovered”, it’s been staring us all in the face for years.

Second, and more important, Weatherford and his colleagues are painting themselves into a corner.

While debating what to do, if anything, to reform the system, Weatherford and Co., keep saying things like, “Instead of having all these entities that are hard to trace, we should have transparency so you can see where the money is coming in.”

But, at the same time, Florida legislators are considering lifting the caps on contributions.

Increasing transparency and lifting the contributions limits should not be linked. If eliminating the CCEs and requiring real-time reporting of contributions are meritorious suggestions for fixing the system, then Weatherford should see those changes occur, regardless of whether the caps are lifted.

Weatherford, Integrity Florida, myself, and others recognize that, like water, money will find its way into cracks.

But that doesn’t mean Speaker Weatherford has to make it easy for it to occur.

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.