Steve Wise's Idea of Reform
Former Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections created controversy for using tax dollars to place his name and image on material. Michelle Patty was a former critic of Johnson. The Supervisor used tax dollars to pay Patty more than $16,000. Patty went around the Tampa black community handing out "Vote for Buddy" yard signs. All these actions were seen as an election official using tax dollars to get re-elected.
Sen. Charlie Justice sponsored SB 216. The bill would help put an end to such practices.
Campaign Financing/Local Government Expenditures [GPSC]; Defines the terms "local government" and "public funds." Prohibits a local government from expending, and a person or group from accepting, public funds for a political advertisement or electioneering communication concerning an issue, referendum, or amendment that is subject to the vote of the electors. Provides an exception for certain electioneering communications. Clarifies restrictions with respect to local officials.
Republican Sen. Steve Wise attempted to sneak in an amendment to restart the defunct Leadership fund. This would allow party leaders in the House and Senate increase their power by holding money over the caucus. Wise choose his words poorly. Leadership funds were banned. Wise striked "Leadership" from the record. The new term was Caucus accountability fund.
(1) For purposes of this section:
(a) “Caucus accountability
Leadershipfund” means accounts comprised of any moneys contributed to a political party, directly or indirectly, which are designated to be used at the partial or total discretion of a leader.
(b) “Leader” means the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the majority leader and the minority leader of each house, and any person designated by a political caucus of members of either house to succeed to any such position.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, caucus accountability leadership funds are authorized
prohibitedin this state. No leader shall accept any leadership funds.
(3) This section applies to
leadershipfunds in existence on or after January 1, 1990.
Justice was able to defeat Wise's amendment. It's hysterical Wise would put this into a reform bill. The current legislature is doing some wacky stuff in the closing days.
Correction: the leadership funds would not come from tax dollars. The money would be from contributions. I used Buddy Johnson as an example. I have heard that Johnson was the inspiration for Justice's bill. The leadership funds would work like PAC money. The Majority and Minority leaders in the Senate and House would decide who receives these funds. This was seen as Wise attempting to increase his influence for when he became the Republican Senate leader.
The Justice bill would forbid tax dollars to be used to benefit a local candidate or voter amendment. The Wise amendment attempted to allow House and Senate leaders to set up leadership funds. These funds would be considered political contributions.