Remember ole' Florida Speaker Ray Sansom? The guy who got caught sneaking appropriation funds for an airport at a small college that would have benefited one of Sansom's buddies?
Well, the trial finally took place... but at a key moment where the prosecution was about to present a witness that could prove a conspiracy, the defense's argument against that witness was sustained by the judge... meaning the witness couldn't testify until the prosecution could prove through other means that there was a conspiracy afoot.
The prosecution couldn't. The entire case pretty much unraveled and the charges were dropped.
Meanwhile back at the ranch in Tallahassee, our state legislature is passing "reforms" with campaign financing. They just passed a law re-establishing something called "leadership funds":
If you are an interest group in Florida, a corporation, a lobbyist seeking favor, you go to these "leadership" funds run by lawmakers… And you pay them. They will launder the money into local elections around the state, to keep electing more obedient followers.
This is so astonishing a corruption that it defies belief.
The bill in question is House Bill 1207, passed in the 2010 legislative session.
Then-Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed it. Last Thursday the Legislature overrode the veto.
The House vote was 81-39. The Senate vote was 30-9.
The twisted logic used in the Capitol, and what your legislator will try to tell you, is that it's better for the Legislature to be paid off directly.
See, they will write it down in a separate little report. So this is all about "informing the public" and "transparency."
If they try to give you this line, just ask this question: "So, is it legal to make unlimited payoffs to 'leadership funds' that are operated directly by the leaders of the Legislature, or not?"
People ask: What can I do?
You can call or e-mail. You can go to the House's website (www.myfloridahouse.com) or the Senate's (www.flsenate.gov) and find contact information for your legislator. (I beg you to be firm but civil, especially to the hard-working staff — the world is rude enough already, isn't it?)
But they (The Republicans) are counting on you not to do anything at all.
Instead, here is what they are counting on you to do:
Robert Troxler's article is heart-breaking, but it really shouldn't come as a shock anymore.
The Republican Party goes out of its way to claim that they are "fiscally responsible", that they "know business and how to get things done", that they "can create jobs", that they can destroy "the Liberal Agenda of having lazy unemployed people" feed off "our" hard-earned tax dollars.
And then when in power, the Republicans slash corporate taxes, shift the tax burden ever more onto a middle class that can't handle it, cut social services on families and kids already struggling, spend all the other money on vanity projects that don't serve a majority of people, and sign over public-run services to privatized companies run by their old college buddies that will charge more and increase the odds of waste and corruption. All because they can lie and trick voters into fearing anyone else getting control of the government reins.
And then to make sure their party stays in power they re-write the election laws or pursue questionable practices like twisted gerrymandered districts and voter suppression efforts.
Someone just polled how our nation is becoming "more conservative." With the Far Right conservatives screwing more and more people out of their jobs and homes and private lives, HOW THE HELL IS THAT POSSIBLE?