14 July 2005

Charlie Crist violates state election law

Last week GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist announced that he had shattered previous fundraising records by posting over $3.8 million in campaign contributions during the second quarter of 2005. Now, the campaign concedes that Crist failed to abide by state law.

Today, it was reported that the Crist campaign had accepted over two dozen contributions that exceeded the $500 cap set by state law. Additionally, an examination of Crist's report shows that more than 1800 contributors failed to list their occupations, a requirement for those who contribute more than $100. These violations and lack of oversight would typically be seen as harmless, except that it comes in the wake of similar problems by a Crist opponent.

Democratic candidate Scott Maddox has been plagued in recent weeks by horrible press documenting his poor stewardship as chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, a position Maddox relinquished on May 7th. With news reports criticizing Maddox's accounting errors and blind leadership as chair, some believe that Crist may have walked into a firestorm by making the same types of errors as Maddox.

Crist faces Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher in the GOP primary. Maddox faces Congressman Jim Davis and state Senator Rod Smith in the Democratic primary.

The problems with the Crist campaign may end up being harmless. Charlie Crist is often the teflon Republican, allowing nothing to stick to him, and this time may be no different. As of yet, no one has filed an official complaint against the Crist campaign for violating state election laws.

But it will be interesting to see if Gallagher or Crist's Democratic opponents start asking an important question pertaining to Crist's campaign finance irregularities. How can the top law enforcement officer in the state not follow state law, then expect voters to trust him with the governorship?

12 July 2005

Florida mourns the loss of Robert Shevin

Robert L. Shevin, a man who served in all three branches of the state's government, died last night from cancer of the esophagus at the age of 71. Florida has lost a great public servant.

Shevin, a Democrat, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1964, representing Miami-Dade County. Two years later, he was elected to the Florida Senate, where he served for four years.

In 1970, Shevin left the Senate and was elected Florida Attorney General. As the top law enforcement officer for the state, Shevin was a champion of consumer rights and open government. As a member of the Supreme Court Workload Commission, Shevin urged the Florida Legislature to require unanimous or at least "super-majority" (9-3) votes before a death sentence could be imposed.

A highlight of his career was when Shevin signed a pardon for two men who had been wrongly convicted of murder. Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee were convicted and sentenced to death in 1963 for the murder of two gas station attendants. It was later discovered that the confessions by the two men were coerced, and this discovery ultimately led to the apprehension of the real killer and the release of Pitts and Lee.

Shevin ran for governor in 1978, but lost to former Senator Bob Graham in the Democratic primary. The election did not sour their relationship, and in 1982, Shevin served as the South Florida campaign coordinator for Graham's reelection.

In 1996, Shevin was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal, where he served honorably until last December.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 14th at 1:30 PM at Temple Solel, 5100 Sheridan Street in Hollywood.

Shevin is survived by the his wife, Myrna, three children, and six grandchildren.

10 July 2005

BREAKING NEWS: O'Connor may accept Chief Justice if offered

Read this breaking news at AmericanpolitiX.com.


UPDATE: AmericanpolitiX.com is now featuring a link to the transcript from today's Face The Nation. Be sure to read the discussion between Senators Specter and Leahy for yourself.