Legislators: They. Are. For. Sale.
By HOWARD TROXLER
There is no state, no nation, no planet and no universe where it should be legal to pay off a Legislature directly.
There is no government in which a sworn lawmaker should be able to take unlimited payoffs from those seeking favorable treatment.
And yet this is now precisely the law of Florida.
In an earlier column I called the Florida Legislature “the Whore of Babylon” for passing a law last week that legalizes its own bribery.
But the topic cries out not to be forgotten — because this is a turning point in the state of Florida’s history.
It is now legal in Florida for the leaders of our House and Senate, of both the Republican and Democratic parties, to operate what are laughably 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 you can 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. (However, 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 are counting on you not to do anything at all.
Instead, here is what they are counting on you to do:
Howard Troxler is a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times.
You know, this doesn't surprise me. Nothing they do surprises me anymore, but still, we must put it forth, because there are some out there with the utter delusion that the GOP is about anything other than being BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY BIG BUSINESS. Yes, there are those delusional out there, and they are realizing it - the HARD WAY. You elect a STRAIGHT UP CROOK for Governor - what did you expect. This proposal was so repulsive that even the oil slick known as Charlie Crist had to veto it. I want to feel bad for you in Florida, I really do. But, sometimes, you get what you elect, and so, ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. Now that your state is up LITERALLY to the highest bidder....see what happens to you NOW.