By Jeff Schweers Tribune/Naples Daily News Capital Bureau Published: April 21, 2016 Updated: April 21, 2016 at 12:18 PM TALLAHASSEE –
Florida’s legislative leaders have millions of dollars of cash to spend as they see fit on state and local races and ballot initiatives this election season thanks to a state law that allows the almost unrestricted flow of campaign dollars. They don’t even have to say who benefits from their largesse and their fellow lawmakers have shown little interest in requiring that they do so.
Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who is in line to be Senate appropriations chairman next session, has $1.9 million on hand in his Florida Leadership Committee. Tom Lee, the former Senate president from Brandon who was the most recent appropriations chairman, also has close to $2 million in his political committee, called The Conservative. Joe Negron, the Stuart Republican elected by his peers to be Senate president next year, has $1.4 million to spend from his Treasure Coast Alliance committee. And Bill Galvano, Republican Senator from Bradenton who was in charge of last year’s failed redistricting effort and may consider a run for Senate president in the future, has about $1 million in his Innovate Florida fund.