The Tax Break Puzzle

National Journal
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Oct. 23, 2013, 4:25 p.m.

Gov. Charlie Crist (R) “wasted no time re­fil­ing his pe­ti­tion for a statewide grand jury on cor­rup­tion is­sues after the Flor­ida Su­preme Court” 11/30 “said his first re­quest didn’t meet min­im­um leg­al re­quire­ments.”

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Crist’s pe­ti­tion “didn’t pass muster” in de­tail­ing the “gen­er­al crimes or wrongs to be in­quired in­to” and “how the crimes cross ju­di­cial cir­cuits, ac­cord­ing to the Su­preme Court’s two-para­graph or­der nix­ing the grand jury re­quest.” Justices “is­sued the 6-1 de­cision without pre­ju­dice,” mean­ing Crist “could try again. Crist sub­mit­ting a re­worded grand jury re­quest” 11/30 p.m.

The epis­ode “is an em­bar­rass­ment” for Crist (Hafen­brack, South Flor­ida Sun-Sen­tinel, 11/30). Three of four justices ap­poin­ted by Crist were in the ma­jor­ity (Bousquet, Miami Times, 11/30).

So We Dropped A Zero

Rep. Kendrick Meek’s (D-17) camp “made a big deal about his cam­paign’s un­pre­ced­en­ted push to qual­i­fy for the bal­lot by gath­er­ing” 112K pe­ti­tions — an “am­bi­tious and po­ten­tially for­mid­able vehicle for or­gan­iz­ing.”

So “it’s a little sur­pris­ing that the Di­vi­sion of Elec­tions so far has veri­fied few­er than” 11K sig­na­tures for Meek. The dead­line is 3/29, and “fall­ing short would be more than a bit em­bar­rass­ing.”

Meek mgr Abe Dyk: “There has been a huge data entry back log in our cam­paign. We need to go through each pe­ti­tion and pull that in­form­a­tion out and put it in­to a data base.”

Dyk “es­tim­ated that the cam­paign has gathered more than half of the re­quired sig­na­tures, but has yet to turn them in to elec­tions of­fi­cials.” In the Pan­handle 11/30, “one sup­port­er in the crowd of 14 who showed up to see Meek re­portedly presen­ted him with” 2K pe­ti­tions (Smith, “The Buzz,” St. Peters­burg Times, 11/30).

So Does This Mean Miami Vice Is Cool Again?

Asked last week wheth­er ex-state House Speak­er Marco Ru­bio (R) “would like an en­dorse­ment” from ex-AK Gov. Sarah Pal­in (R), vet­er­an GOP strategist/Ru­bio ad­viser Todd Har­ris said: “We’d love to have Sarah Pal­in’s en­dorse­ment.” Har­ris said Pal­in “would en­er­gize the party base and help Ru­bio raise money.”

But “over the sum­mer,” Har­ris “wasn’t nearly so en­thu­si­ast­ic about Pal­in and her polit­ic­al ap­peal.” After Pal­in resigned as gov., Har­ris said she “was on the verge of be­com­ing” the “Miami Vice of Amer­ic­an polit­ics: Something a lot of people once thought was cool and then 20 years later look back, shake their heads and just kind of laugh.”

So would Har­ris “wel­come Pal­in’s en­dorse­ment now,” a few months after say­ing she “was be­com­ing a punch­line?” Har­ris: “Yeah. Feel free not to men­tion any of that” (Strat­ton, “Polit­ic­al Pulse,” Or­lando Sen­tinel, 11/30).

Co­in­cid­ences Are Funny Things

Ex-Miami May­or Maurice Ferre (D) today “called for an in­vest­ig­a­tion” in­to Crist’s cam­paign, claim­ing that ac­cused Ponzi schemer/atty Scott Roth­stein “had a habit of con­trib­ut­ing money” to the FL GOP when Crist “ap­proved ju­di­cial picks that Roth­stein sup­por­ted.” Roth­stein “was ap­poin­ted by Crist” to the Ju­di­cial Nom­in­at­ing Com­mis­sion for Broward Co.

Crist, asked about the al­leg­a­tion and call for an in­vest­ig­a­tion: “It’s ab­surd.”

Ferre, in a state­ment: “State cam­paign fin­ance re­cords show a troub­ling pat­tern of large con­tri­bu­tions from Mr. Roth­stein and im­me­di­ate and sub­sequent ap­point­ments of Judges to the Fourth Dis­trict Court of Ap­peals. Is this pat­tern a co­in­cid­ence? Could it in­dic­ate real cor­rup­tion in the Ju­di­cial nom­in­at­ing pro­cess and raise le­git­im­ate ques­tions about a pos­sib­il­ity of Crist’s in­teg­rity and his fit­ness to gov­ern?”

Roth­stein’s firm gave $52K to the state GOP in Jul. ‘08, on “the same day that Crist ap­poin­ted” Jay Hur­ley to the Broward Co. court. A day later Roth­stein’s firm donated an­oth­er $25K to the party.

Crist “ap­poin­ted Roth­stein to the 4th DCA Ju­di­cial nom­in­at­ing” com­mis. “four days be­fore Roth­stein con­trib­uted” $140K to the FL GOP. Roth­stein and his firm gave $100K to the FL GOP in Jan. ‘09. Crist “ap­poin­ted Judges Car­los Rodrig­uez and Bar­bara Mc­Carthy two days later.”

Ferre “also ques­tioned Crist’s ap­point­ment of Spen­cer Lev­ine to an ap­pel­late judge­ship in the 4th cir­cuit, say­ing Roth­stein pushed his ap­point­ment des­pite lack of ju­di­cial ex­per­i­ence.” Ferre: “Are all these in­cid­ents just co­in­cid­ence?”

But in the case of Lev­ine, “it’s not un­ex­pec­ted that Crist ap­poin­ted him. Lev­ine headed the Medi­caid Fraud Con­trol Unit” when Crist was AG (Cap­uto, “Na­ked Polit­ics,” Miami Her­ald, 12/1).

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