Aiming for campaign finance reform in Florida

3:12 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - There's widespread agreement at the state Capitol that Florida's campaign finance system, awash in millions of dollars for candidates, needs reform.

But there's much disagreement over what type of reforms are needed.

The Florida House is setting the pace and dictating the debate so far. A House committee has passed a bill that would raise the cap on contributions from $500 to $10,000 per election.

In return, the plan would eliminate committees of continuous existence, or CCE's. Those committees allow politicians to raise unlimited amounts of cash that's often hard to track.

Critics say politicians too often use the committees like slush funds to improve their lifestyle.

Rep. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey says he supports the elimination of CCE's.

"People that donate to help candidates out, that's exactly what they should be used for and you can do that, in my opinion, by donating directly to the candidate or donating to the party of your choice. That's the best way to make certain that those dollars are used accordingly and appropriately."

Fasano disbanded his CCE last week and donated the money to nonprofit groups in Pasco County.

The Senate is moving slower on campaign finance reform. Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater says he expects the Senate's version to come out next week.

"The House has their role in the process and the Senate has our role in the process. I think it's kind of premature for me to be challenging them until we have a bill that's filed and has passed the Senate and it may be close to theirs in certain areas and it may be different."

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