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    A Times Editorial

    GOP's curious complaint

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published June 3, 2001

    The Florida Republican Party is understandably unhappy that Florida Democrats plan to raise funds nationwide to use against Gov. Jeb Bush next year. GOP Chairman Al Cardenas calls it "carpetbagging," and there are surely many proud Florida voters of all political persuasions who would agree.

    But you would think that those who live by the carpetbag would be shy about criticizing others for proposing to do the same.

    According to the secretary of state's data base, the Republican Party of Florida received for the 2000 campaign more than $16.8-million in contributions of $1,000 or more from non-Florida sources. The bulk of it came from Washington-based party committees that raise their funds nationwide. That was roughly 45 percent of the state party's large contributions. For his 1998 campaign, Bush raised more than $1.3-million from non-Florida donors.

    What the Democrats intend to do would have been severely limited by soft-money restrictions the Florida Senate passed two years ago, but Bush and the House GOP leadership disliked the bill and that was the end of it.

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