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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rachel Burgin hit with a second investigation for violating election laws

28

September

The Florida Elections Commission is investigating a second complaint filed against Republican Rachel Burgin, the incumbent running for the District 56 state House seat, alleging that she violated campaign finance laws. The complaint, filed by Democratic activist Lee Nelson, charges that Burgin accepted two $500 contributions from three different entities: Pepin Distributing Company, the Florida Dental Political Action Committee, and CRS Holding of America. State law limits total contributions from any single individual or company to $500. The commission in August agreed to investigate another complaint that Burgin accepted two $500 contributions from Miami-based Dosal Tobacco Corporation.

Nelson said he has copies of state records obtained Sept. 13 showing that Burgin accepted $500 contributions from Pepin in October 2009 and August 2010; from the Florida Dental PAC in February and August of 2010; and from CRS Holdings in July and August of 2010. A review today of the online records still shows the Pepin contributions. But the August contribution from Florida Dental is now listed as from the Dentists PAC (state records show both organization have the same officers and the same address). And the CRS contribution made in August is no longer part of the report.

"Whether Representative Burgin's campaign violations were simply oversights or malicious attempts to circumvent the campaign finance laws doesn't really matter," said Nelson. "At the end of the day we are supposed to have fair elections where the people choose who represents them. Rep. Burgin's first and now second campaigns are anything but fair. This is just another clear indication that she represents other interests and is obviously not representing the people in her district."

Burgin did not return calls for comment. She'll face Democrat David Chalela, an attorney, veteran and first-time candidate, in November. “This is just another glaring example of the lack of accountability in Florida state legislature," Chalela said in a prepared statement. "Career politicians are responsible for the rampant culture of corruption we have right now in Tallahassee. The people we elect should serve us, not special interests." 

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 4:24pm]

    

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