Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Alex Sink says she's waiting on donation refund from Eric Lynn



When Eric Lynn first announced his candidacy for office last year, he was gunning for Congressional District 13, and for a while, was the lone Democrat in the race.

Then former Gov. Charlie Crist joined in, giving Lynn a Democratic opponent for the primary. Then Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, announced he would not run again for his state House seat, after he already said he would.

So in May, Lynn jumped ship to the House District 68 race to succeed Dudley, where he faces St. Petersburg lawyer Ben Diamond in the Aug. 30 primary. And, as campaign finance law allows, he took his now $752,933 in contributions with him.

Now at least one well-known donor said she's been unsuccessful in getting her money back.

Former state Chief Financial Officer and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink sent two emails to Lynn on June 20 and 26 asking for a refund. Three weeks later, she said she's still waiting for a response.

“I emailed Eric directly and then emailed his campaign and never had a response, and I'm very irritated about it,” Sink told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday.

During an on-the-record interview with the Times editorial board on Monday, Lynn said he “can count on one hand the number of people who asked for their contributions back, and we sent them back.”

Lynn did not return a call for comment late Monday regarding Sink's donation, but he sent an email to the Times stating: "Of over 2,000 contributions, five people didn't want their investment going toward my legislative campaign. I was happy to refund them. And apologies to my friend Alex Sink, we may have accidentally sent the refund to her St. Pete address."

According to campaign finance records, Sink donated $250 to Lynn's Congressional race on April 23, 2015. She said she wants a refund because when it comes to the House District 68 race, she is supporting Ben Diamond, her former aide.

Sink said when U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announced in April she would forgo her reelection campaign in favor of a 2018 gubernatorial run, she immediately sent a letter with instructions on how to get a donation refund. Sink hoped Lynn would do the same.

“I just assumed, I believe that's exactly what Eric should be doing is sending the same kind of letter to everybody who contributed to his Congressional campaign just like Gwen Graham did,” Sink said. “You're welcome to have your contribution refunded, here's the way you do that, and if you don't, I'm going to be using the money for something else.”

[Last modified: Monday, July 11, 2016 7:33pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours