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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Castor fights GOP bill in attempt to help GOP convention



Rep. Kathy Castor just tried to stave off a Republican effort to abolish public financing for presidential campaigns, saying it would blow a hole in the security budget for the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa.

Her amendment was swiftly killed. "It would have safeguarded our security funds for local law enforcement," the Tampa Democrat said, mildly fuming as she walked away. The legislation will likely be stopped in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Roughly $17 million in public money was allotted for Denver and Minneapolis in 2008 but not all that went to security. Most of the security money came from other federal sources. Castor acknowledged that but said the budget-cutting mood in Washington could mean less for the Department of Justice.

"I’m waving some red flags here with the help of my hometown to say this is expensive and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to have it covered," she told the Buzz. "We’re not going to have the local taxpayers foot that bill."

UPDATE: A spokesman for Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, notes that the lawmaker has been working with the governor's office to get the convention designated as a National Special Security Event and obtain federal funding that way.

"Rep. Bilirakis is acutely aware of the security needs of the upcoming political conventions, especially in the aftermath of the Rep. (Gabrielle) Giffords shooting," Creighton Welch said.

Bilirakis joined his party in voting for to end the presidential election financing.

[Last modified: Friday, January 28, 2011 3:29pm]


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