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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist says more sun will shine on his campaign cash



After raising an insane amount of money last quarter ($4.3m), Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday that he'd do something no other U.S. Senate candidate has done in recent memory: Exceed federal campaign requirements by providing his campaign finance data in an easy-to-use format.

Of all major offices up for election, U.S. Senate has the least disclosure required for candidates. Senate candidates just have to submit their paperwork the old-fashion way, on dead trees. The info is posted online, but it's not in a format such as Microsoft Excel. So it's far harder for the press, public and opponents to sort records and figure out how much money is coming from an industry (gaming? insurance).

Crist said he would make his info available in a database-type format, though he wasn't sure what Excel was. "We'd be happy to...We'd be happy to accommodate to the very best of our abilities," Crist said.

Q: So would you be willing to apply the standard used for state campaign finance reporting?

Crist: "We'd be happy to try, sure."

He made the comments at a Florida Society of Newspaper Editors meeting at The Breakers Hotel & Resort in Palm Beach (who says newspapers have no money? Oh yeah, our laid off colleagues). The venue, where his open-records chief Pat Gleason was given an FSNE award, made it tough for Crist to refuse holding himself to a higer standard when it comes to public records.

The rest of the gaggle:

Q: How much do you plan to raise in the Senate campaign?

Crist: “I don’t know. You know, it’s a race that really is about people and about public service and trying to work hard for my fellow Floridians every day. That’s what really matters, and understanding that the economy’s tough and that we need to help the people and we want to make sure that our children have a great education.”

 Q: Will you debate Marco Rubio?

Crist: “I’m sure we will at the appropriate time.”

Q: And when will that be?

Crist: “Some time later. I’ve got some interviews today down in Fort Lauderdale for a superintendent in Monroe County. Then, I’ve got some more interviews in Tampa for a position that’s very important to Hillsborough County voters.”

Q: Why not today?

Crist: “I’ve got governing duties today. I’ve gotta go to Fort Lauderdale and interview some applicants for superintendent of schools in Monroe County. Then I have to go to Tampa Bay. I’ve gotta be governor first.”

Q: At what point do you think you’ll be more public about your Senate campaign?

Crist: “This election’s more than a year away and I don’t think people are really paying that much attention to it right now. There will be plenty of time for politics later. I’ve got a duty to be governor first.”

 Q: What about sex offenders under Julia Tuttle Causeway. Will you work to help resolve the situation?

Crist: "Well, always. We’ve been involved in that issue for awhile and really I think we have to respect what the local governments want to do. They’re trying to protect their children. They’re trying to protect their people. And they have these limits that exist, and we respect that. So we’ll look at the lawsuit and do the best we can to help resolve that.”

Q: On swine flu immunization. Where is the money coming from?

Crist: “I’d have to look into that. I noticed that there was another death from the swine flu. Obviously, we have to be mindful about that and take it seriously, do everything we can to prevent that from happening in the future and we will strive to do exactly that.”

Q: Is the stimulus working?

Crist: “I think it’s too early to tell at this point. I hope it works.”

Q: Did Florida get its fair share?

Crist: “Well, I think people would always want a little more. But we got about $15 billion. That’s an awful lot of money, and I think that Floridians probably can see the construction around the state and that’s going to help produce a lot of jobs and that’s what it’s intended to do.”

 Q: There are rumors about fundraising for Palin. Any truth to that?

Crist: “Not that I’ve been aware of.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:51pm]


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