Charlie Justice v Ray Sansom
Like a lot of Florida Democrats, State Sen. Charlie Justice of St. Petersburg is not shy about discussing the swirling controversy over Republican House Speaker Ray Sansom getting hired by Northwest Florida State College after funneling millions of dollars to the school.
"It is a distraction to some degree and it makes it harder for us to go back and say, ‘I’m sorry, Florida’s in a tough budget. We had to cut’ when they read about the money that’s spent on other things,’’ Justice said in a Political Connections interview airing on Bay News 9 today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
But said he sees no problem with himself helping secure millions of dollars to the University of South Florida, where he works as an academic adviser.
“I think the broadest line should be drawn between those of us …who were working for the university prior to getting elected. If you get elected and you’re a chairman of a committee that funnels money and then you get hired, certainly that doesn’t look as good,’’ he said, adding that his USF funding efforts went through the normal budgetary review, rather being added with little review at the last minute like Sansom’s.