George LeMieux, lobbyist? Nah, 'consultant'
As Gov. Charlie Crist strongly considers George LeMieux for U.S. Senate, we've twice asked about the financial interests of his friend, whom he described as his campaign "maestro" in his juggernaut of a governor's campaign. Crist said he's not worried by LeMieux's legal client list. And when asked why it was fair to make lobbyists disclose their clients but not the lawyer LeMieux, Crist said there's a difference between lawyers and lobbyists (video is here and here.)
Oops. We forgot to ask about "consultants."
Turns out, on LeMieux's Senate application form (Download LeMieux Senate Application), he lists MTC Strategies as his consulting firm. Who is that? It looks like the first initials of each of his three boys' names. Federal disclosure records show MTC earned $150,000 in the past 13 months for consulting to the Republican Party of Florida. LeMieux says RPOF is his only client.
In all fairness, that RPOF money's a drop in the bucket compared to the hellacash that LeMieux could have earned. He could have lobbied and cashed in big time. But he didn't. Sure, he's making money, but not nearly as much as he could have.
As an attorney, LeMieux has two State of Florida clients: The Department of Transportation, whom he's representing in talks over the Florida East Coast rail line, and the governor himself in compact negotiations with the Seminole Tribe. The former is paid work, the latter is pro bono.
The Seminoles seem really happy with Crist and RPOF. The Seminole Tribe (since 1996) has donated nearly $912,000 to the state party, with 71 percent of that money coming in since Crist took over state party fundraising once he won the 2006 Republican primary.
Marc Caputo, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau