Politics at heart of criminal investigations swirling across Florida
Gov. Charlie Crist often laments "this culture of corruption in South Florida," but increasingly it's Tallahassee that looks like a central focus of multiple criminal investigations swirling about Florida.
In recent weeks, prominent legislators have hired criminal defense lawyers, while high-ranking and low-ranking GOP staffers have been summoned to grand juries meeting across the state.
Among them: Crist's former top money-raiser, Meredith O'Rourke; former state GOP executive director Jim Rimes; and indicted ex-House Speaker Ray Sansom's former fundraising aide, Melanie Phister, who at age 25 charged nearly $1.3 million on her state party credit card.
Amid the most tumultuous and unpredictable election year Florida has seen in decades, the names of at least a dozen political figures have popped up in five major federal investigations probing the pay-to-play culture of corruption in Florida. (story here)