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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ray Sansom's budget fallout

20

April

A grand jury didn't just indict Destin Republican Rep. Ray Sansom and Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg on Friday. It blasted the secrecy of the budget process and the big money that washes through the Capitol.

In addition to staining the Florida House's reputation and throwing it into confusion at times (e.g.,  the delay of his resignation as House Speaker), Sansom left another head-scratching legacy: A two-person budget chief system in what's usually a one-wo/man show. Ostensibly, the two-man front doubly fulfilled a promise to Miami-Dade Republicans. The county scored a budget chair. In return, the influential delegation led by former House Speaker Marco Rubio helped make him speaker. 

By appointing Marcelo Llorente and David Rivera to hold the budget post, Sansom appeased two at-times warring factions in the Legislature. Llorente and Rivera are running against each other and Rep. Anitere Flores for a state Senate seat. 

The division of the budget chairmanship, also helped strengthen the office of the speaker. Then fell Sansom. Sansom (still collecting lawmaker pay and free healthcare benefits) hasn't been available for comment since Friday, when he was in the clink pushing his fingers into the jailer's ink pad. Otherwise, he would have likely been on the House floor, fingers pushing the green "YES" button to vote on the budget he knows so well.

And now there are two state reps (rather than one) who are answering questions about the man who chose them to run the very budget process that led to his indictment.

--Marc Caputo

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 8:38pm]

    

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