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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Special anticorruption session likely, Crist says



As Gov. Charlie Crist tries to salvage his U.S. Senate bid by increasingly running away from the  Legislature, it looks like he'll call lawmakers into special session, possibly in May or June, to consider anticorruption recommendations expected from a statewide grand jury.

Cc-ncCrist petitioned the Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate corruption and he has frequently lamented the number of elected officials he has had to suspend from office.

He had hoped for an interim report from statewide prosecutor Bill Shepherd in time for lawmakers to act during the current session, but it now appears that won't happen. "If we don't get that report that quickly, then we may have to do a special session," Crist said. As to the likelihood of a special session, he said: "As each day passes, that scenario playing out becomes more likely. No question about it."

The strategy is not risk-free. Crist, after all, was a leading recipient of campaign money from Fort Lauderdale Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. He received campaign help and advice from disgraced Republican fundraiser Alan Mendelsohn. Crist put Jim Greer in place as chairman of the Republican Party -- the same Jim Greer who's now subject of a criminal investigation.

But Crist is the rare politician who appears never to have profited personally from holding office, and he has listed ethics as one of the "four E's" on his priority list this session. So far, lawmakers have shown zero enthusiasm for the subject.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:27am]


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