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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tough words for Crist in the Senate: 'Disingenuous.' Is 'dishonest' next?



Gov. Charlie Crist wrapped himself in the mantle of clean government when he vetoed the leadership funds bill sought by fellow Republican leaders in the Legislature. Crist said he didn't like all the pay-to-play appearance of linking business in the Capitol with special interests.

Meantime, the governor's barnstorming the state raising money during the legislative session -- something legislators can't do. His top money bundlers include heavy-hitting lobbyists like Brian Ballard, who represents a host of clients that have fed Crist's campaign. Nothing unusual about that, but it makes it tough to look above the cash-grabbing fray when he's grabbing for cash.

"It's disingenuous," said Sen. budget chief J.D. Alexander, a sponsor of the leadership funds bill.

Now that Crist appears to be flirting with a veto of the controversial "teacher tenure/merit pay" bill, Republican senators are growing increasingly alarmed. Senate sponsor John Thrasher said the governor promised he'd sign the bill. The next leader of the Senate, Mike Haridopolos, wouldn't speculate about a veto.

"I expect the governor to keep his word," Haridopolos said.

Earlier, Crist said he never promised he'd sign the bill. He said he would likely sign it, but left enough wiggle room to get out of a no-veto promise. If he actually cancels the legislation, expect a blow-up. And a new D-word "dishonest" to get flug around the Capitol this election season.

-- Marc Caputo

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


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