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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Utilities, gambling and retail giants with legislative wish list give big to RPOF



The annual compilation of the quiet agenda behind the legislative session was released last night and the RPOF campaign finance report revealed the following:

* ELECTRIC COMPANIES -- The largest single industry contributing to the Republican Party in the first quarter of 2010 was the electric utilities industry, with a whopping $459,000. Stung by two unfavorable rate decisions by the PSC, a nettlesome requirement that they encourage customers to use less energy, and two appointments to the PSC of folks who never worked in or with the industry, and their agenda was clear. The Senate has obliged them by holding up confirmations for the PSC appointments. The House has made it difficult to pass a bill tightening PSC ethics. And both chambers are making it likely that the industry will get to charge customers the full cost of building major new solar energy plants without having to prove a need.

* GAMBLING -- As expected, the pari-mutuel interests were heavy contributors with $170,000 in large checks, as late as March 23. 

* RETAILERS -- Publix and WalMart gave $195,000. The bills to limit slip and fall lawsuits are making a bee line to the gov.

This is just's a sampling of the $7.8 million the party raised since Jan. 1. Stay tuned for more to come. It's worth noting that while legislators tout the fact that their fundraising ban prevents them from raising money while they're voting on these industry bills, the party can. It doesn't even have to follow the $500 limits.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:28am]


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