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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

You Call This 'Justice'?



Don't let the name fool you. The Committee for Florida Justice Reform claims to be about tort reform, but new developments suggest it's mostly about trying to end Alex Villalobos' political career.(Besides, once the Legislature repeals the joint-and-several liability doctrine, does anybody seriously think you can move millions of dollars -- in an election year -- on a pure "tort reform" agenda?)

This CCE, or committee of continuous existence, was created in March. Its web site makes clear that four GOP senators are associated with the group. They are JD Alexander, Jeff Atwater, Mike Bennett and Mike Haridopolos. Atwater is the anti-Villalobos alternative in an increasingly bitter struggle over who will lead the Senate in the 2008-2010 term, and those other three are key allies. Their involvement required the committee to create a web site and register with the Senate, which the committee did last week.

This week, those senators are calling lobbyists, asking them to pony up as much as $100,000 in soft money donations, with the indication that some of that money would be spent to advance the Senate candidacy of Villalobos' opponent, Frank Bolanos. From lobbyists, The Buzz learns that the committee's goal is to raise $1-million in the next seven days, and this comes just days after lobbyists flew up to Yankee Stadium for a Republican Party fund-raiser. In Tallahassee, that's called "justice reform."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:09pm]


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