Steve Contorno, National Political Correspondent

Steve Contorno

National Political Correspondent

I'm the National Political Correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times. It's my job to tell you what is going on in Washington that might affect you as a Floridian. Above all else, I want to hold your government and elected representatives in Congress accountable. Maybe you'll also learn something interesting or funny from me, too. I grew up just outside Chicago, went to the University of Illinois and covered politics and government in Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington, D.C., before joining the Tampa Bay Times as a PolitiFact writer in 2013. I may have started in a notoriously corrupt state, but I've learned grift and greed don't end at state boundaries. And neither do the good intentions of well-meaning people. Your emails and tips keep me going (as do black coffee, Chipotle and dreams of witnessing a Chicago Bears Super Bowl).

Why is a Florida for-profit prison company backing bipartisan criminal justice reform?

[CARL JUSTE/MIAMI HERALD STAFF, SOUTH BAY, FLORIDA ---- Inmates in 2003 take a lunch break during their work shift. Imates manufacture a wide variety of goods, most used to be sold to the State, but now the non-profits are partnering with the private sector, and is seeking partners in order to install more businesses in prisons. 4 OF 10 PHOTOS
GEO Group says reducing prison recidivism is in line with their missions. But the company is also well positioned to profit off a new-found interest in post-prison rehabilitation.

Problems with Florida’s concealed weapons program are worse than first reported

Adam Putnam touts his efforts to expand concealed carry gun permits in Florida in a Facebook ad. [Facebook]
The Department of Agriculture wrongly reported to the public how many licenses were revoked from people who failed background checks, and agency officials failed to tell auditors about problems...

Florida elections official who allowed Hurricane Michael survivors to vote by email stands by decision

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TimesThe coastal township of Mexico Beach, population 1200, lay devastated on Thursday (10/11/18) after Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.
Bay County's Mark Anderson defended his use of fax and email ballots for people displaced by the hurricane and explained how his staff managed to pull off an election weeks after a storm hit.

Ross Spano should be disqualified from Congress after illegal campaign loans, top Florida Democrat says

Rep. Ross Spano
The newly elected Republican acknowledged over the weekend that his campaign financing 'may have been in violation' of federal law.

Confusion clouds restoration of Florida felons’ voting rights

Supporters of voting rights for felons marched in Fort Lauderdale [STEVE BOUSQUET - Times]
'(The state) didn't give us any direction,' one election supervisor complains.