Make us your home page

Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement.

Alex is a graduate of Ithaca College (journalism/anthropology) and began his career at the Valley News in New Hampshire. Alex was born in La Crosse, Wis., and raised in upstate New York along with six brothers and sisters. He lives in Washington.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Watchdog groups ask Justice Department to investigate Jeb Bush's Super Pac

    State Roundup

    Two watchdog groups on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Jeb Bush and his Super PAC are "engaged in knowing and willful violations of the campaign finance laws," the latest in a string of complaints against the Florida Republican.

    The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, based in Washington, ask Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to conduct an investigation....

    Jeb Bush speaks during the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference May 22 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. [Getty Images]
  2. Court decision blocking Obama's immigration plan could affect 182,000 people in Florida


    A court ruling Tuesday to block implementation of President Obama’s latest program to shield illegal immigrants from deportation will have widespread implications in Florida.

    Experts estimate that as many as 182,000 adults in Florida would have been eligible to participate in the program know as DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. It resembles DACA, which is already in effect, and focuses on younger undocumented immigrants....

  3. Watchdogs ask Justice Department to investigate Jeb Bush campaign


    Two watchdog groups today asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Jeb Bush and his Super PAC are “engaged in knowing and willful violations of the campaign finance laws.”

    The complaint comes from the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, groups that have raised questions before about Bush’s Right to Rise committee. They ask Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to conduct an investigation....

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush delivers a speech during April's annual meeting of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Ohio.
  4. President Obama making 39th trip to Florida


    President Obama loves Florida.

    Today, he's making his 39th visit since he was first elected, attending a pair of fundraisers in Miami and then visiting the National Hurricane Center on Thursday.

    It’s Obama's 16th visit to Miami alone, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News reporter in Washington who keeps statistics on the president’s travel.

    “Aside from DC neighbors VA and MD, FL is Obama’s 3rd most frequent destination behind NY (49 visits) and OH (41 visits),” Knoller told the Tampa Bay Times in an email....

    Obama steps off Air Force One in Miami on April 22, 2015, followed by U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Carlos Curbelo
  5. Club for Growth praises Alan Grayson in new ad


    The Club for Growth is out with an unusual TV ad praising Alan Grayson and criticizing Patrick Murphy over the Ex-Im Bank.

    "The ad will begin airing tomorrow statewide on MSNBC and other outlets in Florida, and it represents the third phase in an overall $1 million campaign, including digital advertising," the conservative group said in a news release.

    Grayson, who could challenge Murphy for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, opposes the Export-Import Bank....

  6. Marco Rubio on gay marriage and a 'real and present danger' to Christianity


    Marco Rubio lashed out at gay rights activists in an interview aired Tuesday, saying anyone who does not believe in same-sex marriage is labeled a "hater."

    “We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” Rubio told Christian Broadcasting Network. “Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. ... After they are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech and that's a real and present danger."...

  7. Scott Walker suggests he could sit out Florida primary


    UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: A Walker spokeswoman writes: "Governor Walker is not a candidate. Should he decide to move forward, that decision will be made at the appropriate time."

    Scott Walker suggested in a radio interview with Laura Ingraham today that he could sit out Florida's March 15, 2016, Republican presidential primary.

    "I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in -- other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are in some of the polls essentially tied and they are going to eat up a good amount of that financial advantage that Gov. Bush is going to have. Remember, Rick Scott spent something like $100 million running for governor there last year."...

  8. Could June be when Jeb Bush finally makes it official?


    When, Jeb, when?

    It has been five months since Jeb Bush announced he was “actively” exploring running for president. Five months. Tens of millions of dollars raised. Thousands of miles traveled. And still no official campaign. All we got was Bush saying he is running, then quickly correcting himself....

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush delivers the commencement address at Liberty University this month in Lynchburg, Va.
  9. Why the 'Pawn Stars' host is backing Marco Rubio


    Marco Rubio celebrates his 44th birthday in Las Vegas on Thursday and what better way than a fundraiser? Rubio is getting a hand from Rick Harrison of “Pawn Stars.”

    The two bonded over lunch in Los Angeles recently. “The entire time I talked to him, all he wanted to talk about was people and he never mentioned the party once. Which was a really big deal to me," Harrison told Fox and Friends....

  10. What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of May 25


    What Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are up to the week of May 25.

    Rubio is attending fundraisers in Chicago and Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday then heads to Nevada on Thursday and Friday. Rubio turns 44 on Thursday and he’ll celebrate with a Las Vegas fundraiser hosted by Rick Harrison of “Pawn Stars” and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, who his chairing Rubio’s effort in the state....

  11. Jeb Bush getting a vacation home in Maine


    The following is from the Boston Globe:

    KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Jeb Bush, who has a longtime relationship with this seaside town where generations of Bushes have vacationed, is having a house built for him at the family compound on Walker’s Point, with a wraparound porch and expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean.

    The home, on a 1.3-acre site assessed by the town at $1.4 million, was initiated for him by his mother and father, who have tried to preserve the family ties to the picturesque property....

    A rendering of the home being built for Jeb Bush.
  12. Florida GOP's plan to win 2016


    Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, writes about "Project 29" in the Tampa Tribune:

    At our recent spring quarterly meeting, I introduced our plan for 2016: Project 29. Our first goal of Project 29 will be to fully engage with all communities, Hispanics and African-Americans, seniors and millennials, students and taxpayers, to talk about the issues facing our nation....

  13. NSA data collection divides Republican presidential hopefuls

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — The last time Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky staged a marathon protest on the Senate floor, over the government drone policy, fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio rushed to stand by his side.

    This week, Paul tried to recapture that spirit, inveighing for 10.5 hours against the National Security Agency's data collection program — an effort that also attempted to boost his presidential campaign....

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky spent hours on the Senate floor Wednesday speaking against the NSA’s data collection program.
  14. Jeb Bush: Republicans need to 'get outside of our comfort zone'


    Jeb Bush played up his reputation as “Veto Corleone” in a speech today and said Republicans need to “get outside of our comfort zone” and reach Hispanics, African-Americans and college students.

    “I think we need to get beyond preaching to the choir,” the former Florida governor said at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma. “Get outside of our comfort zone,” and into the Latino barrios, black churches and college campuses....

  15. Fox News host says of Rubio's finances: 'Who cares?'


    Fox News host Neil Cavuto accused the news media of beating up on Marco Rubio for writing about his personal finances, and revelation Rubio cashed in a retirement account to pay for a refrigerator and other things.

    “Who cares?” the host asked during a segment Thursday. (Apparently another Fox News host, among others.)

    Cavuto and a guest said reporters were essentially doing an inverse version of the scrutiny paid to Mitt Romney’s wealth....