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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. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Trump fires an operative over apparent Florida squabble


    Donald Trump's campaign on Wednesday fired operative Rick Wiley amid interal turmoil that leads to Florida.

    "Rick Wiley was hired on a short-term basis as a consultant until the campaign was running full steam," the campaign said in a statement. "It is now doing better than ever, we are leading in the polls, and we have many exciting events ready to go, far ahead of schedule, while Hillary continues her long, boring quest against Bernie. We would like to thank Rick for helping us during this transition period."...

  2. Rubio rakes in more money from book sales


    Marco Rubio earned an additional $102,500 in 2015 from book royalties, his financial disclosure form shows. That adds to the $1 million or more he'd already earned from two books, chiefly An American Son published in 2012.

    He also earned $9,016 for teaching at Florida International University. His wife shows "partnership distributions" for JDR Events but Rubio is only required to say it was more than $1,000....

  3. Florida lawmakers frustrated over Zika funding inaction


    With Congress set to go on -- another -- vacation, Florida lawmakers are worried about Zika funding. 

    Sen. Bill Nelson today sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a letter urging him to keep the chamber in session.

    "Though the House passed a stand-alone bill to provide a mere $622 million and the Senate attached $1.1 billion in Zika funding as an amendment to a larger appropriations package, we are still weeks away, at best, from passing a final bill out of Congress," Nelson wrote. "Without the passage of a stand-alone Zika funding bill by the Senate, there is no clear path forward. I have tried repeatedly to pass a bill to fund the Administration’s request and send it to the House. Unfortunately, each attempt was blocked. For these reasons, I ask you to exercise your power as the Senate majority leader to take up consideration of a stand-alone funding bill (S. 2843) to address Zika, and to even delay the Memorial Day recess if Congress needs more time to pass the bill."...

  4. Mystery donor gave $13.5 million to 'dark money' group supporting Marco Rubio


    A single, unnamed donor gave $13.5 million to a "dark money" nonprofit supporting Marco Rubio's presidential campaign -- and his or her identify may forever be a secret.

    The donation was revealed in a tax document obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics, which unpacked how the money went to consultants with close ties to the Florida Republican, despite the Conservative Solution Project's supposed independence....

    A web of connections
  5. Sanders' campaign keeps up attacks on Debbie Wasserman Schultz


    Bernie Sanders' campaign is not relenting on criticism of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, accusing her of showing favortism to Hillary Clinton.

    "Well, I do feel certainly that the process has not been fair as administered by Debbie Wasserman Schultz," campaign manager Jeff Weaver said on Fox & Friends. "I have to say that is not everybody at the DNC, we have very good relationships with many people at the DNC. I have conversations with high level DNC people on a regular basis and you know I think there are a lot of people in the DNC who have been very put off by the way in which Debbie Wasserman Schultz has run this whole thing.”...

  6. Trump responds to Clilnton attack on housing crash: 'I’m a businessman, that's what I'm supposed to do'


    “This low-life, she puts on an ad: 'Did you know that Donald Trump was rooting against housing because he wanted housing to go down because he wanted to buy.’

    “I’m a businessman, that's what I'm supposed to do. That's what I'm supposed to do. I mean, I'm a businessman.”

    Donald Trump on Tuesday evening in Albuquerque, N.M., reacting to Hillary Clinton attack over his comments about capitalizing on a housing market collapse.

    The Clinton campaign enlisted Democrats across the country on Tuesday — including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn — to highlight the issue....

  7. Rubio does the robot


    Marco Rubio poked fun at himself this morning in a tweet that linked to a story in which he expressed regret for trying to tangle with Chris Christie on the debate state in New Hampshire.

    "I think if we had made a strategic decision in New Hampshire different from the one I made — which was not to engage with Chris Christie, but to try to just ignore it and just stay on message — that would have been a nothing," Rubio told The Guardian....

  8. Online ad knocks Florida lawmakers for payday lender support


    Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Dennis Ross are accused of “sabotaging” new payday loan regulations in a web ad from a liberal group critical of the industry.

    The video notes how much money the lawmakers have received from payday lenders and says they are trying to block reforms championed by President Obama.

    The video will be a “targeted” buy on Facebook to “Florida political observers, some folks in congressional districts for members that are mentioned in the spot as well as people on Capitol Hill,” said Allied Progress spokesman Brad Bauman. The video mentions former Rep. Kendrick Meek as an industry "frontman."

    The payday loan issue has risen in recent months, with Wasserman Schultz facing tough ads from the liberal group and her primary challenger Tim Canova. She and nearly all other members of the Florida delegation have defended Florida regulations as a national model.

    Legislation Ross has introduced a bill would restrict changes to Florida law by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Twelve other Florida lawmakers are co-sponsors....

  9. Jeb Bush rejoins his education foundation


    Jeb Bush is rejoining his education foundation.

    He stepped down from the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) as part of his presidential run. He will take over as chairman and president of the board, replacing Condoleezza Rice. She will remain a member of the board, according to a news release.

    “One of the greatest challenges and opportunities we have in America today is to create a 21st century education system that ensures all students have the skills, teachers and educational options they need to succeed in life,” said Governor Bush. “Too many children right now are failed by a deeply flawed bureaucratic system, but I’m optimistic about the future because I’ve seen the great results produced by states across the country. It is an honor to rejoin ExcelinEd as we continue to support states in bringing choice, innovation and accountability to the classroom. I am thankful to Dr. Rice and this exceptional board for their leadership over the past year.” ...

  10. St. Petersburg developer Mel Sembler to help raise money for Trump


    St. Petersburg's Mel Sembler will help raise money for Donald Trump, the RNC announced today.

    Sembler was named a vice chairman of the Trump Victory Committee, a joint effort between the party and Trump's campaign. It may take some Republicans by surprise as Sembler backed Jeb Bush then said he wished Marco Rubio would get the nomination.

    Sembler had expressed concern about Trump and said he would devote his time to defeating Florida's medical marijuana initiative....

    Trump Victory Committee
  11. Bob Buckhorn helps Clinton campaign bash Trump over housing market comments


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn teamed up with the Hillary Clinton campaign today to denounce comments from Donald Trump about the housing market crash.

    “We were ground zero of this mortgage meltdown,” Buckhorn said on a conference call organized by the campaign. “I’m not sure how you make America great again by rooting for it to fail so you can make a quick buck.”...

  12. Patrick Murphy's BP oil spill work in question


    BP oil gushed in the Gulf of Mexico in spring 2010, motivating Patrick Murphy to quit his job as an accountant and embark on a mission to protect the Florida Keys, where he'd grown up.

    Though oil never reached the Keys, Murphy has used the experience to cast himself as an entrepreneur with an environmental conscience. "Immediately following the BP oil spill, Congressman Murphy spent six months in the Gulf of Mexico leading cleanup efforts with his small business, Coastal Environmental Services," reads his official House website....

    April 2010: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Louisiana coast
  13. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy touts BP oil cleanup work, but his record raises questions

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — BP oil gushed in the Gulf of Mexico in spring 2010, motivating Patrick Murphy to quit his job as an accountant and embark on a mission to protect the Florida Keys, where he'd grown up.

    "No one down there was talking about what they were going to do to clean up or even be prepared for this oil," Murphy said in a January 2013 television interview, just after he had been sworn in as a member of Congress....

    Patrick Murphy celebrates with supporters after claiming victory at an election night watch party in Palm Beach Gardens on Nov. 7, 2012. (Thomas Cordy/Palm Beach Post/MCT)
  14. Tim Canova says he raised $250,000 after Bernie Sanders endorsed him


    Tim Canova's campaign said Monday he raised more than $250,000 since being endorsed by Bernie Sanders over the weekend. Canova also appeared on MSNBC and said Debbie Wasserman Schultz's popularity back in Florida "is a bit of a myth."


  15. Super PAC reserves $10.5 million in air time to help Dems take Rubio seat


    Senate Majority PAC said Monday it is reserving $10.5 million in TV time in Florida in an effort to capture the seat now held by Marco Rubio.

    "Republicans are going to nominate a far right, Tea Party candidate who is out of touch with Florida's middle-class. We're going to be ready to hold their eventual nominee accountable," said Shripal Shah, a spokesman for the super PAC.

    He said the ads would begin in September and run through Election Day, on both cable and broadcast television. The PAC has also set aside time in New Hampshire, Nevada and Ohio. CNN has more....