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Ethics still issue in race

State Senate hopeful Tom Hogan on Wednesday lashed out again at incumbent Sen. Karen Thurman, saying the Dunnellon Democrat has sponsored 22 pieces of legislation favorable to industries that gave her more than $40,000 in campaign contributions. Hogan, a Spring Hill Republican, has called Thurman's ethics into question for most of the campaign in Senate District 4.

But at a news conference on Wednesday, he came equipped with a 100-page booklet he compiled outlining Thurman's campaign contributions since March 1989.

The half-inch-thick booklet highlighted contributions Thurman received from the oil and gas, thoroughbred and outboard motor industries and legislation she sponsored that Hogan said was favorable to those industries.

"This is just a compilation of the things I've been talking about," Hogan said. "Hopefully it will better articulate the connection between the money she gets and the attention she gives to legislation favorable to (the contributors of) that money."

Thurman did not deny that she had received campaign contributions from the different interests, but she said that the legislation she sponsored or helped sponsor was not always favorable to those industries.

"And if you notice something, the contributions for the most part didn't come until after those bills were sponsored," she said.

Specifically, Hogan said that Thurman received more than $15,500 in contributions from oil and gas industries and sponsored four bills he deemed as being favorable to those industries.

He also said that she received $21,300 in contributions from horse racing and pari-mutuel betting interests and sponsored 18 bills he called favorable to those industries. Among them was a 1988 bill designed to increase the tax exemption allowed for dog-racing and jai alai revenues. Thurman also sponsored bills permitting minors to attend horse races and to allow the telecast of horse races at pari-mutuel facilities.

Hogan said Thurman received contributions from Outboard Motors Corp. and voted against legislation that would have restricted that conglomerate of boat and boat motor companies.

Through September, Thurman had received approximately $150,000 in campaign contributions from a number of different groups, businesses and individuals.

"What I see here is that I'm supposed to return every contribution I get, because I've sponsored legislation for veterans, for the elderly and for others, and I've also received (contributions) from them," she said.

"All of that (legislation) was sponsored because it resulted in positive results for the state of Florida," she said. "It makes no matter where the money comes from."