Florida’s CFO crashed a state car and it’s now a campaign issue

Jimmy Patronis' opponent Jeremy Ring called for an investigation into Patronis' use of state funds.
Jimmy Patronis,[MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
Jimmy Patronis,[MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published June 22, 2018|Updated June 22, 2018

Last year, Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis got into a car accident in a state vehicle on his way to see a political consultant.

When Politico reported on Patronis' use of the vehicle seven months after the crash, the CFO reimbursed the state $4,015.62 — even though Patronis claimed he was paying Florida back for his use of the car all along. (Patronis using a state car for personal reasons would have been a violation of his agency's rules, per Politico.)

Friday, Patronis' opponent in the race for Florida CFO made the CFO's use of state funds a campaign issue.

"Using state resources for personal and political activities is an abuse of taxpayer funds and exactly the type of behavior that makes Floridians lose confidence in our government," former Democratic state Senator Jeremy Ring said in a statement. "For this reason I am calling for a full investigation into CFO Patronis' use of state resources to ensure that taxpayers aren't paying for the CFO's political activities."

A spokeswoman for the Patronis campaign brushed off Ring's calls for an investigation, calling them "desperate attacks from a desperate candidate."

"The CFO has raised nearly $4 million in this race and we continue to out-work and out-fundraise our self-financing opponent," the spokeswoman, Katie Strickland, said in a statement to the Times. "How low will Jeremy Ring go? Only time will tell."

Patronis was appointed to the CFO post by Gov. Rick Scott in 2017 after Jeff Atwater resigned.

Related coverage: Florida CFO to top financial regulator: 'I no longer have confidence in your ability to lead'