Fundraising Rule Hampers Thrasher GOP Chairman Hopes

John Thrasher
State Senator John Thrasher is seeking legal advice about the fundraising controversy.
TAMPA (2010-1-7) -

If St. Augustine state Senator John Thrasher was appointed chairman of the Florida GOP, would he have to stop raising money during the 60-day legislative session?

Democrats say a Senate rule prohibiting fundraising during the session would apply to Thrasher’s new role.

Greer says he doesn’t think the rule would be a problem, and says he’s seeking a legal opinion on the matter.

When Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer announced his resignation earlier this week, it didn’t take long for pundits and insiders to anoint Thrasher as heir apparent.

But during the 60-day legislative session, senators aren’t allowed to raise money for themselves, other campaigns, or even their own party.

The rule says, “The Senator may not directly or indirectly solicit, cause to be solicited, or accept any contribution.”

Considering how party leaders are supposed to raise lots and lots of money, Democrats are asking how Thrasher can be GOP chairman at all. They say the rule would even prevent GOP party staff from raising money during the session.

University of Florida law professor Joseph Little says it will be up to Thrasher's fellow Senators to decide his fate.

“It’s a rule that the Senate has adopted for governing its members, and the ultimate enforcement of the rule, and the determination of what it means, is in the hands of the senators themselves,” Little said.

And ultimately, it would take 2/3 of those senators to censure, reprimand or expel own of their own.

Thrasher is a leading candidate for the job, but there are others, including Ft. Lauderdale GOP activist Sharon Day.

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