Dockery: Many in Florida Senate Had GOP Credit Cards

Paula Dockery
State Sen. Paula Dockery wants GOP state party credit card records released to determine which lawmakers had cards and which didn't.
TAMPA (2010-2-10) -

Republican state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Paula Dockery is saying that more than half the Republicans in the Florida Senate were issued credit cards from the state party.

A spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Florida calls that “ludicrous,” although she declined to say how many lawmakers were given cards.

Dockery alleges that many more lawmakers were given the cards, although she admits she has no proof to back this up beyond rumor and hearsay.

She said that’s why she wants the state Republican Party to release all its credit card records.

“Why should any state Senator have a party-issued credit card? That’s not why donors, big and small, give money to the Republican Party so some public official can charge things with their dollars,” Dockery said.

State GOP spokeswoman Katie Gordon Betta says that no members of the Legislature currently hold state GOP credit cards. But she says the party has no plans to talk about which lawmakers received cards, or how many, or how certain lawmakers were given cards and others weren’t.

It’s part of an ongoing feud among Republicans over expenses charged by top party leaders and paid for by donations.

The former state GOP executive director, Delmar Johnson, was able to personally earn more than one million points based on charges on his party-issued credit card, including $15,000 for a chartered jet to U.S. Sen. George LeMieux’s swearing in.

The GOP credit cards first became an issue last year, when it was revealed that former House Chairman Ray Sansom charged more than $170,000 on his GOP-issued credit card on things such as a European trip for his family and repeated trips to Best Buy, Starbucks and a local florist.

Until now, only Sansom, Senate President Jeff Atwater and incoming-President Mike Haridopolos have said they had the cards - and both Atwater and Haridopolos said they gave them up after Sansom's charges were made public.

Sansom said former House Speaker Marco Rubio and future House Speaker Dean Cannon also had the cards. Gov. Charlie Crist has said he did not have a card.

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