Tom Lee: State GOP Needs Better Spending Controls

Tom Lee
Former state Senate President Tom Lee of Brandon says Republicans should reassure donors, but should not open their books to the public.
TAMPA (2010-2-11) -

Former state Senate President Tom Lee says the state Republican Party needs to develop better guidelines for how it spends its money.

But the Brandon Republican is resisting calls to open the party's books to public scrutiny, saying it could set a precedent for other private corporations.

Lee says the damage to the Republican party's image may go beyond just the allegations of abuse of donations and secret deals with top party officials.

Lee enacted several controls on use of party funds when he was state Senate president during Jeb Bush's reign in Tallahassee. He says the party needs to calm the fears major donors to the party that their money isn't being squandered.

“I think it's important to them to develop a code of conduct or a set of guiding principles with respect to fundraising expenditures, and to develop a set of internal controls so they can give the donors to our party some comfort that it's a new day,” he said.

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