Bill Protects Secrecy of Political Party Credit Card Statements

John Thrasher
State Sen. John Thrasher resigned recently as chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, shortly after taking over as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
TAMPA (2010-2-23) -

Three days before he became the Republican Party of Florida’s new chairman, state Senator John Thrasher gave his party a gift - a proposed law shielding political parties from having to disclose their credit card statements.

Right now, state law says that parties are supposed to turn over “a copy of each credit card receipt” for public review.

But a ruling by the state Division of Elections allows party officials to fill out electronic forms that reveal only some of the credit card spending.

The current system missed $173,000 in controversial charges by former House Speaker Ray Sansom.

Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo says the new bill cements this loophole into law. He broke the story Monday.

“What this legislation that passed through John Thrasher’s committee does, it continues to shield from public view the credit card statements that, in the original statute, said should be released in their entirety,” Caputo said.

None of Sansom’s questionable spending was disclosed by the state Republican Party – something Caputo says would continue with this new bill.

Thrasher has since stepped down as chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. His spokeswoman says the credit card changes came not from the Senator, but from the Secretary of State’s office.

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