Donors sue Crist to block use of funds

posted at 9:30 am on June 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When Charlie Crist first announced that he would bail out of the GOP primary to run as an independent, he promised that anyone wanting a refund of their campaign contributions would get one.  Later, he reneged with a wink and a smile, telling a small crowd, “I’m going to keep it!”  Now Crist will have to wink and smile at a judge as some of his donors have filed a lawsuit to block use of those funds and get their refunds (via Randy Scudder):

A Jacksonville businessman who once was one of Gov. Charlie Crist’s strongest allies in Northeast Florida is suing on behalf of Republican donors who feel cheated that Crist left the GOP without refunding campaign contributions.

John Rood, a former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas who runs The Vestcor Cos., is one of two lead plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit asking a judge to block Crist from using Republicans’ money to finance his U.S. Senate run.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Circuit Court in Collier County. Linda Morton, a donor from Naples who gave the Crist campaign $500 last December, is the other lead plaintiff. …

State Rep. Tom Grady, R-Naples, who was working on Crist’s Senate campaign until the party switch, is representing Rood and Morton.

The basic complaint: Republican donors are upset their money is being used to fund a non-Republican campaign – especially one that will be filtering votes away from another Republican candidate.

The lawsuit could be a big problem for Crist.  At the end of March, the last FEC reporting period, the campaign had $7.6 million on hand.  If the court rules that Crist owes his contributors refunds — and enough of them demand it — Crist could find his campaign bankrupt very quickly.

Of course, this proves that Crist’s argument that he represented some sort of independence from the party establishment invalid.  He had raised far more money than Marco Rubio at the point where he switched to independent; in fact, he had outraised Rubio and Kendrick Meek put together, thanks to party insiders like Rood and Morton.  Crist had appointed Rood to the Florida Board of Governors and to the state party as its finance chair in return for years of fundraising Rood did for Crist.

Does Florida election law give donors the right to ask for refunds?  We’ll soon see, but Crist’s public promise to provide them may tip the scales in court if it’s an arguable point.  His former allies may get their money back, and Crist may soon find out what it’s like to really be on his own.


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I smell a “shake-down”

Electrongod on June 29, 2010 at 9:32 AM

Could this guy be any creepier or more sleazy? Sorry JetBoy, but this man is scum.

carbon_footprint on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Words cannot describe the intense dislike I feel for this creep.

sandee on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

No matter how the case is decided in court, the money will be long gone long before that. It’s an understandable but empty gesture.

jwolf on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

If you like your doctor and plan party and platform, you can keep them.

apostic on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Also, snakes and weasels sue to block anyone from comparing them to this corrupt POS.

rbj on June 29, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Crist is a prime example of the type of politician we need to get rid of, no matter which party they belong to.

Vashta.Nerada on June 29, 2010 at 9:35 AM

No matter how the case is decided in court, the money will be long gone long before that. It’s an understandable but empty gesture.

jwolf on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Yeah, but if he spends it and is then ordered by a judge to refund it to the donors, where does he come up with all those millions?

Doughboy on June 29, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Isn’t bait and switch illegal in Florida?

Akzed on June 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

The “Donate to Charlie Crist” add accompanying this blog entry is pretty funny.

DrAllecon on June 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Now would probably be a good time for Kendrick Meek to watch his six.

Jorge Bonilla on June 29, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Choo Choo Charlie Crist sounds like he would be more at home selling used cars in Jacksonville than he would be stinking up some public office someone was stupid enough to elect him to.

pilamaye on June 29, 2010 at 9:37 AM

If the judge allows refunds, I’m going to suddenly recall sending Crist $1,000 in cash and I want it back.

Bishop on June 29, 2010 at 9:38 AM

I guess it’s not surprising that guys like this (and everyone on the left) have such an entitlement attitude to government…they certainly seem to think they’re entitled.

MainelyRight on June 29, 2010 at 9:41 AM

The concern should be about those who support this cretin. They live among us. There should be some sort of a ‘I voted for Christ’ registry to protect our communities.

frizzbee on June 29, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Christ!!
Crist

I’m off the coffee.

frizzbee on June 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM

I hope this is heard expeditiously, decided in time to make a difference. This scumbag loser deserves to lose everything he lied to obtain. The Senate seat, the Governor’s mansion, all the GOP campaign contributions to get revoked along with the support of those people when he stabbed them in the back for his own pride and ambition.

Please, Florida, stomp him out!

Brian1972 on June 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Also, snakes and weasels sue to block anyone from comparing them to this corrupt POS.

rbj on June 29, 2010 at 9:34 AM

My backyard snake SSSSSid would be enraged.

katy the mean old lady on June 29, 2010 at 9:44 AM

WOOT! I love this. Party switch should be forced to refund contributions. If I was a state Rep. I would be introducing legislation to enforce that policy. I hope they win.

EliTheBean on June 29, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Amazingly, Crist almost makes Arlen Specter look ethical.

I think Arlen promised refunds when he switched, and did give them to people who asked.

Wethal on June 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Crist says: Suckas!

Mr. Joe on June 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM

he is a crapweasel

Wade on June 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Talk about an “oily” politician! I hope they don’t make it easy for him – these change of party switches should have consequences.

mozalf on June 29, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Yeah, but if he spends it and is then ordered by a judge to refund it to the donors, where does he come up with all those millions?

Doughboy on June 29, 2010 at 9:35 AM

I don’t know anything about the law or accounting, but I speculate that the money is held in the name of an organization that will cease to exist or go bankrupt. No way Crist personally will be on the hook. He’s rotten but he’s not stupid.

jwolf on June 29, 2010 at 9:55 AM

No wonder why the Obama bunch is showing some interest in Crist, he is exactly their type of guy. You know–corrupt, no ethics or principles.

mobydutch on June 29, 2010 at 9:55 AM

What minority group does Crist represent with his orange skin color?

mobydutch on June 29, 2010 at 9:57 AM

If the judge allows refunds, I’m going to suddenly recall sending Crist $1,000 in cash and I want it back.

Bishop on June 29, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Did you receive your BP oil spill compensation yet?

WashJeff on June 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM

What minority group does Crist represent with his orange skin color?

mobydutch on June 29, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Oompa-Loompas

WashJeff on June 29, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Since one cannot be simply called an American anymore, I guess Crist is an Orange American.

mobydutch on June 29, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Does Florida election law give donors the right to ask for refunds? We’ll soon see, but Crist’s public promise to provide them may tip the scales in court if it’s an arguable point.

–The problem the donors are going to have is that Christ made that promise after they gave Christ the money. If they had given the money after Christ made the promise, they’d have a much stronger case for detrimental reliance.

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

If this isn’t part of election law, it should be, even extending to sitting officials. If a group of republicans support a candidate and that person changes parties before or after being elected, they should have to give back any donations that are requested. In fact, I don’t think they should be able to change parties after being elected. They can wait til next time and run as a different party candidate.

Kissmygrits on June 29, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Kissmygrits on June 29, 2010 at 10:06 AM Since when do laws matter?

mobydutch on June 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Did you receive your BP oil spill compensation yet?
WashJeff on June 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM

No. The money extorted given freely by BP to the relief fund for victims of the oil spill has mysteriously disappeared, though curiously enough the local union bosses are all building new houses and driving new cars.

Bishop on June 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Charlie Crist puts home and comfort into the polls that show he is ahead. The election season lays before us and current polls mean little. Crist, Rubio, and Meeks will get to debate one another. We got a glimpse into Chuck’s debating skills on Fox New Sunday awhile back. Heh.

Charlie won’t win in November. It won’t even end up close.

jdflorida on June 29, 2010 at 10:13 AM

What a sleaze. It’s so pathetic that some people are holding this guy up as some paragon of virtue, as a man who puts principle above party. It’s such absolute BS. Only low life scum would say ‘sure, I’ll refund the money’ then turn around and keep it.

Hope he’s forced to refund every dime.

changer1701 on June 29, 2010 at 10:13 AM

he is a crapweasel

Wade on June 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

If we are going to go down the rodent road, can we call him a ratf***er?

thebrokenrattle on June 29, 2010 at 10:14 AM

“Does Florida election law give donors the right to ask for refunds? We’ll soon see, but Crist’s public promise to provide them may tip the scales in court if it’s an arguable point. His former allies may get their money back, and Crist may soon find out what it’s like to really be on his own.”

I’d go for another law suit independent of that, seeking a refund based on his almost total reversal of positions. People don’t donate just because of a person, they donate because that person convinces the donors he will advance their political positions.

Asking for money based on certain positions and switching positions after getting the money is fraud, plain and simple. Holding politicians financially responsible, if not legally responsible for fraud may go far to cleaning up the cesspool that politics has become, and to further that cause, I suggest people who donate include some reason for donating on their check. For example, in Crist’s case, having had “Advance Republican Party cause” on the check would have sealed a judgment for the plantiffs here.

Dusty on June 29, 2010 at 10:18 AM

The problem the donors are going to have is that Christ made that promise after they gave Christ the money. If they had given the money after Christ made the promise, they’d have a much stronger case for detrimental reliance.

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Maybe just a series of typos, but writing his name as “Christ” borders on blasphemy. Then again, the real Christ died in the company of thieves.

Steve Z on June 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM

If you made your girlfriend your fiancee and gave her a ring, could’nt you rescind the proposal and get your ring back if you found out your girl friend was really a man in a dress?

tommylotto on June 29, 2010 at 10:25 AM

The problem the donors are going to have is that Christ made that promise after they gave Christ the money. If they had given the money after Christ made the promise, they’d have a much stronger case for detrimental reliance.

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM
Maybe just a series of typos, but writing his name as “Christ” borders on blasphemy. Then again, the real Christ died in the company of thieves.

Steve Z on June 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Sorry. Made the same mistake as frizzbee

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM

If you made your girlfriend your fiancee and gave her a ring, could’nt you rescind the proposal and get your ring back if you found out your girl friend was really a man in a dress?

tommylotto on June 29, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Probably, but there she had made an explicit promise to marry you. What explicit promises did Crist make to his donors?

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM

carbon_footprint on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

I don’t think JetBoy would give you an argument now?

chemman on June 29, 2010 at 10:33 AM

This a good time to buy Rubio on Intrade. Crist has now pulled ahead there for the first time, and is at $50 vs. Rubio $38.

Jon0815 on June 29, 2010 at 10:35 AM

moar hat plzz

ReformedAndDangerous on June 29, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM

What you are saying is that an implied promise would have no meaning in the courts.

chemman on June 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Isn’t bait and switch illegal in Florida?

Akzed on June 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Yes it is.

Please, please, pleeeeeeease make Crist have to refund his donors. He deserves a smack down for that obnoxious “I’m keepin’ it” wink.

ExcessivelyDiverted on June 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM
What you are saying is that an implied promise would have no meaning in the courts.

chemman on June 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

–The question would be what that promise was.

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Could this guy be any creepier or more sleazy? Sorry JetBoy, but this man is scum.

carbon_footprint on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

I couldn’t agree more. Still can’t believe Crist has turned out like this…but alas, there it is. At this point, Charlie Crist is a narcissistic tool, and as far as I’m concerned anyone who can sill support him politically needs to get their head examined.

Guess I was simply “hoodwinked” and “bamboozled”. I hope not to make the same mistake in the future.

JetBoy on June 29, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Yesssss!!!! Crist is oily pond scum and he must be stopped at any cost.

He had a fund raiser last week on Siesta Key, and a few whom I once respected were there to support him. Given his sleaziness of the past few months, this just blows my mind.

I’m gonna go pass out some more Rubio bumper stickers.

ornery_independent on June 29, 2010 at 10:48 AM

He had a fund raiser last week on Siesta Key…

ornery_independent on June 29, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Sarasota? Used to go down there every year, my grandparents had a winter home there. If I remember right, Siesta Key has that really soft, white sand. Too bad Crist had to show his two faces at a nice beach like that.

JetBoy on June 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Hey Ed, I hope Cha Cha Charlie is paying in advance for that laughable ad under your post. Those funds will hopefully get frozen soon by a judge.

/I know it’s a G ad…just sayin’….

ornery_independent on June 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Sarasota? Used to go down there every year, my grandparents had a winter home there. If I remember right, Siesta Key has that really soft, white sand. Too bad Crist had to show his two faces at a nice beach like that.

JetBoy on June 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Yes, and Siesta Key, or more specifically Crescent Beach, still has that (tar-free) perfect sugar sand, and we’re hoping (and praying) that it will stay that way. I just hope it won’t be sacrificied on the Altar of Ojesus to kill the domestic oil industry, the way he is already sacrificing the northern gulf coast.

ornery_independent on June 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM

HOLY Crist, BATMAN. Don’t let that Joker get away with the cash!!.

mechkiller_k on June 29, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Just remember, John McCain supported him, before he unsupported him…

Vote JD. Hayworth may not be perfect, but he hasn’t screwed us like McCain did with TARP, term-limited tax cuts, Gang of 14 on judges, etc. etc.

Tim Burton on June 29, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Crist is a despicable turncoat. In an age of frivolous lawsuits, I think this is a suit with a lot of merit, and I know that if I had been stupid enough to contribute money to that Obamanomics-hawking menace, I’d be wanting it back, now, too. His laughing about deciding to keep the money people are demanding the return of should be a really graphic demonstration of his character to the people in Florida, but, apparently, a lot of Floridians are pretty stupid, considering he, this man without a party, still has solid support. It’s also a graphic demonstration of the character and level of intelligence of his supporters. If he’ll steal from these other people, apparently, they’re too stupid to realize he’ll steal from them, too. This may just be a big group of morally and ethically bankrupt people that have no problem with Crist’s tactics. If these lawsuits throw his campaign into chaos and bankruptcy, I’d love to see this happen. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Virus-X on June 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Don’t know what the final legal resolution will be, but this can’t help his campaign or fundraising.

Additionally, if he really is prevented from using this money until the appeals, etc. are exhausted- 5 months would be about right- this effectively cancels his campaign.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

cs89 on June 29, 2010 at 1:56 PM

I blame JetBoy, SquidShark and their ilk…

It’s all their fault. ;-P

JohnBG on June 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Wouldn’t soliciting funds via MAIL under false pretenses and then NOT delivering the product you promised be considered a Federal offense. As in Mail Fraud.

Crist: I will deliver a republican. HaHA I’m not a republican any more but I have your money sucker!

I bet if you or I did it would.

Just sayin’

Nelsa on June 29, 2010 at 4:32 PM

The problem the donors are going to have is that Christ made that promise after they gave Christ the money. If they had given the money after Christ made the promise, they’d have a much stronger case for detrimental reliance.

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

The question would be what that promise was.

Jimbo3 on June 29, 2010 at 10:44 AM

I know you’re normally this confused, but perhaps you could try to tone it down a little. You’re a terrible lawyer, or a bad actor, or both.

runawayyyy on June 29, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Let Megyn Kelly decide.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly holds court on Turncoat candidate Charlie Crist.

Yes! She calls Crist a “Turncoat candidate”. Gotta love it!

Nelsa on June 29, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Im in Florida and at this point Id vote for Alvin Greene over Crist.

malkinmania on June 29, 2010 at 8:39 PM