Unlike individual campaigns, it’s not always possible to know which candidates political committees support. State law requires committees to name a treasurer, chairman and registered agent but some groups fill those positions with obscure individuals so the committee can’t be tracked to the public officials they were formed to help.
One of the largest political committees this election cycle, the Liberty Foundation of Florida, is an Electioneering and Communications Organization that is run by Gainesville political consultant Pat Bainter. It received much of its money from the Republican Party of Florida and the political committee controlled by Gaetz. The committee spent money on ads attacking Senate candidates, but Gaetz was not linked directly to any of the spending.
Because political committees can transfer money from one political committee to another, “we don’t see who’s getting and giving,’’ Krassner said.
Latvala, chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, said he wants to change that. He said it is time to strengthen disclosure requirements for political committees as part of the Senate’s elections reform proposals.
“What I want to do is bring transparency to who gives and to do that you need uniform requirements for reporting on the web,’’ said Latvala. He said he wants to consider strict limits on the amount of cash parties and committees are allowed to transfer to other committees and require that all contributions be reported in a timely manner online.
Latvala, who is facing a contest against Sen. Joe Negron for Senate president in 2016, does not support Weatherford’s plan to eliminate the ability of legislators to collect unlimited campaign checks through CCEs while allowing the party to collect unlimited checks. Such system gives those who are anointed by existing party leadership an unfair advantage, he said.
“All that does is keep people like me – who might not be part of the establishment of future designees – the ability to raise significant amount of money.” he said.
Instead, Latvala said he wants to consider restricting how committees spend the vast amounts they raise.
“If you collect it, you keep it or spend it on things you’re allowed to spend it on,’’ he said.