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Sansom Hearing

February 15th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

It has been just over a year since former House Speaker Ray Sansom
resigned under a cloud of suspicion. Since then, his House colleagues
have spent almost a quarter million dollars investigating whether he
violated House rules by taking a job at his hometown college after
sending millions to the NW Florida State College. As Mike Vasilinda
tells us, one of the perk’s of being House Speakers is funding for
schools in the district.

Former House Speaker TK Wetherell sent 40 million dollars to build classrooms
around FSU’s football stadium. Lee Moffit created a renowned cancer
center at the University of South Florida. Other speakers have had Civic
Centers named in their honor. But none of the House speakers did what Ray Sansom
did…take a job funded by the largess he sent his hometown college.

Since Sansom resigned a year ago, state lawmakers have spent a quarter million dollars in the legal fees. An official hearing is set for February 22

There is a very real possibility that the leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and two or three other past or present officials, could be forced to raise their hands and tell the truth. That’s creating a lot of pressure for a settlement.

The most damaging testimony could involve former House Speaker MarcoRubio. Sansom was his budget chief when the money for the school was appropriated. State Representative Bill Galvano acknowledges that negotiations are taking place that could result in a settlement. Democrats are crying foul.

“The Republicans just want to whitewash this and it’s clear that anything short of expulsion is just a whitewash,” Florida Democratic Party Spokesperson Eric Jotkoff said.

But any negotiated settlement would likely allow Sansom to remain in the House until his term expires in November. Otherwise, he’s got nothing to lose by rolling the dice.

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