Larry Herring, a certified public accountant from Winter Park, is in deep trouble with the Florida Elections Commission. He is facing at least $12,000 worth of fines for his handling of Citizens for Florida's Future, a defunct committee of continuous existence set up by former Rep. Randy Johnson, who is now on the transition team for Governor-elect Charlie Crist.
Herring has gotten into trouble because he paid thousands of dollars worth of credit card bills racked up by Johnson and which were paid from funds contributed to the CCE. The expenses covered everything from car and RV repairs, to a trip to Washington D.C. where Johnson bought tie pins from the U.S. Senate gift shop. Also included was a check to the Orlando Volleyball Academy, which had purchased airline tickets for Johnson that the CCE reimbursed. Investigators were able to delve into the CCE's affairs even though hurricanes had destroyed many records, opting to subpoena bank records. Click here to read the investigative report: Download herring_recommendation.doc
The elections commission at its meeting in late November found probable cause that Herring had broken several election laws, included one that limits $500 contributions to candidates, a violation which can garner severe penalties. The argument used by the elections commission is that the expenses aided Johnson's 2004 re-election campaign. Click here to view the order:Download herring_probable_cause_order.doc
By taking this action the elections commission is insisting that there are in fact limits on what CCE's can do _ which is different in how others have viewed them. Mark Herron, an attorney for Herring, says his client will fight the charges, including asserting that the commission went outside its jurisdiction to charge his client with charges not raised in the initial complaint. Herron also maintains that there is no proof that expenses paid by the CCE aided Johnson's re-election campaign.