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Sansom left with little to do but defend himself

A4s_sansom110509_92679c On Nov. 5, 2008, Ray Sansom pulled up a chair before a swarm of reporters and essentially began his term as speaker of the Florida House, exulting in Republican success at the polls the night before and staring down a $2 billion budget deficit.

"It's going to be a tough one, no question about it," he said of the coming year.

A few weeks later, those words would prove brutally true. Sansom, one of the three most powerful politicians in Florida, saw his reign collapse after taking a high-paying job at his hometown college, exposing $35 million in tax money he funneled to the school.

Now, precisely one year later, a special House committee will decide this morning whether to continue its investigation into whether Sansom broke the rules, a tribunal that could result in exoneration, reprimand or expulsion from office. An investigator found probable cause of wrongdoing in several areas. Sansom's lawyer has asked for a delay because a criminal case involving the same issues is unresolved. (story here)