Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, had use of a Republican Party of Florida credit card and says he supports the release of all credit card detail to clear the air over the growing perception that some officials may have misused them.
"I've gone back and looked at mine," Atwater said of his expenditures. "I wouldn't care who saw them. I don't care who sees mine ... There's nothing that I'm the least bit concerned about."
Atwater, a candidate for CFO, said he typically used the card to gas up his minivan or stayed at a hotel while helping to recruit and support Republican Senate candidates in 2008. He said he had a card for the better part of two years, from the time he was designated as Senate president in late 2007 to the summer of 2009. In an interview with BayNews 9 and the St. Petersburg Times, Atwater said the controversy over the cards' use forced him to turn his in.
"What ended it was when I saw what had happened," he said, referring to a furor over the cards' use (that escalated after a prosecutor released former House Speaker Ray Sansom's card expenses). "I saw what had happened and said, you know what? Every one of us is going to be drawn into how was it used, and what was it used for and we should as a party just hand these things back. If I go out and get gas I send back a receipt for reimbursement."
-- Steve Bousquet