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Bud Chiles calls for stricter campaign finance laws

On a leafy side street in a nice neighborhood in Tampa, independent candidate for governor Lawton "Bud" Chiles railed against Florida's campaign finance system while standing in front of an accounting office associated with dozens of political committees.

“This building behind me is ground zero for what’s wrong with FL politics," Chiles said. "What’s being hidden from Florida voters?

Chiles held his press conference outside Robert Watkins and Co, with the famous address (in political circles) of 610 South Boulevard. State records show that Nancy Watkins, is associated with 32 active political committees that raised just less than $12 million last year. Most of the committees are associated with Republican candidates or issues.

Watkins defended the committees: "I do believe in the public’s right and need to know. They report every penny in and out." Watkins said her one gripe is that some apparent campaign finance violations go unreported to the Florida Elections Commission.

-- Steve Bousquet

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