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Busy defending McCollum, RPOF taps dry its federal account

The Republican Party of Florida's latest federal campaign finance account -- the rich source of funds for get-out-the vote efforts, voter registration drives and even staff salaries -- has dipped to an unusually low $54,000.

(The numbers: $468,500 in cash, minus $414,850 in debt, leaves $53,650.)

Money raised in the federal account must come from individual, not corporate, contributions. Judging from the push in the past several weeks, Republican leaders have been very busy raising corporate money, but's it's apparently gone only to to the political committees aimed at boosting Attorney General Bill McCollum's campaign. (Florida First Initiative, took in more than $583k in just two days, and has $4.7m to spend.) McCollum's campaign also had a slow week and took in only $163,000 in individual contributions.

For what it's worth, the Democrats appear to be in a better shape. Their numbers: $1,647,499 in cash, minus $18,541 in debt, leaving $1,628,958.

Katie Gordon Betta, the RPOF spokesman blames it on Jim Greer, former party chairman, and the need to staff up for the general election. "We’re tring to pay down the debt we’ve inherited and trying to get our victory offices ready to go,'' she said.

She said the party inherited $400,000 in debt in the federal account from the indicted former chairman and has been working to pay that off. "There were several months in the spring where there wasn’t a lot of fundraising going on -- with Chairman Thrasher and legislators in the session." And this quarter, they're signing leases, opening offices and paying staff for their "victory" offices.

Oh yeah, and that $7,500 in expenses attributed to Jim Greer. Betta says those were all the result of him reimbursing the party for expenses and then having his check bounce.