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Elected without opposition, some state lawmakers give big to political parties

Re-elected without opposition this summer, Rep. Dana Young had the strange but fortunate problem of having $200,000 in her campaign bank account and nothing to spend it on.

By law, Young couldn't keep the money for herself or hold onto it for her next campaign.

So instead she did the next best thing — cutting two checks to the Republican Party of Florida totaling about $150,000.

Young, a Tampa Republican, is one of about 50 lawmakers who — with no rival to bury in signs or television ads — poured their leftover political donations this year into the coffers of political parties and committees affiliated with the state's most powerful lawmakers. The GOP-led Legislature in 2011 lifted a $10,000 cap on political contributions for excess campaign money, making the transactions possible.

Under state law, candidates can steer that money to political parties, to charity or return it to their donors. They also can steer money to their state office accounts, or if they're feeling generous, donate the money to the state treasury.

Read more here.