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Elections complaint filed against Charlie Crist for ad shot in public school


Charlie Crist is now facing an elections complaint over an ill-advised campaign ad filmed at the public high school that is his alma mater.

First came the revelation that the ad shot at St. Petersburg High violated Pinellas school district rules prohibiting the use of their property for political purposes. The school's administrators had given Crist permission to shoot the ad, but they shouldn't have. Soon after, the school system's lawyer asked Crist to stop running the ad. 

Today, the Republican Party of Florida announced it has filed an official complaint about Crist's ad to the Florida Elections Commission. The crux of the argument, according to GOP spokeswoman Susan Hepworth, is that "Crist improperly used school staff and administration resources to produce the ad, and the ad creates the impression that the school endorsed Crist."

Crist's campaign accused the GOP of playing politics while ignoring that Gov. Rick Scott also stands accused of misusing public resources -- the powerful optics of campaigning with uniformed officers in his case -- for partisan reasons. A police union official filed an elections complaint against Scott about that Tampa event.

"Unlike Rick Scott, who misled police officers to get them to participate in a campaign event, we requested and received permission from the school to shoot the ad," Crist spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said via email. "... The real reason the Scott campaign doesn't want folks seeing this ad is because the truth hurts and they don't want Floridians to know that Rick Scott cut education by $1.3 billion and slashed Bright Futures scholarships in half."


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Highly paid Republican operative

School's out forever!

Apparently the boys in HQ's have nothing better to do.

ed jenkins

Democrat primary voters are disgusted that they have to put up with these daily embarrassments as this scumbag crist who was sent by republican party leaders to destroy the democrat party does the job they intended. They have pleaded with ignorant party leaders to realize what is going on and remove party leader preferred status and remove him from their ballots.


Where was the RPOF complaint when this happened?

“Republican Rudy Giuliani, leading in most national polls but moving slower than his rivals in building a Florida campaign, drew at least 300 people to St. Petersburg High School eager to see the former New York City mayor made famous in the aftermath of 9/11.”


Now granted, that wasn't Rick Scott. But it was a republican using the same school for the same purposes and it could be construed as creating "... the impression that the school endorsed [Giuliani]." which is their own argument as to why it should not be allowed.

Crist gets permission from the school (which perhaps should not have been granted), but Rick Scott won't answer questions about inviting uniformed cops to a campaign event so he could have a 'photo op' creating the impression that 'these cops endorse Rick Scott".

Crist gets flown in a plane to a conference and the RPOF gets all in his face about who owns the plane, yet Scott flies his own plane (still polluting the same amount, or actually more since it went to TX) to get wined and dined by oil companies, then comes back and hands a guy from the company a spot on the South Florida Water Management District a job, all while also selling off parcels of FL to oil and energy companies, pushing a pipeline deal that most of north Florida does not want, and very probably standing to personally benefit financially from everything he is doing as governor.

But there's a reason for the 'selective outrage' of the Scott campaign.

The Scott campaign is very much trying to push the meme that anything Scott can be criticized for, Crist did too (somewhere, sometime), because they know that frustrated voters will either not come out to vote, or will throw their vote away to a candidate who cannot possibly win.

Those tactics always - always - favor the incumbent.


The Scott campaign is desperate. Complaints like these serve to highlight the insecure, non-executive character of Scott and the RPOF in general. People are waking up to the fact that the Republicans have been in power for TOO LONG!

Bill Thompson

Florida voters are disgusted that they have to put up with these daily embarrassments from this sleazy scumbag scott and his desperate effort to revive his failing campaign. This most horrible man will do and say anything in his desperate attempt to get re-elected. The voters long for a governor with integrity and transparency like they used to have in Governors Askew, Graham and Chiles.

Florida Gator

Smells a lot like desperation from the Rick Scott camp! Rick "The Felon" Scott knows he is screwed in November.

Little Whining Vultures

Marvin, agree with your comments about accusing your opposition of which you are guilty...

On the plane issue - you muddy the water. The plane Crist used was owned by someone guilty of polluting - not that the plane pollutes.

But on the Rudy issue, the complaint was based on the fact that the school district cried foul... If the same rule was there when Rudy did the photo shoot, they would have cried foul against Rudy. But that did not happen. And believe it that if it would have happened - it too would have been an issue - probably by one of Rudy's republican opponents.


Hello Vultures ,

Didn't mean to muddy, just recalled that one of the complaints by the RPOF (when I read the first story a couple of weeks ago) was the fact that Crist was using a gas-guzzling plane.

Yes, of course you are right they are also critical of Crist using the plane of an owner who in his former business was indeed fined for polluting - his construction site did not contain the pollutants from runoff in a particularly wet year.

But here again the people slinging this stupid stuff fail to connect the dots - Scott has so deregulated environmental protections that if this businessman had been doing the exact same thing this year, he probably would not have been cited nor fined and thus not even called a 'polluter' (thus supposing the RPOF could not be critical of Crist's decision).

They're desperately trying to find anything to make Crist look worse than Scott on the issue of the Florida environment and pushing"Crist-flies-with-polluters" is so, so very weak.


Hello again Vultures,

As for the complaint, seems the RPOF was also OK with using schools for their candidates in 2012:


They can try to act like both the school thing and the plane thing are serious issues, but they just are not. I think it would be best to let both go, let the complaint process work its way through, and not bring it up again, but I have serious doubts about that happening.

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