The Florida Republican Senatorial Committee blew the optics test this month when it reported it had taken $2,100 in in-kind contributions for a Dec. 18 fundraiser from Monroe's of Palm Beach, a gentlemen's club that touts itself as "the #1 Adult Entertainment Club and Steakhouse in America.''
The contribution was for beverages at the event held at the Cars of Dreams Museum in Palm Beach, said Sen. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican designated the next Senate president if Republicans hold their majority.
Were any other staff of the gentlemen's club used for the event? "Absolutely not,'' Galvano said. He said the event was organized by Palm Beach political consultant Tom DaVita and "he chose the vendor."
The Senate has been under fire for the last three months because of sexual misconduct scandals. After the Herald/Times alerted Galvano to the in-kind donation, he said he was returning the contribution.
"I've instructed the staff to send them a check,'' he said.
The FRSC fundraiser occurred the day the special master's report the second Senate report came out detailing sexual harassment allegations against Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.
The political committee also reported $1,750 in in-kind contributions from Vic & Angelo's in Palm Beach for food and beverages and $5,000 from Cars from Dreams, a Car Museum, in-kind donations for parking. DeVita's company, Resource Group, contributed $1,113 in in-kind consulting support as well.