When Gov. Charlie Crist named Tampa lawyer Steve Yerrid as his special counsel on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, he made a point that Yerrid would be providing work to the state on a pro bono basis. While the state isn't paying Yerrid at this point, the big-name trial lawyer is now helping Crist. He's contributed $12,500 to the Friends for Freedom & Prosperity -- the 527 political committee formed by Crist ally Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, to help the governor in his independent bid for U.S. Senate.
According to campaign reports, the committee is a bit slow in getting off the ground. Fasano made the first contribution of $5,000 on June 22 and Yerrid was the second on July 22. Yerrid expects that to change, however. He said he was contacted by former Senate President Ken Pruitt, who has endorsed Crist and is drumming up cash for the committee, and he said he is aware of other contributions heading into the account.
Yerrid, a registered Democrat, said there is no link between the appointment and Crist's campaign now. "I contributed to Charlie Crist's Crist's campaigns before and I gave to his U.S. Senate campaign when he was a Republican,'' he said. "My career speaks for itself. I don't have to buy a pro bono appointment.''