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Ausley: Follow the law and audit lobbyist reports

CFO candidate Loranne Ausley is once again hitting opponent Jeff Atwater for decisions by the Legislature on his watch. This time, it's the Legislature's failure to audit annual lobbyist disclosure reports -- as required by law. Passed in 2005 (and supported by both Ausley and Atwater), the law requires lobbyists to say how much they are getting paid, and by whom. The law also requires audits, but as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune noted, none have been performed.

“There is absolutely no excuse for not following the law,” Ausley said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in this building influencing legislators and legislation in Tallahassee, and Floridians have a right to know the whole story.”

Senate staffers have said there aren't enough Florida auditing firms without ties to lobbyists and that the audits could cost between $750,000 and $1 million. Atwater campaign spokesman Brian Hughes noted that lawmakers submitted a request for proposals calling for 10 auditing firms to compete for the job -- one firm replied.

Hughes also hit on the cost in a statement: "Where does Ausley want money for this new bureaucracy to come from? Is she ready to cut $1 million from our schools or services for our most vulnerable kids or seniors?"