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Rouson closes "slush fund", but Crisafulli keeps his open

According to Florida’s Division of Elections, the controversial Florida House Democratic Caucus Affiliated Party fundraising committee opened by Rep. Darryl Rouson was closed on Monday.

Meanwhile, incoming Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Rouson’s Republican counterpart in the House, explained in a letter why he’s keeping his “affiliated party committee” open.

Dear Colleagues,

My promise to you when elected Speaker Designate was to use every tool that Florida law and election regulations give me in our campaigns for the Florida House of Representatives.

Since 2010, the law has included the opportunity for certain state leaders to create Affiliated Party Committees. After reviewing the law and discussing it with RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry, I decided to utilize this resource in the elections of House Republicans.

The new entity, the House Republican Campaign Committee, is simply one more way for me to do the job you elected me to do. Chairman Curry, RPOF staff, and I continue our cooperative and collaborative process with one common goal: electing Republicans to the Florida House.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Affiliated Party Committees, aka Leadership Funds, have garnered a lot of ink in Tallahassee lately. Unlike other committees, these can be operated at the sole discretion of the individual who opens them, giving them an independence apart from parties that have led some to label them “slush funds”.

Lawmakers created them in 2010, then overrode a veto by then-Gov. Charlie Crist the following year to keep them in business. Democrats opposed them while Republicans mostly supported them. The committees were a moot point because no one tried to open one, until Aug. 13.

That’s when Rouson filed papers to create one to finance House Democratic races in 2014. He did so despite opposing them in 2010.

A week later, Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, filed papers to open the House Republican Campaign Committee. Although he might call it a tool to raise funds, even Republicans have raised questions about the transparency of the committees.

When Rouson was getting criticized last week for opening his committee, for instance, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, piled on by tweeting this:

mattgaetz5 Sep

Step1 @darrylrouson accused of being fired and broke. Step2 he sets up slush fund only he controls.  #YourTurn #GreerCristMemories #sayfie