Hedging his bets
Three of Florida's four major gubenatorial candidates have decided to return contributions from a man under investigation by the FBI.
State Sen. Rod Smith is returning campaign donations from a close friend whose prison snacks business was raided by the FBI this week.First Rod Smith's canned responses. No politician ever fesses up after an incident like this. Why did Dugger contribute money to all these candidates? I don't think he did it out of charity. He is trying to buy influence and by contributing to multiple candidates covering all the bases no matter who wins come November.
Agents seized records Wednesday from Gainesville-based American Institutional Services, which sold snacks to weekend prison visitors, the FBI said. No one was arrested and search warrants are sealed.
A wide-ranging criminal investigation into Florida's Corrections Department has been ongoing for two years, but the FBI wouldn't say if the raid and probe were linked.
AIS owner Edward L. Dugger had donated $500 each to the campaigns of Attorney General Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who are seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Smith, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Davis for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, received about $2,500.
In addition, Dugger donated $30,000 to Floridians for Responsible Government, a political committee supporting Smith's campaign.
Smith said he would return the $2,500 to ensure ``there's no appearance of impropriety.''
``I'm a former state attorney. I know that investigations are just that, they're investigations. Eddie has not been charged with any wrongdoing,'' Smith said. ``I would be shocked if he ever knowingly violated the law.''
Smith spokesman David Kochman said the campaign was still determining Friday whether there were more donations from Dugger that had to be returned.
Crist and Gallagher were also returning the money, their campaigns said Friday.
The Corrections Department has suspended its contract with AIS.
None of this is illegal. Its just business as usual and Smith's response is meaningless. The public knows the politicians are being bought. It would shock us to hear one of them actually confess it, but we're not dumb enough to take their excuses. Except we rarely ever vote these scoundrels out of office.
Smith almost got the knucklehead award but sometimes I think the voters are the knuckleheads. When will we say enough is enough?
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