May 5th, 2010
02:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Florida Republicans demand refunds from Crist

20 Florida Republicans are asking Gov. Charlie Crist to honor refund requests from donors.
20 Florida Republicans are asking Gov. Charlie Crist to honor refund requests from donors.

(CNN) – Marco Rubio's Senate campaign announced Wednesday that 20 of Florida's Republican leaders have penned a letter to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist asking that Crist comply with any donor requests for refunds.

Crist announced last week that he will skip Florida's GOP Senate primary and, instead, run in the general election as a non-party-affiliated candidate. In the wake of Crist's decision, Rubio, the former Florida House Speaker, is expected to nab the GOP nod. GOP primary polls conducted prior to Crist's announcement indicated that Crist, once the favorite, was trailing Rubio by more than 20 percentage points.

Wednesday's letter slams Crist for deciding to abandon the GOP primary.

"As longtime and loyal contributors to Republican causes and your many campaigns, this letter is not easy for us to write," the 20 Republicans say, " But your actions have forced us to take action.

"We are both saddened and disappointed in your decision to abandon the Republican Party during this important election."

They added, "[f]or years we have put our names and credibility on the line by asking our friends to donate to you. Those days are over."

The letter goes on to ask that Crist "return every penny of donor money from every donor who asks for a refund," beginning with the individual contributions to Crist's Senate campaign made by signatories to the letter.

After noting that Crist has campaign war chest estimated at more than $7 million, the letter declares, "Charlie, that is not your money."

The letter ends with a request to all of Crist's Republican supporters to demand that their contributions to his Senate campaign be returned.

CNN has reached out to the Crist campaign for comment. The campaign has not yet responded to CNN's request.

Wednesday's letter is likely the leading edge of a larger effort to obtain refunds from Crist now that he has decided to continue his Senate bid as an independent.

Even before Crist's formal announcement, The Club for Growth, a conservative advocacy group, announced its intention to help Crist donors seek refunds if the Florida governor left the GOP primary.

And, the day after Crist's announcement last week, The Club for Growth slammed the Florida governor.

"Every dollar in Charlie Crist's campaign war chest was dishonestly raised," the group's president Chris Chocola said in a statement.

In anticipation of Crist's announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee also said late last month that it would ask for its $10,000 donation to be returned if Crist decided to run as an independent.


Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • GOP • Popular Posts
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Was it dishonestly raised? I guess if he knew years ago when he was accepting the money that he would one day leave the party to become an independent than you could say it was dishonestly raised, but come on...

    Boy it sure is amazing, when the Republicans are destroying the middle class, the social and financial institutions, the environment, as they funnel lucrative NO-BID contracts to their buddies, they all sit around congratulating each other on how RICH they are getting without questioning the policies that do not support working families, but now that they are not in control and there is an administration that is making decisions based on consideration of both the people and how it would affect the whole, all they do is whine.

    The only DISHONESTY going on here is the REPUBLICAN PARTY itself and all those who claim to be Republicans.

    Look at Florida. New laws passed that restrict oversight of government-contracted providers, new laws attempted to allow contract providers to keep all the money at the end of the year whether they need it or not, and obviously, if we are at the end of the year they did not need it. In addition, Republicans sponsored all these, you know the ones that are FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE and believe in TRANSPARENCY, at least that is what their website says, and too bad the bills they sponsor do not support that.

    Wake up people, Republicans do not care about the American People, they care about getting RICH and all their buddies getting RICH at the expense of the working class.

    May 5, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    Let him keep the money Republicans have stolen enough from real Americans anyway.
    If you are a republican and cry over money you are not a good republican or you have to pay a lot in hush money to cover your bad habits.

    May 5, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Sue, Vienna, VA

    Charlie Crist should consider himself most fortunate to be free of the republican party! NONE of them have a mind of their own, the simple words, "compromise", " yes", and "civil", are absent from their vocabularies. They spend such an inordinate amount of time dreaming up ways to slam the President that they never get anything done! And it doesn't surprise me how quickly that they turned on Crist. It appears that nobody is safe from their constant vile rhetoric, not even a former colleague who was held in high esteem only a short time ago.

    May 5, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. larry

    What about you republican politians giving back the Ron Rothstein contibutions of money he stole so he could contribute to your campaigns?

    May 5, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. as an american

    Don't do it Crist!!!! when those 20 repubs sent you money or donated to your campaigns it should have been because they liked you as a person, what you stood for and that you were the best person to lead florida. Now they want their money back cause you are not part of their party anymore...ha thats so hypacritical, your still the same person and have the same values keep the money.

    On another note these parties are starting to seem more like fraternities. Do these politicians get hazed and have to go thru initiation also...cause it seems like the do a lot of "my frat is bigger and better then your frat" and party more then they do representing their people and districts. No one represents the people anymore, just thier parties.

    May 5, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. bobby

    sob, sob sob..unfortunately GOP the perception is growing out there t hat your party has no room anymore for moderates or those who might disagree with you. Bravo to Mr Crist he has the guts to stand up for HIS principles..do you have the same guts?..How the hell are you going to appeal to the independents with this perceived discriminatory attitude..remember perception in politics is paramount..always has been and always will be!

    May 5, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. a health economist

    I'm sorry but those are sunk costs. If spend $10 to watch a movie in the theaters that looks great from the trailers but I end up hating it, I cannot expect to have my money back simply because the movie didn't meet my expectations. If I try a fish I've never eaten before at a restaurant and I end up not likely the taste, I can't expect to have a different fish that I know I will like better. In those scenarios it would be up to the sellers discretion as to what to do.

    But one that is more to the point. If I hire an employee and after 3 months it turns out that employee cannot do the job to expectations, I cannot fire that person and expect to get back the past 3 months salary paid to that individual.

    The free market doesn't work that way, folks.

    May 5, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Just Lisa

    Gee, bitter much? Still? I'm not surprised at all that the party of McMoney and pals wants their 5 bucks back each.

    Do as we do or else huh? Talk about strong arm tactics. He better watch out the Republicanknuckleheads will picket his house next.

    Like in that movie, Better Off Dead, with the newspaper boy stalking him for the 3.00 payment.

    "Three dollars, I want my three dollars"

    May 5, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Stephen Fleming

    I'm out of the country and I've never lived in Florida but I am interested in knowing what has Charlie Crist done to garner so little support and so much negativity from the Republican Party in Florida? And with all this negativity, if the voter's of Florida elect him to the Senate as an Independent, will he seriously caucas with Republicans or will he trully be independent and vote what's right?

    May 5, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Givemeabreak!!!

    Gov Crist is still the same person, just couldn't stand the party of "no" any longer. So now the party of "no" wants their $$ back. I say give it back and good riddance to the whole mess...the people of Florida will elect Gov Crist to represent them in Washington. He is better off without Repub support..

    May 5, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. ramtruck2500

    So I think it comes down to who changed their stance. I know I am not from fla but i have beenfollowing this from the start. if people contributed to Crist for what he espouses he has'nt changed. Why then should he refund anything. Buyers remorse, Rubio and the tea Baggers changed things not cRIST HES STILL DOIN THE SAME THING SO i THINK NO REFUNDS. NEXT TIME MAYBE THESE tEA bAGGERS NEED TO GET ON THE JUNTS FASTER.

    May 5, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. RAG

    If the donors had given money to Crist because they thought he was the best candidate, then he owns them nothing.

    If the donors had given money to Crist because they would elect a ham sandwich if it were a card-carrying Party member, then he should repay them.

    If the donors will not clarify whether they are good citizens or partisan ideologues, then Crist shoudl give them the benefit of the doubt and keep the money.

    May 5, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. deegee

    Sure use it for a lost cause rather than let the individual use it the for the cause he see fit his views have not changed you just want loser cookie cutter con

    May 5, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. Teddy

    That was a GIFT!!!! Ah Ah Ah!!!!

    May 5, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I tend to vote person versus Party. I do not know too many die hard Rethugs or Democraps. My first exposure to these Party-or-Death short bus special type of people came through this blog site. I therefore am taken aback that these GOPers would live-swallow someone who used to be one of their own in this manner.

    The more I read about the GOP the more they truly remind me of Nazis. These people, seriously, are not joking about wanting power, money, and more power and will take any measure no matter how low, subterfuge, illegal or immoral to acquire it.

    That type of mentality within a Party can only draw the weak- minded, and the 'don't have a clue, and don't care to have one' into it's fold.

    Be careful fellow Americans. You may be next on their menu.

    May 5, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Nick , California

    "We are both saddened and disappointed in your decision to abandon the Republican Party during this important election."

    Screw you Republicans! What about whats good for America you partisan morons! This is whats wrong with this country... we are so ignorant to vote lock-step with one party! Is this what we want to teach our children?? Let the purity tests begin!!

    May 5, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Brian

    This controversy is a microcosm of the entire contemporary Republican experience. Unlike previous generations of Republicans – even the Reagan brand who were known for staunchly defending rather extreme policy at times – the current Republican regime has a'Party Over All' philosophy. To assume that a contributor was financially supporting the big "R" on a sweatshirt instead of Crist as an individual politician shows rather significant hubris. It seems to signal ( and it just might be true) that the party assumes that its members are a bunch of Lemmings that will blindly follow party dictum and send in money to support not a candidate, but an oblique – and publicly undefined – set of campaign planks.

    there was a time when elected officials listened to their constituents, then acted appropriately in Washington. That seems to be long gone – at least for the Republican Party. The current Republican leadership seems to make decisions based on greed and special interest, then jam it down the throats of the rank and file. How else would Joe the Plumber – an individual who never did, nor ever will reach the $250K+ tax bracket – be convinced to rail against the tax increases for that bracket?

    May 5, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. toobad

    Too bad. If you buy a player's jersey and he changes teams, you don't get your money back.

    May 5, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. JMikey54

    I guess he should return the money of those who ask for it back. I think it is not right for someone who has donated money to ask for it back. In my opinion you donate to a candidate not a cause. But this is just another example of how how hateful and polarizing the republican party is becoming.

    May 5, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Bryan

    So wait, these people donated to a candidate, not because of who he is, but because of the letter next to his name at the time?

    There was an alternative to this, people. A donation to the Florida Republican Party or the RNC. If you wanted to support only Republicans, that's who you donate to.

    If you wrote a check to Crist, well, that *is* his money. Caveat emptor. Maybe you shouldn't be purging moderates from your party.

    May 5, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. republicans hate america

    do not give back one penny

    May 5, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. ronnospam

    I don’t seem to recall the GOP demanding Ben Nighthorse-Campbell refund Democratic election funds after he changed parties. This looks like yet another double-standard from the bastion of moral values.

    May 5, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. FL for Change

    These people make me laugh! Florida will take care of herself. Rubio the Rethuglican Robot will NOT be our next Senator. If the last two years have taught us anything, is that we need elected officials who actually represent the PEOPLE and not the PARTY. Governor Crist did not leave the PARTY...he joined the PEOPLE of our state. Give the money back...they must be scared, "Senator" Crist.

    May 5, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Mike Mc

    Good luck Charlie!

    May 5, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Steve (the real one)

    Before any liberal attempts to politically posture on this, remember the Congressman from the Huntsville, Alabama area. You know the guy who left the Dem party and joined the GOP? He didn't have staff members resign and he wasn't asked for a refund either! Right??

    May 5, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
1 2 3 4