May 5th, 2010
02:00 PM ET
4 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. O157H7

    Sure! as soon as the Democratic Party gets refunds from Senator Richard Shelby, Representative Nathan Deal, and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, among others.

    As a constituent in 1995, I asked Deal for a refund. He never acknowledged my letter.

    When Campbell switched parties, then-Senator Bob Kerrey publicly asked him to refund over $240K that he had received from the Democratic Party. From the Los Angeles Times story, "Campbell responded that he had sought advice from Senate Republican leaders and is exploring whether there is any precedent for returning the contributions. He said he wanted to do the right thing for contributors." We can deduce what they told him–he never returned a penny.

    May 5, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Tom in Wisconsin

    Hmmm....You expected him to remain in the GOP...He expected you to not turn on him and throw him under the bus. Sounds like no one gets what they want.

    Here's a clue: political donations are unconditional. If they were conditional, they wouldn't be called political donations. They'd be called bribes.

    May 5, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Luke Brown

    Earth to GOP: It was the Republican Party that "abandoned" Crist, not the other way around.

    The guy has been a great governor and has a solid record. You people turned on him when the right-wing nuts pressured you to go with a weak sister who has never governed anything.

    Charlie, keep the money.

    May 5, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Patriot

    The US Citizens demand a refund used for the un-just war in Iraq~!

    May 5, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. laikos

    I hope Crist keeps the money on principle. The only reason he was forced to run as an independent is because his own party shoved him out. They tried to carve him up and spit him out because they felt he was too moderate, and instead wanted to lay tiretracks on his back with a more conservative pick – Mr. Rubio. Well, their actions were about as disloyal as a party can be, and as payment for that disloyalty, Crist should keep every dime of money those GOP groups donated to him, as a lesson to the GOP for what happens when you try to justify this kind of political assassination. It's obvious Crist won't win back his seat as an Independent, but maybe he could do something beneficial with the campaign contributions, like donating them to help fund ecological rescue efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

    May 5, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Darth Cheney

    Crist did not abandon the Republican party; the Republican party abandoned reason when it went all tea-baggy.

    May 5, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. T'SAH from Virginia

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

    Wasn't he FORCED out?

    "Every dollar in Charlie Crist's campaign war chest was dishonestly raised," the group's president Chris Chocola said in a statement." Chocola wants to "help Crist donors seek refunds if the Florida governor left the GOP primary."

    What if the donors want Crist to KEEP the money because they support CRIST and not the PARTY???? I bet if that was researched, most likely only $500 needs to be returned!!!

    May 5, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Dann

    Next on Jerry Springer: Politics, Money, & Lies.

    May 5, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Orchal

    Question: If you donate to a candidate because you believe they would do a good job...why does it matter if they're running as a republican, independent, democrat, or otherwise?

    From what I understand, the only thing that changed about this guy was his party affiliation.

    May 5, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Chicago Joe

    Unfortunately for the Dems, Crist is no Perot.

    May 5, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Bob Smith

    cry baby republicans can't have their way again and have to whine whine whine

    May 5, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. harvey

    Charlie: Tell them you'll give back the money when Boobio pays back all the money he stole from the state.

    May 5, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Kevin, VA

    This just goes to show that people don't really care about the issues, they only want to support a party. the man still has the same values, he just doesnt want to be labeled as one of the republicans anymore because thye are nutjobs.

    people are so stupid.

    May 5, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Tampa Mike

    screw them Charlie, they knifed you in the back to kiss the tea party behind. You are not legally required to return a thing and I wouldn't .
    The republican party is fast becoming the party of extremeist.

    a former republican

    May 5, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Jayden,FL

    Charlie Crist is currently leading in new polls.. I'm a Democrat I'll be voting for Gov.Crist and to bad the Democratic Party couldn't put a better candidate foward!! Crist is more Liberal than Meek..

    May 5, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Momslaw

    As a Floridian, I'm annoyed with the National Republicans interference with our race. Crist has been an excellant govenor and at least he thinks for himself (not marching lockstep with a party that is usually out of touch).

    In addition, the Florida GOP better be careful about encouraging donors to request their money back – it could become a tidal wave with so many Fl Republicans in hot water for spending lavishly on their personal expenses with GOP credit cards – $9500 spent on Disney World for example! Do they think we voters aren't paying attention?-

    May 5, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Jim in San Mateo

    How sad that Republicans eat their own.

    May 5, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Glen Shouse Jr.

    That's the problem with this country, campaign donors are supporting a political party and not the candidate. Crist was a good enough candidate as long as he was running as a republican but now they want their money back. They are hypocrites.

    May 5, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. Justin

    Crist should tell them to stick it. They gave him the donations to run and then failed to back him against the idiot rubio.

    Keep the money, Charlie, and use it to destroy those that screwed you over! Ignore Meek, spend every single dime trashing the rube.

    May 5, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Hugo

    Isn't it funny how the lefties poo poo about Repugs special interests for the wealthy and Wall Street corruption while President Obama is the top recipient of campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs and now BP?

    Can you smell the Change yet? Didn't stink so!

    May 5, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Recreator

    I bet those 20 Republicans know where there bread is buttered. This gives them more corporate, big bank money for themselves.

    May 5, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. JonDie

    Crist should keep the money.

    May 5, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Frank

    They gave the money to Charlie Crist. Keep it Charlie. You deserve it and they don't deserve you. This Rubio fellow is scary.

    May 5, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Roger

    The Florida GOP wants the money back so they can pay their American Express bill with all those personal charges on there that aren't supposed to be there, huh Mr Rubio? I am a registered GOP in Fl. for the past 12 years and am disgusted at the party. This GOPer is voting out any GOP candidate in my area!

    May 5, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. DJ

    Cry me a river!!! Why ask for your money back now? If Crist is who you support, it shouldn't matter that he is an independent. He will more than likely have the same political views like the Republican, so what is the problem? I mean he didn't switch to the Democrats!!! The GOP is just scared they will lose the race since he switched. LOL

    May 5, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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