August 29th, 2010
07:32 AM ET
12 years ago

Crist says he'll return campaign contributions

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he would return campaign contributions from ‘people who had asked for it.’"](CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appeared to suggest Saturday that he would give money back to donors if they asked.

Crist spoke Saturday with CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry, who is filling in for Candy Crowley on State of the Union.

Crist told Henry, "we'll give it [campaign contributions] back to people who had asked for it."

The independent candidate seemed to hedge a moment later saying, "People gave money to a good cause, I'm going to spend it on a good cause and that's how I feel about it."

After failing to secure the GOP nomination for Senate, Crist was sharply criticized for refusing to refund contributions made to his campaign by Republicans.

Watch CNN's exclusive video after the jump:

The Senate candidate then came under fire for refunding a $9,600 contribution made to his campaign by Jim Greer, the disgraced former head of the Republican Party of Florida. Greer, who was appointed by Crist to head the RPOF in 2007, has been charged with six felony counts related to his alleged use of state party funds for personal expenditures.

Crist remained non-committal when asked if he would testify at his friend's trial.

"I don't even know if I'm going to be called," he said.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted August 11-16, Crist, who is running as an independent candidate, holds a 39 percent to 32 percent lead over Republican candidate Marco Rubio.

Rep. Kendrick Meek, who secured the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, trails the two front-runners with 16 percent. The poll carried a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • State of the Union
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. the real ib

    The right thing for this turncoat who only thinks of himself would be to return the money. People should not have to ask for it back he should offer it back and then let the people that gave the money decide whether he keeps it or not.

    August 29, 2010 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  2. Clwyd

    I'm not from Florida, but Mr. Crist seems to have the class and know how that would earn my vote compared to Rubio who almost lost his house to foreclosure. Can you imagine an ignorant voter wanting to cast a vote for a man who can't run his own financial affairs?

    August 29, 2010 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  3. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Dirty deed's done dirt cheep . Why cant America just have even a few honest politicians we always have to choose between the best of the worst .

    August 29, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |

    Give all the money back Crist and drop out of the race. You have already lost when you went "Independent" ("Non-committal"). Rubio will be the new senator from FL, get over it and save the people a lot of money from your wishy-washy campaigning.

    August 29, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. Time grows short

    This creep wold fit well into the Obama Cabinet.

    August 29, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  6. jim

    I can't believe that Crist is still concidered the frontrunner for the senate seat in Florida. Will say or do anything to get elected.

    August 29, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. hobart

    This is not exactly an unexpected question. Crist should have thought through the answer before he was asked it, knowing he would be asked it.

    He can return all campaign contributions to those who ask, none, or on a selective basis, e.g. one's tied to someone being indicted for a felony. It's not all that hard a case to make that one should return money to donors who may have gotten that money illegally. The harder question is what about anyone else who wants their money back. Rubio could tie up Crist in nots until election day and beyond, if he could get 50-100 thousand individual donors to all demand their money back, if Crist takes the bait, that is.

    August 29, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    So after reading the stories about the Glen Beck thing and Al Sharpton thing and of course the reponses to it on the Ticker, who was it that made the hateful, degrading, demeaning comments? Who was it that injected race in to the discussion? None other than the "reverand" Al and the liberals, who showed their mean, nasty, racist, bigoted stripes during this controversy. Is there any doubt now about which group is dividing this country and destroying it?

    August 29, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. John Hennessy Black

    IF Crist elects to give the money back to the people in the Republic Party who want it back, that's fine with me... it just shows that these folks in the Republic Party gave the money to the PARTY, not the good man who should win the election, regardless of PARTY...

    August 29, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. Christina in Florida

    As long as Crist stays in Florida's race Rubio doesn't have a chance to win, thank goodness. Florida needs a fresh set of ideas and solutions to get out of this hole. The republicans have held this state hostage too long!

    August 29, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. John Bernard

    He is King of All Sleaze.

    August 29, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Sissy

    If this man lived in Oklahoma I would vote for him in a heart beat.....and I am a democrat

    August 29, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. paul

    Going independent worked for Lieberman one of the Republicans favorite independents

    August 29, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  14. mo


    if your not from florida you have no place to talk, you don't know his policies let alone if he enforces them

    August 29, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I will vote for the candidate that will promise me they uphold the constitution and that we have a "Bill of Rights". I will vote for the candidate that will keep off-shore drilling off of our coast. I will vote for the candidate that will invest in clean energy. I will vote for the candidate that will support working on immigration reform. I will vote for the candidate that will ratify the "Stark Treaty". I will vote for the candidate that will support deficit reduction by restoring the tax rates during the Clinton administration. I will vote for the candidate that will BRING ALL OUR TROOPS home!

    If you can promise these things, you will get my vote.
    Shalom from Florida

    August 29, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. Rebecca

    1- Soliciting money for the purpose of running for office as a GOP candidate
    2- Promising to bow out of the race if he failed to win the GOP nomination
    3- Declaring himself as an Independent candidate when his popularity faded
    4- Refusing to REIMBURSE GOP supporters that contributed to his GOP campaign
    Considering Crist as a U.S. Senator is why we have the Bloated, Tax and Spend Happy Arrogance and Corruption of the Federal Gov't that has led us to this Oppressive Mess.

    August 29, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. vic

    @ John Hennessy Black I agree
    I was a republican many time I supported democrats In Tennessee we have very good governor now even republican candidate ad his name in his commercial
    We need good people like Charlie Crist in politics

    August 29, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. greg in jax

    go ahead and give them their money back.. since you have decided to run as Senator for all Floridians, instead of running to be Senator for all Republican Floridians, such as rubio is doing.. you have a much larger voter base and dont need their hate money.

    i will gladly support you with my vote and my wallet.

    Progressives against rubio. rubio must fail.

    August 29, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  19. D. Bunker

    "So after reading the stories about the Glen Beck thing and Al Sharpton thing and of course the reponses to it on the Ticker, who was it that made the hateful, degrading, demeaning comments? Who was it that injected race in to the discussion?"

    You must be a truly brainwashed rightwing puppet if you can't see how the rightwingers have been playing the "race card" since Nixon's "southern strategy." The GOBPbaggers have continued down this path by inserting race into almost any and every discussion. The fact you would mention it here in an article about Crist kinda proves my point, eh?

    August 29, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |