Ronda Storms uses Hillsborough GOP to launder, err, craftily shuffle around $45,000 in campaign money

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Now that the latest fundraising report for the Hillsborough GOP has been made public, it’s clear that Ronda Storms utilized the local party to craftily shuffle $45,000 in money she originally raised for her Senate campaign to her race for Property Appraiser.

Storms had been running for re-election to the Florida Senate, but decided to switch races and run for Hillsborough County Property Appraiser. Rather than transfer the money she raised for her State Senate campaign to her local race (only, of course, after asking donors if it was alright to do so), Storms closed down her State Senate campaign account, then turned around and opened up a new account for her Property Appraiser campaign.

But not before Storms donated $48,575.36 to the Hillsborough GOP.  That was on June 1.  On the same day, the party returned the favor with a $45,000 contribution to Storms’s campaign for Property Appraiser.

The rumor that Storms washed her money through the Hillsborough GOP was first reported by Patrick Mantiega of La Gaceta, although the proof was not available at the time. Now, the reports have been filed with the Florida Division of Elections or Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.

Storms’ shuffling clearly avoided following the spirit of the state’s campaign finance rules, regardless if she followed the letter of the law. Just the kind of politician you want in the Property Appraiser’s office.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.