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Thurman Demands McCollum Pay Back Taxpayers For Funds He Steered To Rekers

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2010
Thurman Demands McCollum Pay Back Taxpayers For Funds He Steered To Rekers
In light of Attorney General Bill McCollum’s role in spending over $120,000 in taxpayer money on hiring discredited witness George Rekers, today Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman demanded McCollum pay back the State of Florida for the full cost of the funds he steered towards the so-called ‘expert’ embroiled in the “Rentboy scandal.”
In a letter to McCollum, Thurman wrote:

May 18, 2010
The Honorable Bill McCollum Office of Attorney GeneralThe Capitol, PL-01Tallahassee, FL 32399
Dear Attorney General McCollum,
Along with millions of other Floridians, I am becoming increasingly concerned over the latest reports of waste and abuse of tax dollars by the Office of the Attorney General.  While Florida has undergone severe budget cuts and readjusted priorities, your office has demonstrated a blatant disregard for our tax dollars and other revenue for the state at a time when they must be spent as thoughtfully and frugally as possible.  This haphazard spending for your own personal gain or partisan agenda is even more egregious considering Florida’s unemployment rate is in double digits and over a million Floridians are out of work. 
The latest fact highlighting this issue is that at your personal request, George Rekers was paid over $120,000 for his “expert” testimony in support of Florida’s ban on gay adoption.  When the Department of Children and Families expressed concern over the high cost of Mr. Rekers’s testimony, you personally insisted Mr. Rekers be selected and paid the full amount requested.  Mr. Rekers was recently reported to have taken a two week trip to Europe accompanied by a gentleman whose services are advertised on a website called   
Even more disturbing than the total amount paid to Mr. Rekers is the fact that he was paid almost double what was agreed upon for his discredited testimony.  While Mr. Rekers was supposed to receive only $60,900 in taxpayer money, in a glaring case of incompetence, your office neglected to have Mr. Rekers sign a contract capping his fee.  This allowed him to bill the State of Florida another $59,793, which your office then approved.  Furthermore you personally lobbied for Mr. Rekers to testify even though in 2004 a judge in Arkansas called Mr. Rekers’ testimony “extremely suspect”.  It is troubling that you would allow such incompetence and abuse of our tax dollar, and it calls into serious question whether you are capable of performing the most basic functions of your office, much less that of Governor. 
Sadly for Florida, this fiscal recklessness is only the latest disturbing example in a long line of instances where your office wasted state funds to further your political ambitions or partisan ideology.  Last year, you spent more than $2.2 million dollars to produce and air campaign style TV ads where you were featured in almost every frame.  More recently, your office initiated a frivolous lawsuit challenging needed health care reform, with the state set to spend $50,000 on a no-bid contract to your old lobbying firm and unknown staff costs that are continuing to accumulate.
To show you recognize the egregious nature of your spending, your campaign should reimburse the State of Florida’s treasury the full cost of the funds you steered towards George Rekers for his “expert” testimony.  Anything less would be an affront to the taxpayers of our state.
Karen Thurman
Chair, Florida Democratic Party

A .PDF copy of the letter can be downloaded here:

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