Florida GOP Chief: Donations Scandal ‘Nipped in Bud’

Friday, 15 Mar 2013 02:07 PM

By Cyrus Afzali and John Bachman

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Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry said Friday that the party is conducting an internal review into contributions it may have received from individuals representing a veterans charity accused of setting up illegal gambling operations and expressed confidence the issue isn’t widespread.

Speaking Friday to Newsmax TV, Curry said the scandal , which forced the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, dates back before his tenure and expressed confidence it’s no longer an issue.

Story continues below.

“As soon as the story broke, I asked our CFO to look at our records and look at anyone who may have given money to the Republican Party of Florida,” he said. “A lot of this money was raised in years gone by long before my time. We continue to raise money and our donors trust us to do the right thing,” he said. “This issue has been nipped in the bud.”

Carroll resigned her position as Gov. Rick Scott’s number two on Tuesday because of her ties to the group.

Curry said the biggest challenges Republicans have are better connecting with voters and improving the ground operations of campaigns.

“For our longevity, we must connect and build trust with minorities and diverse groups and show them that we care. We also have to rework our ground game and look at how Obama used technology and social networking to connect with people,” Curry said.  

“Republicans haven’t figured that out yet.”

Commenting on a decision by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to expand Florida’s Medicaid program for the next three years to meet the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, Curry emphasized the state was granted federal approval to key changes in the Medicaid system sought by Scott.

“Whatever we end up with, as Republicans we’ll move forward. Gov. Scott has fought Obamacare from the beginning, so there’s no question he’s not an advocate for Obamacare as we know it,” Curry said. “But he has to govern and he made best decision he could with the information available.”

Asked to comment on the party’s future and the contrasting styles of Sen. Rand Paul and his own state’s Sen. Marco Rubio, Curry said it’s important to remember the 2016 race is still years away.

“It’s healthy to be hearing different views. Right now, the party needs good, sound communicators. There’s no question Marco Rubio connects with people. Rand Paul’s style is very different,” Curry said. “I think we’re making a little bit of hay about something that’s not there.”

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