When Florida gubernatorial candidate Democrat Charlie Christ was confronted on local TV with contributions his campaign had received from dubious sources–strip clubs with alleged connections to prostitution and drugs–he was OK with that.
Appearing on local Tampa Bay CBS affiliate channel 4, the matter of the donations was brought up to Crist, and he implied there was nothing wrong because they originated “from a management company.”
“But now that you’re aware of the source of the money, do you feel that it’s appropriate to return it?” asked the host.
“No. I don’t,” was his reply
When the donations first became known, Republican Party of Florida Chairwoman Leslie Dougher called upon Crist to return them.
“These businesses are degrading to women and Charlie’s refusal to return the money is shameful,” Dougher told reporters, according to The Tampa Tribune, which reported:
The contributions to Crist include $50,000 donation to his independent political committee from Joe Rodriguez, owner of Cheetah’s in Hallandale Beach, and $40,000 from two companies that operate the Scarlett’s chain, J.W. Lee Properties and S.B. Productions Inc.
Law officers investigated and raided Rodriguez’s club in 2009, charging 16 dancers and two managers with prostitution and cocaine possession charges. Rodriguez was not charged with a crime.
Charges against both managers were dropped and charges against the dancers either were dropped or reduced to disorderly conduct, said Luke Lirot, a Tampa lawyer who represented them. Lirot said the club is still operating.
A former dancer at the Scarlett’s in Hallandale has filed a class action lawsuit alleging its operators wrongly classified her and other dancers as contractors rather than employees, failing to pay them minimum wage or any wage at all.
Watch the exchange in this video, via RPOF. Story continues below clip.
Crist served as Florida’s governor as a Republican from 2007 to 2011. When an opening in the U.S. Senate came up in 2010, he ran for that position in the GOP primary, but was overtaken in the polls by Marco Rubio. He then declared himself an Independent and continued his run in the general election, where Rubio easily defeated him.
Since then he has declared himself an Obama-supporting Democrat.
(h/t: The Right Scoop)