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Junior Florida Republican Party staffer had $1.3 million charged to party credit card
St. Petersburg Times ^ | April 10, 2010 | Adam C. Smith

Posted on 04/10/2010 12:15:13 AM PDT by Brandonmark

She was a 25-year-old junior staffer when the Florida Republican Party gave her an American Express card.

Over the next 2½ years, nearly $1.3 million in charges wound up on Melanie Phister's AmEx — $40,000 at a London hotel, and nearly $20,000 in plane tickets for indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom, his wife and kids, for starters. Statements show thousands spent on jewelry, sporting goods and in one case $15,000 for what's listed as a month-long stay at a posh Miami Beach hotel, but which the party says was a forfeited deposit.

The credit card records, obtained by the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald, offer the latest behind-the-scenes look at extravagant and free-wheeling spending by the party touting fiscal restraint. Not only did certain elite legislative leaders have their own party credit cards to spend donors' money with little oversight, but Phister's records show these leaders also liberally used an underling's card — without her knowledge, she says.

"I did not have the sole discretion to initiate credit card spending," Phister said in an e-mail statement. "Over that period of time, there were multiple instances when the card was used to make purchases that I had no knowledge of, and I did not regularly review the monthly credit card statements which I understand were sent directly to the Party's accounting office."

Even after a series of embarrassing revelations over profligate credit card spending by the likes of Republican U.S. Senate frontrunner Marco Rubio, Sansom and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon — and pending state and federal investigations of party finances — revelations of the huge charges on Phister's card had veteran GOP fundraisers apoplectic.

"Oh my God. I can't believe it,'' said Al Hoffman, a top fundraiser from Fort Myers, when told of the $1.258 million on Phister's

(Excerpt) Read more at tampabay.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: amex; corruption; florida; gop; rpof; rubio; scandal
Don't appear to be very good custodians of the donations!
1 posted on 04/10/2010 12:15:13 AM PDT by Brandonmark
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To: Brandonmark

Is this another incident in which Michael Steele should have had oversight but failed? Or is this independent of the RNC?

I can’t believe the GOP is the only big spender out there. Surely Rats must be doing at least as badly if not worse.


2 posted on 04/10/2010 12:18:11 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Story smells of horsesh@t to me.... we will see....


3 posted on 04/10/2010 12:20:14 AM PDT by antceecee (Bless us Father.. have mercy on us and protect us from evil.)
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To: Brandonmark
This is why politicians get out of bed in the afternoon. Lots of cash for absolutely nothing of value.

Next time, offer to donate a few hundred bumper stickers instead of a cash donation and wait for the stammering excuses to fly.

4 posted on 04/10/2010 12:20:19 AM PDT by Anti-Utopian ("Come, let's away to prison; We two alone will sing like birds I' th' cage." -King Lear [V,iii,6-8])
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To: Anti-Utopian

One can always donate directly to a candidate or potential candidate, if there are doubts about how higher level organizations will handle it.


5 posted on 04/10/2010 12:23:33 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Brandonmark

I can’t remember how many times I’ve explicitly told the RNC to stop calling me. More than five, for sure.


6 posted on 04/10/2010 12:26:21 AM PDT by Minn (Here is a realistic picture of the prophet: ----> ([: {()
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To: All

pathetic...


7 posted on 04/10/2010 12:37:39 AM PDT by Irenic
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To: Brandonmark

Yet another good reason to donate directly to the campaigns of those you would like to see elected rather than the party that ends up choosing the candidates you are supporting.


8 posted on 04/10/2010 12:46:49 AM PDT by Blue Collar Christian (A "tea bagger"? Say it to my face. ><BCC>)
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To: antceecee

Absolutely! This is an account with numerous cards on it, and the Democrats have ones just like it.

They play this up from the angle of a young girl, when the majority of people on it were probably older adults, and they passed up on mentioning them or the actual type of account this truly was.

I’m not a fan of Steele, and there are many things I don’t like about the R.P. leadership, but I’m not convinced this is as clear cut a case of abuse as the media and the Democrats hope we’ll buy it as being.


9 posted on 04/10/2010 12:48:14 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Be still & kneel before the all knowing/seeing Omnipotent One, Il Douche' Jr. blessings be upon him.)
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To: Brandonmark
Couldn't resist......

Not Guilty!

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5215756&ref=search&sid=100001008210991.3516378521..1

10 posted on 04/10/2010 12:49:25 AM PDT by Repeat Offender (While the wicked stand confounded, call me with Thy Saints surrounded)
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To: Brandonmark

Doesn’t this just make you want to fork over a couple hundred of your own hard-earned dollars to the GOP? Where’s my checkbook. ...Oh yeah, it’s slammed shut.


11 posted on 04/10/2010 12:55:03 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Brandonmark

When I contribute it’s directly to the candidate or a PAC that I trust like the Swift Boat Veterans. Most party organizations, Republican or Democrat, are a collection of hacks.

Speaking of hacks, the St.Pete Times is a partisan, left wing outfit.


12 posted on 04/10/2010 12:56:25 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Is this another incident in which Michael Steele should have had oversight but failed? Or is this independent of the RNC?

Maybe, maybe not. However, it still does not absolve those doing the spending. Something tells me that even if M.Steele had never been born on this planet, those GOPers spending like madmen would still have had the penchant to do what they did.

I can’t believe the GOP is the only big spender out there. Surely Rats must be doing at least as badly if not worse.

Is there really that much of a difference? Sometimes choosing between the Reps and the Dems is like choosing between the right hand and the left hand of a sociopath!

Also, whether or not the Dems are also spending like madmen shouldn't matter a whit. That would be like parents, after being busted for driving the car over other peoples' yards, claiming that 'surely the teenagers down the block must at least as badly, if not worse, be driving over yards' as well!

13 posted on 04/10/2010 1:05:28 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: Brandonmark

Doesn’t matter what party or affiliation they are; they are crooks, liars and thugs.


14 posted on 04/10/2010 1:08:43 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
This one is due to the Florida GOP state leaders, primarily. Charlie Crist and his state chairman, Greer.
15 posted on 04/10/2010 1:08:49 AM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of.-- Idylls of the King)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

You did notice that this is about the Florida GOP, yes? This has nothing to do with Steele. State parties are independent of national parties.


16 posted on 04/10/2010 1:29:12 AM PDT by Terpfen (FR is being Alinskied. Remember, you only take flak when you're over the target.)
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To: Brandonmark

“Don’t appear to be very good custodians of the donations!”

Oh, come on! I’m sure it is quite easy to drop $40,000 at one of those London “Full Service” hotels.


17 posted on 04/10/2010 1:52:08 AM PDT by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: Repeat Offender

Did she accept your friend request?


18 posted on 04/10/2010 1:54:27 AM PDT by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: Brandonmark

Conservatives have *much* larger fish to fry.


19 posted on 04/10/2010 2:06:53 AM PDT by The Duke
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To: trumandogz
Did she accept your friend request?

I didn't ask for one..... I foresaw the possibility that the relationship could quickly advanve further than facebook. I didn't think my credit cards would appreciate it.

If my wife is lurking; I'm only teasing ;)

20 posted on 04/10/2010 2:07:46 AM PDT by Repeat Offender (While the wicked stand confounded, call me with Thy Saints surrounded)
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To: Brandonmark

Associations and non profits often have a card that is used solely for office functions. It may or may not be in the name of the organization.

The St. Petersburg Times is NOT our friend. Note the phrase “by the party touting fiscal restraint”. It illustrates clear bias and is evidence that there is a more (or less) to this story than the St. Petersburg Times is writing.

Yep, I’m that jaded about the MSM.


21 posted on 04/10/2010 2:12:03 AM PDT by BlueCat
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To: trumandogz

It doesn’t say it was just her. The hotel bill for the entire traveling party was probably put on her bill. Hotel and restaurant and room service tabs for how many people, and for how long a stay ?

Considering Nancy Pelosi spent $1.2 million on her trip to Copenhagen in November for the Climate Change non-event, a $40,000 hotel stay in London may not have been extravagant at all. Maybe it was, and maybe it wasn’t.


22 posted on 04/10/2010 2:21:24 AM PDT by Kellis91789 (Democrat: Someone who supports killing children, but protests executing convicted murderers.)
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla
The bad PR for all of us will be worth it, if this hurts Crist!
23 posted on 04/10/2010 2:32:34 AM PDT by Kansas58
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To: NeoCaveman

Of possible interest??????


24 posted on 04/10/2010 2:35:41 AM PDT by Las Vegas Dave (To anger a Conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a Liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: BlueCat

WAKE UP FOLKS!!! YOU KEEP FALLING FOR THE MSM TRAPS!!!

This liberal rag hates anything remotely conservative, like most media outlets.

They are just trying to portray anyone with an R after their name as unreliable on fiscal policy.....just like those with a D after their name.

This is just another attempt to minimize the bloodletting coming in November.


25 posted on 04/10/2010 2:55:04 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“Surely Rats must be doing at least as badly if not worse.”
Probably so, but the rats control the media, and the repubs do not need more reminders to the public about corruption.
Regardless, I never give money to the party. Only to the candidate.


26 posted on 04/10/2010 3:04:41 AM PDT by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: Lancey Howard

amen to that gesture. maybe it will catch on.


27 posted on 04/10/2010 3:15:57 AM PDT by grame (May you know more of the love of God Almighty in the coming year)
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To: DoughtyOne

Republicans do it with donated money; Democrats do it with tax money.


28 posted on 04/10/2010 3:22:06 AM PDT by Gaffer ("Profling: The only profile I need is a chalk outline around their dead ass!")
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To: Brandonmark

Chicago style politics


29 posted on 04/10/2010 3:25:42 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

You mean there’s a difference between $15,000 spent on an event and $10 TRILLION spent on nothing?


30 posted on 04/10/2010 3:28:45 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Michael Steele had nothing to do with this fiasco. Its a state GOP problem. I am not so sure the GOP can handle money any better than the Dems. Is there anybody out there in politics who knows how to hold on to a dollar bill?


31 posted on 04/10/2010 3:52:48 AM PDT by mono
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To: Brandonmark

Commies are out in full force, but their propaganda has no effect on the thinking.


32 posted on 04/10/2010 4:50:12 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: DoughtyOne

When will we see the story about government employees uses of their government issued credit cards?

There is just too much money sloshing around everywhere in politics and government these days.

I doubt if there will be any reversal of this suicidal trend.


33 posted on 04/10/2010 5:10:07 AM PDT by maica (Freedom consists not in doing what we like,but in having the right to do what we ought. John Paul II)
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To: Brandonmark

There has to be a way to somehow tie this to Michael Steele of the RNC. I’m trying to figure out how though.


34 posted on 04/10/2010 5:23:06 AM PDT by AlanD
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To: Brandonmark

The Florida RNC has major problems....and its just not Charlie Crist

Marco Rubio ran up nearly a million dollars on his RNC credit card.....so he is just as soiled as Crist and the rest of the GOP. I will not waste my conservative vote on Rubio in the primary....it will go to Bob Smith

Never contribute to the party...always to the candidate


35 posted on 04/10/2010 6:04:12 AM PDT by UCFRoadWarrior (JD Hayworth for Senate ..... jdforsenate.com)
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To: Joe Brower

FYI..


36 posted on 04/10/2010 7:15:47 AM PDT by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: Gaffer

And I was hoping at last some of it was Soros money, on the Democrat side. Oh well... ;-)


37 posted on 04/10/2010 8:50:48 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Be still & kneel before the all knowing/seeing Omnipotent One, Il Douche' Jr. blessings be upon him.)
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To: maica

I agree. I’d like to see about 85 to 90% of the government employees given the boot, at least in D.C.


38 posted on 04/10/2010 8:51:59 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Be still & kneel before the all knowing/seeing Omnipotent One, Il Douche' Jr. blessings be upon him.)
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To: Kellis91789

“It doesn’t say it was just her. The hotel bill for the entire traveling party was probably put on her bill. Hotel and restaurant and room service tabs for how many people, and for how long a stay ?”

And I am sure that the thousands of dollars spent on jewelry was also justifiable,


39 posted on 04/10/2010 12:33:34 PM PDT by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: UCFRoadWarrior
I will not waste my conservative vote on Rubio in the primary....it will go to Bob Smith

For what?

'Bob Smith has dropped out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Florida. In a letter to supporters, Smith said that while he has run a grassroots campaign, he always knew he would need "some degree of major funding to succeed," and such'… New Hampshire Union Leader 4/6/2010

40 posted on 04/10/2010 4:42:30 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of.-- Idylls of the King)
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To: UCFRoadWarrior
I will not waste my conservative vote on Rubio in the primary....it will go to Bob Smith

Bob Smith? Bob Smith!!!???

Talk about wasting a vote...

41 posted on 04/10/2010 4:56:10 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: trumandogz

Which jewelry ? The commemorative watches given to all the legislators that attended the fund-raising event ? Doesn’t sound so outrageous depending on how many legislators were gifted. Everybody knows it costs money to have fund raising events. The article makes no mention of how much money was raised. If they spent $2M to raise $30M over this 2 1/2 year period, that might still be a great result. I just don’t think there is enough info in the article to tell, but you can be sure that a liberal newspaper is going to take things out of context so these purchases sound as outrageous as possible. This article is obviously a hit-piece trying to get Republicans to shy away from donating to the GOP. It may be accurate in its facts, but the reason it was written is to act as a hit-piece.


42 posted on 04/10/2010 7:26:36 PM PDT by Kellis91789 (Democrat: Someone who supports killing children, but protests executing convicted murderers.)
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To: Las Vegas Dave
Of possible interest??????

Nah, she's go threw my bank account in about a day :)

43 posted on 04/11/2010 8:03:52 AM PDT by NeoCaveman (we now live in a post-Obamapacolyptic world)
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To: Brandonmark

Why do you think my money is going to Sarah Palin?

Its the same with the Republica Cngtress. Constituents are just milk slugs to be stroked and choked.Out with these corrupt country club, progressive , “big tent”pubbies and in with the Conservatives. Problem solved.


44 posted on 04/12/2010 3:40:38 AM PDT by Candor7 (Now's the time to ante up against the Obama Fascist Junta ( member NRA))
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