The checks are in the mail.
Or at least they will be.
According to sources close to former state Senator Jack Latvala, the process of refunding contributions to his campaign for Governor has begun.
Latvala announced last fall that he would run for Florida governor. A prodigious fundraiser, the veteran lawmaker quickly raised nearly $1 million for his bid.
But Latvala’s ambitions came to a screeching halt late last year after he stepped down from the Legislature because of a high-profile sex scandal, which he has denied but which continues to burn,
Since that time, questions have been raised about when Latvala would officially leave the gubernatorial race and what would he do with the money he had raised for his campaign and his political committee.
Now we have our first answers.
Contributors to Latvala’s gubernatorial campaign will receive a refund for approximately one-half of their original contribution, says a source familiar with Latvala’s exit strategy.
***Update – 5:38 p.m.*** According to Latvala’s January campaign finance report, his campaign has made 12 – $1,500 refunds, beginning January 23.
Contributors are receiving pro rata refunds because, as first reported by the Miami Herald, Latvala’s been spending some of his campaign funds on legal fees to defend himself in the scandal.
In December he made payments of $100,000 to the law offices of Steven R. Andrews P.A., and $12,705 to the Adams and Reese LLP law firm, and he made a payment of $40,000 to Andrews in November.
According to the December campaign finance report available (which is a month old; new numbers are due today, February 10), Latvala’s gubernatorial campaign had raised $977,903, and also took a $20,000 loan from the candidate. After expenses, it had $635,686 left.
While this move answers the question about what Latvala intends to do with the money raised for his campaign account, it doesn’t answer what the Pinellas Republican plans to do with the more than $3.9 million he still has in his Florida Leadership Committee fund.
It’s very possible Latvala plans to sit on that account for the foreseeable future.
Florida Politics reporter Scott Powers contributed to this post.