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Ousted House Speaker Ray Sansom racked up about $173,000 on his Republican Party-issued credit card, taking his family on a trip to Europe, making visits to Best Buy and spending thousands on flowers, clothing, meals and hotels.
As a recession tightened on Florida families, Sansom was spending freely, records show, on tuxedo rentals, Chinese food and a steady flow of coffee — $839 at Starbucks alone.
The American Express statements, covering a two-year period, were made public Thursday as part of the criminal case against Sansom, who is accused of official misconduct in securing $6 million in taxpayer money for an airport building that a developer and campaign contributor, Jay Odom, allegedly wanted to use for his private jet business.
Taken together, the credit card charges cast the Destin Republican in a starkly different light from the small town politician who preached fiscal restraint.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”