Fla. Republicans claim Crist broke campaign finance laws

Published On: Mar 18 2014 04:23:53 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 19 2014 08:35:09 AM EDT

A complaint by the Republican Party of Florida contends former Gov. Charlie Crist got an illegal campaign contribution because his name and face were on billboards put up by the Morgan & Morgan law firm.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida Republicans are saying former Gov. Charlie Crist and his law firm broke the state's campaign finance laws.

Juston Johnson, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, filed a complaint Tuesday with the state elections commission.

The complaint contends Crist got an illegal campaign contribution because his name and face were on billboards put up by the Morgan & Morgan law firm.

Crist joined the firm after he lost his 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate. His face was placed on billboards that urged people to wear their seat belt or not text while driving.

Crist jumped into the governor's race last November. Billboards with his face came down by early 2014.

"I guess it should be no surprise that trial lawyer Charlie Crist is being helped by his trial lawyer partners at Morgan & Morgan, but his campaign's failure to report their help is a violation of the law," Johnson said in a statement. "Morgan & Morgan billboards with Charlie Crist's face on them while he was a declared candidate qualified as a reportable contribution. Failing to report the billboards is a clear breach of the law and a promise to work 'for the people.'"

An attorney working with Crist called the complaint "frivolous" and said the billboards had a legitimate purpose.

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