Let's pass the hat for poor State Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla. The Florida Republican, whose video game violence bill, SB 492, was shelved last week when colleagues decided it might negatively impact on Elmer Fudd, just can't catch a break.
GP readers may recall the report in the New Times which enumerated two arrests as well as numerous traffic tickets and license suspensions in Diaz de la Portilla's past.
Then there is some nasty business with the Florida Elections Commission, which levied a $311,000 fine against Diaz de la Portilla for 1999 violations of campaign laws - the largest such penalty ever assessed in Florida. But Diaz de la Portilla appealed, and got the fine reduced to $17,000. Then, saying he still couldn't pay, he appealed again, and succeeded in lowering the fine to $8,750, an amount he still hasn't paid, for violations which occurred seven years ago.
Sadly, it seems the greatly reduced fine is just too much for the powerful State Senator. Despite his claimed poverty, Diaz de la Portilla owns two homes (including one valued at $800,000); drives a leased Lexus; maintains an investment account; and made a $15,000 personal loan to an aide.
Now the Palm Beach Post brings word that despite Diaz de la Portilla's claim that he is too poor to pay his election violation fines, he shared the cost of a chartered jet trip to the NCAA finals with seven other legislators. The newspaper reorts that his share of the bill was at least $1,335.
The senator said he saw no connection between the money he swears he can't afford to pay the Elections Commission and the big bucks he dropped on the basketball trip.
"One thing's not related to the other," he said.
But, hey, at least he's concerned about the children.