Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 12:02 p.m.
Jeff Greene at a recent campaign stop in West Palm. The pick of a rotten litter?
All three of the leading, party-backed candidates for U.S. Senate in Florida come with major ethical baggage, according to a report today by a Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio, and Kendrick Meek among its 11 "Crooked Candidates,"
based on those Senate campaigners' tendency to abuse their office. So does that mean the fourth candidate within range of victory, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, is the most ethical choice for Florida?
I put that question to CREW's executive director.
"Oh no! We're not endorsing Jeff Greene by any stretch of the imagination," said Executive Director Melanie Sloan. She says that CREW took a long look at Greene, "but what we found was he was just a sort-of sleazy guy -- as opposed to someone who had actually abused his office, like the other Senate candidates."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but considering Greene has run one of the most cynical campaigns in recent history, don't be surprised if he uses the CREW material against Meek. May I recommend the slogan: "Jeff Greene for Senate: Because I haven't abused my office (yet)."
For what it's worth, the ethics watchdog sympathizes with Florida voters. "I can't believe there's no one in Florida better than these four guys," says Sloan. "It's a sad state of affairs in Florida."
Naturally, 22nd Congressional District candidate Allen West also made the list of crooked candidates -- that makes four crooked candidates for Florida, seven for the rest of the nation. Sounds about right.