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Should Florida GOP Return Donations?

Yesterday, The Washington Post revealed that Delray Beach billionaire and oilman Harry Sargeant III may have bilked the US government -- and, by extension, the US taxpayer -- to the tune of $200 million, while supplying jet fuel to American troops in western Iraq. Rep. Harry Waxman (D., CA), accused him of "the worst kind of war profiteering."

And what did Sargeant do with his profits? While he worked as a government contractor, Sargeant -- who once served as the Finance Chair for the Florida GOP -- along with his immediate family members, donated over $1.2 million to Florida's Republican party.

Shouldn't the GOP return the cash?

Eric Jotkoff, of the Democratic Party of Florida, thinks so. He said:

I think they need to at least be asked about [giving back the money]. After receiving upwards of $1.2 million from Harry Sargeant, we've learned that some of that money might be from his war profiteering. Some of that money might have been taken from the tax payers inappropriately. They need to address that, or they'll just be seen as endorsing Sargeant's actions.

Of course, a Democrat would say that, wouldn't he? But the idea's got an appealing logic. After all, the GOP loathes nothing quite so much as wasteful government spending, and in an indirect way, that's exactly what's helped fill the Florida GOP's coffers. It might be time to give back.

(The GOP spokesperson, Trey Stapleton, has yet to return my calls for comment.)

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Brandon K. Thorp

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