Maggie Haberman, Politico
It’s getting rough in the Sunshine State.
Jeff Greene, the self-funding Florida billionaire running in a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate there with just days till voting begins, are raising questions about rival Rep. Kendrick Meek’s government-leased car and how he’s used it.
â€œIs this the experience that Kendrick Meek is bragging about Florida needing on the campaign trail? He has not been able to pass one single bill, is connected to corruption scandals, does favors for his campaign contributors, gives himself thousands of dollars in pay raises and now we learn he has taxpayers paying $14,789 annually for his car,â€ Greene said in a statement, which he’d also hit several days back as the car issue was emerging. â€œThis guyâ€™s record in Congress is ridiculous, and he is clearly abusing his position on the taxpayerâ€™s dime. He is exactly what what we donâ€™t need.â€
â€œThis also raises the question, has the car been used solely for work-related activity?” asked Greene. â€œHe needs to return that expensive car immediately.”
The car in question is a GMC Yukon, which he’s leased for the past eight years through his government office, and which he keeps in Florida while his family’s two cars are in Washington, where his family lives.
A Meek spokesman said that he doesn’t use the car for personal business and has said it before.
‘He and his wife have two cars, they wantedÂ to be as a family in Washington, D.C., especially having two young children, and not be away and have Kendrick miss” time with his kids, the spokesman said. He added that, for campaign purposes, the campaign has spent lots of money on rental cars and cabs and the like.
Still, a Greene aide pushed on the personal-use issue, saying, “He’s probably driving around in his mother’s Stackhouse-provided, corrupt Escalade.”
That was a reference to a controversy involved Meek’s mom, who held his seat before him, and who was allegedly paid $90,000 in consulting fees by a developer named Dennis Stackhouse, who later saw the then-congresswoman support federal funding for a proposal of his.
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