Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories looking at what former Florida politicians are doing with campaign accounts they never shut down.
Mike Haridopolos‘ 2012 bid for the U.S. Senate never even made it to 2012, but eight years after pulling out of the primary, the Merritt Island Republican continues to benefit from the campaign cash he raked in for that run at federal office.
It appears his lobbying clients, which include NASCAR promoters and an online ticket reseller are also benefiting from the cash.
Haridopolos hauled in $3.5 million in 2011 for his federal run, all while holding the gavel — and wielding enormous power — as Florida Senate President. The money poured in, by the hundreds of thousands of dollars, from individuals at corporations and firms with business before the Senate President.
However, most of the millions went unspent after Haridopolos dropped out of the race that summer.
In the following eight years, Haridopolos cashed out those contributions, using his old campaign funds as a personal checking account, making nearly 100 donations to political committees and candidates, according to federal campaign filings.
Haridopolos sent leftover campaign donations — instead of personal funds