Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, will be officially designated on Tuesday by the Republican Caucus to become the next Senate president starting after the 2010 elections.
He is expected in his remarks accepting the designation to touch on the need for transparency in politics and government.
And one way that could happen says Haridopolos is the re-establishment of so-called leadership funds, a provision that was included in last session's controversial election bill.
"One way you can build trust in government is to be more transparent,'' said Haridopolos.
Leadership funds - or separate accounts maintained by legislative leaders - were outlawed 20 years ago. They came under fire after suggestions that legislators were taking money from the same people who needed help getting something passed by the Legislature. When the idea came up briefly this past session it was criticized again by some groups such as Common Cause and by senators such as Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg.
Critics of the current ban argue that since the funds were banned that there has been an explosion of other fundraising vehicles - including committees of continuous existence and 527s - that has rendered the existing law meaningless.
But there are limits on using money from CCEs and 527s directly to help other candidates. CCE's, for example, can only donate $500 per candidate. Right now legislative leaders raise money for the political parties but under the law they cannot not have any say over how that money is spent. That decision legally can only be made by party leaders.
Leadership funds, however, would allow an incoming Senate president raise the money, and then spend the money on the candidates that they want to help.
Haridopolos stressed that his support of leadership funds is not related to the ongoing controversy surrounding Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer and his handling of party finances.But Haridopolos said he supports leadership funds so that regular citizens would be able to see how much money leaders have raised, and just as important, who that money is from. Haridopolos noted how no one still knows the source of all the 527 money used against his "friend" John Thrasher in a contentious special Senate election earlier this year.
There were rumblings that legislators planned to consider a bill during this special session to consider leadership funds, but Haridopolos would only say that he had heard some "rumors" to that effect. So for now, the idea will have to wait until the spring session.