GOP women demand Crist return campaign funding from strip club owner

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Speaking in front of "Scalett's Ybor Strip" in Tampa, Republican Party of Florida chair Leslie Dougher and Representative Kathleen Peters demanded Charlie Crist return the $90,000 he received in campaign finance from strip club owners today. Crist received $40,000 from “Cheetahs” and $50,000 from “Scarlett's” in Hallandale Beach, Florida. 

This comes less than a week after members of Florida for Fair Rates, activists and Representative Dwight Dudley demanded that Rick Scott return $1.2 million in campaign funding he received from Duke Energy, as well as the $3.2 billion for its failed nuclear power plants, after it was made known that Duke was overcharging small business and churches.

Dougher says, “We don’t talk about our campaign donations.” Peters says she sees a significant difference between Crist accepting money from strip clubs and Scott accepting money from Duke Energy, but none of them wanted to comment on Scott’s campaign. Their platform is minimum wage for women working in these clubs.

Dougher says her concern is for the workers. While many strip clubs not only refuse to pay their dancers and employees, they also illegally require them to share their tips and even pay fees on top of that, just to work. She says Crist’s acceptance of this money is “disgusting and degrading to women.” She says Charlie is “declaring a war on women.”

In 2011, Cheetah’s, owned by Joe Rodriguez, reopened after a two year long legal ordeal after his club was raided and investigated for prostitution and drugs. After the city lost $211,836 in legal costs and fees, the Hallandale Beach City Commission allowed him to reopen. All of the 16 dancers and two managers arrested, only suffered misdemeanors, and Rodriguez was not charged with anything.

Debbie Cox-Roush, Vice Chair for the Hillsborough County Republican party, says “Charlie says he supports equal work for equal pay, he says he’s a proud supporter of the Violence Against Women’s Act.” She asks, “Not as a Republican, but as a woman, for Charlie to do the right thing. Not for political gain, but for women, for our society, give the money back.”

When asked about the strip clubs donations this morning, Crist’s response was - "We got it from a management company as I understand it, so I'm here to vote today. Today's all about early voting."

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