Last week Republican Trey Rustmann, running for a Hillsborough County Commission seat in District One, filed an ethics complaint against his GOP challenger, former state House Representative Sandy Murman. Rustmann says Murman began soliciting campaign donations before she filed her paperwork to qualify to run for office two weeks ago.
State law requires candidates to file their paperwork prior to establishing campaign accounts or receiving or distributing funds on behalf of their candidacy. In a press release issued last week, Rustman said that Murman submitted her paperwork to file for the election at 11:35 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, and then returned back to the supervisor of elections office nine minutes later with a check from her campaign account to qualify for the race. He filed his complaint with both the state ethics commission and the Florida Elections Commission.
"We felt like it was the right thing to do," Rustmann told CL Saturday morning, where he stood with supporters waving signs at the corner of Bayshore and Bay to Bay Boulevards in South Tampa. "Evidence suggests that she violated state elections laws, and we want to make sure we bring it to people's attention."
Unlike Murman, or the probable Democratic candidate, now former Tampa City Councilman John Dingfelder, Rustmann has never ran for public office before. He currently works at Kforce, the job placement agency. Before that, he was in the U.S. Marines, where he originally served in the 1990's, including being involved in the Bosnian conflict. After active duty, he went into the reserves. But after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he volunteered to serve again, and served as part of the C Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion that invaded Iraq.