Powers That Be

It's nice to have wealthy and influential friends, especially when you need loads of campaign cash

In fact, Scruggs says, two weeks ago Rundle asked about a rumored investigation involving Pino: "I found out his name had come up in an investigation, but he wasn't the main target. Kathy decided she would have no further contact with him. We were in the process of determining whether to send the money back when someone leaked the story. If there was a problem, I wish somebody would have told us rather than playing ögotcha!' twenty days before the election."

At this point, Rundle says, she hasn't sent back any money. Quite the contrary, the checks have been rolling in, with the most notable bundle coming from Puerto Rico, where Rundle's office has no legal jurisdiction and from where she received no contributions in the 2000 election. This year, though, 43 individuals and 33 companies donated the maximum $500; two more individuals donated $300. This is clearly the hard work of fiancé David Efron. "I'm a very good friend of Mr. Efron," reports Miguel Velez, a San Juan engineer who donated $500. "So because of him I put some money in her campaign."

Rundle acknowledges the help. Efron, she says, "is an incredible support system for me. He's also a very astute, intelligent lawyer, and I value his input greatly." But, she adds, there's more to the Puerto Rican contributions than her fiancé hitting up friends and associates. "I never really realized how many Puerto Ricans own and do business in Miami-Dade. They are incredibly supportive."

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