Posts Tagged ‘Campaign Finance’

Rick Scott, Mike Pence: When campaign fundraising met tax incentives for Scott’s company

Friday, September 7th, 2018

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Vice President Mike Pence flew into Florida Thursday to fundraise and campaign for Gov. Rick Scott. What you didn’t read in the political coverage of Pence’s short visit was about his previous symbiosis with Scott and how as governor of Indiana in April 2016, Pence helped Scott’s Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) obtain $650,000 in tax credits and grants.
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Donors violate Miami Beach’s campaign finance laws, but face no discipline

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
Former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco derailed his political ascent by getting involved with a committee secretly raising money for his failed mayoral bid. Yet, lobbyists and vendors that built up the PAC’s $200,000 war chest have not faced any consequences despite a city ban designed to stop them from contributing to local candidates and political action committees if they do business with Miami Beach government.
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David Smith starts Florida House run with $25K loan; David Santiago, Mike La Rosa raise $21K

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Republican candidate David Smith has started his run for Florida House District 28 with a personal $25,000 loan to his campaign.
Smith, of Winter Springs, is running to replace state Rep. Jason Brodeur, who is term-limited out in 2018, in a district that covers east Seminole County.
The former Marine colonel and modeling and simulation business consultant faces student Devin Guillermo Perez, who reported no campaign money through the end of February, in the latest information filed with the Florida Division of Elections and posted Friday.
Smith raised more than $200,000 in a failed primary challenge to then U.S. Rep. John Mica in 2014, in a race in which he contributed only about $3,000 to his own campaign.
Among Central Florida House races, Smith’s loan gives him one of the biggest campaign chests of those who have reported.
Both Republican incumbent state Reps. David Santiago of Deltona and Mike La Rosa of St. Cloud reported raising $21,000 during the month, all in contributions, and that represents their full campaign fund for the cycle so far.
Santiago has a primary opponent in House District 27, Deltona personal injury lawyer William McBride, who kicked off his campaign last year with a $250,000 loan, then took some of it back. He has not raised any money in several months but still has $114,000, including $37,000 he raised early last year.
La Rosa does not yet have an opponent in House District 42.
Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon of Longwood has $29,000 so far for his re-election bid in House District 29. All of it was raised last year. He has no opponent yet in House District 29.
Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando raised $2,000 in February, giving him $27,700 for his re-election campaign in House District 50.
Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes of Altamonte Springs raised $6,000 last month and $18,400

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Jason Brodeur raises nearly $400K in 2020 Florida Senate bid, then gives $165K back

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur had a very, very good fundraising month in February in his campaign for Florida Senate District 9 in the 2020 reelection, raising nearly $88,000 in his campaign account and another $318,000 in his independent political committee – but then gave much of it back.
“We worked real, real hard,” Brodeur, of Sanford, stated in comments to FloridaPolitics.com, adding that his PAC, Friends of Jason Brodeur, is going to report in April that it raised another $100,000 in the first few days of March before the Legislative Session started and shut down all fundraising.
However, a big chunk of the money went around in a circle, leaving Friends of Jason Brodeur’s coffers just a few days after it came in.
The incoming money  to Friends of Jason Brodeur included a Feb. 8 $150,000 donation from the Florida Committee for Conservative Leadership, run by Republican state Reps. Ben Albritton, Jr. of Wauchula and Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers.
Then, at the end of February, Friends of Jason Brodeur then donated $165,000o to Friends of Matt Caldwell, another committee supporting Caldwell.
All totaled, Friends of Jason Brodeur brought in $318,000 in February but donated or spent $173,000.
Seven other political committees also each donated more than $10,000 to Friends of Jason Brodeur during the month, from other political committees, health care and food interests.
His official campaign picked up scores of checks for $1,000, primarily from political committees and health care and hospitality interests.
Brodeur is running to succeed state Sen. David Simmons, who’ll be term-limited in 2020.
His February hauls give him $100,000 in his official campaign chest, and $910,000 in his PAC.
That dwarfs other Senate candidates from Central Florida.
Democratic state Sen. Randolph Bracy of Oakland raised $17,000 in February to start his campaign fund for a 2020 re-election bid in Senate District 11. Democratic state Sen. Victor Torres of

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Paul Paulson seeds state ag commissioner campaign with $120K

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Orlando businessman and former lawyer Paul Paulson has seeded his campaign to run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2018 with a $120,000 personal loan.
Paulson, a state committeeman with the Orange County Republican Party and 2015 candidate for Orlando mayor, entered the agriculture commissioner race in late December, seeking to succeed fellow Republican Adam Putnam, who is term-limited out at the end of 2018.
Republican state Sen. Denise Grimsley of Lake Placid also has entered the race.
New campaign finance reports posted by the Florida Division of Elections show he lent his campaign $120,000 in January. He also spent $32,000, with $18,000 of that going to BEAG Inc. political consulting in Maryland and the rest to J.M. Design of Winter Garden for printing. He did not report raising any other money, however he said he has hired a fundraiser and is using his personal money to get the infrastructure set up for a statewide campaign.
“I don’t mind putting my money where my mouth is,” Paulson said.
Grimsley raised $40,700 through the end of January, with about half of that transferred in from her last senate campaign fund, and the rest coming from scores of donors. She’s spent about $36,000, on variety of items.
Paulson, whose business is mostly in real estate, lost the 2015 mayoral election to incumbent Mayor Buddy Dyer by 30 points. Still, he’s remained a fixture around the City Beautiful, as a director of the Orlando Marathon, administrator of the Breast Cancer Outreach Foundation, and organizer in various veterans’ groups. He is a former Army combat infantry officer.
Paulson, who grew up on a cattle farm in Minnesota,  is a member of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, raises cattle in east Orange County, and has a citrus farm in Lake County.
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George Soros spends $1.8 million in Florida local races; backs four winners, two losers

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Billionaire New York Democratic campaign financier George Soros‘s interest topped $1.7 million in Central Florida politics and $1.8 million statewide this year as he financed independent campaigns that helped three Democrats win local or state legislative races while three others he backed lost.
Soros’ biggest investment came early, backing Aramis Ayala to the tune of $1.38 million in TV commercials and mailers provided by his Florida Safety & Justice political action committee to fuel her winning long-shot bid upsetting incumbent State Attorney Jeff Ashton in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit in August. Ashton was overwhelmed by the campaign, most of it attack ads, and lost.
In October a second PAC, United For Progress weighed in on four other Central Florida races and a Miami race. The PAC financed mailers, polling and other services backing Vic Torres in Senate District 15, Emily Bonilla in Orange County Board of Commissioners District 5, Benny Valentin in Florida House District 42, and Beth Tuura in Florida House District 47.
Torres and Bonilla won, defeating Republicans Peter Vivaldi and incumbent Commissioner Ted Edwards, respectively. Valentin and Tuura lost, to Republican incumbent state Reps. Mike La Rosa and Mike Miller, respectively.
In South Florida the PAC backed Robert Asencio, who defeated Republican David Rivera.
In the cases of Ayala, Bonilla, Valentin and Asencio, Soros’s committees appear to have spent more money on their candidacies than the candidates’ official campaigns could do.
The final numbers are not in – the latest campaign finance reports posted by the Florida Division of Elections go only through Nov. 3.
To date, the numbers show that in Central Florida, United For Progress spent $96,360 directly to back Bonilla; $82,307 to back Tuura; $81, 371 to back Valentin; and $16,306 to back Torres.
In South Florida the PAC spent $84,419 backing Ascencio.
In addition, United For Progress spent $70,000 on polling and other services, with no details available

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Loranne Ausley outraises Jim Messer more than 3-to-1

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Democrat Loranne Ausley has posted total contributions of over $501,000 in the race for House District 9, trouncing Republican opponent Jim Messer‘s $148,000.
Final campaign finance reports before the election were posted Saturday on the state’s Division of Elections website. The last report covers Oct. 22-Nov. 3.

For the last reporting period, Ausley raised roughly $51,500 to Messer’s $9,900, records show. Her contributors include Wal-Mart, Humana health insurance and NBCUniversal.
Total expenditures were nearly $458,000 for Ausley and around $143,000 for Messer.
Ausley seeks to replace the term-limited Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda in the seat. Ausley, an attorney, herself held the seat 2000-08 until she was term-limited.
The district traditionally swings Democrat: It’s entirely within Leon County, where registered Democrats currently outnumber Republicans 109,706 to 57,313. Another 39,821 are registered to other parties or no party.
The post Loranne Ausley outraises Jim Messer more than 3-to-1 appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Darren Soto draws $42K in big checks in closing weeks of CD 9 race

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Democratic nominee Darren Soto has collected $42,200 in large checks for his bid to be elected in the Orlando-based Florida’s 9th Congressional District since he filed his last full campaign finance report stating he had raised $1 million overall and had $83,000 in the bank.
Soto’s opponent, Republican nominee Wayne Liebnitzky has neither the starting money nor any recent large contributions, according to 48-hour filing reports the campaigns must file on big checks since the Oct. 19 campaign finance reports were filed.
Soto, seeking to become Florida’s first Puerto Rican member of Congress and to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, has collected 19 four-figure checks since Oct. 19, mostly from labor, business, and congressional leadership PACs.
They’ve included $5,000 each from political action committees representing the Service Employees International Union and the International Association of Firefighters; and $2,500 from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Nextera Energy, and the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. He’s also gotten checks from a small handful of individuals, including $1,000 from retiring state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress herself in the neighboring Florida’s Congressional District 10, losing in the primary.
In addition, Soto is getting a little bit of outside help. The Immigrant Voters Win PAC reported, separately, it has invested $1,970 in mailers to support his election.
Liebnitzky’s Oct. 19 campaign finance report indicated he had raised $31,300 by that point and had $3,800 in the bank. He has not filed any 48-hour notices, indicating he has not received any four-figure checks in the last two weeks.
The post Darren Soto draws $42K in big checks in closing weeks of CD 9 race appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Val Demings continues to attract business, labor money in CD 10 race

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Democratic congressional candidate Val Demings of Orlando continues to collect a mix of big checks from business and labor groups in her bid to be elected in the Florida’s Orlando-based 10th Congressional District.
The latest campaign finance reports filed through Wednesday show Demings had collected another 20 four-figure checks in the previous week, raising $44,200 for her campaign. She had raised a similar amount the previous week, with that $90,000 or so coming on top of the $1.4 million she had raised through the latest full reporting period, which ended Oct. 19. On that date, she had $56,000 in the bank.
Her Republican opponent Thuy Lowe of Sorrento has been running a much more modest campaign in the district, which covers west Orlando and western Orange County. Lowe reported Oct. 19 that her entire campaign had raised just over $34,000 and that she had less than $1,000 in the bank. Since then she has drawn two large checks, $1,500 apiece from residents of the district, Rick and Mollie Lugo.
Demings also has collected some recent big checks from individuals, notably Orlando hotel mogul Harris Rosen, Rosen Hotels Vice President Frank Santos, and prominent attorney David C. Brown, chairman of the Broad & Cassel law firm and a once Republican rainmaker. Political committees representing the American Association for Justice [trial lawyers], the Laborers’ International Union, the Communication Workers of America, the journeymen union, and the International Union of Operating Engineers each contributed $5,000.
The post Val Demings continues to attract business, labor money in CD 10 race appeared first on Florida Politics.

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PAC money now flooding into CD 7 race

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

U.S. Rep. John Mica and his Democratic opponent Stephanie Murphy now are getting showered with many tens of thousands of dollars in political action committee money heading into the final days before their showdown in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
In the past seven reported days, from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1, Mica’s campaign reported receiving 52 checks from political action committees and another 19 from individuals who all contributed at least $1,000 towards his re-election campaign. Total draw during that week of reports on big checks: $138,000.
Murphy had a similar week but only drew about half as much money, partly because she received fewer checks, and partly because hers tended to be smaller than those going to Mica. Her 48-hour reports from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1 filed with the Federal Election Commission showed she collected 43 checks of at least $1,000, and 33 of those came from political action committees. Overall, those checks put $70,400 into her campaign.
Overall, Mica has had and continues to have a big lead over Murphy in official campaign money raised, though the two finished the most recent complete report with about the same amount left in the bank. Through Oct. 19, the last date for which full reports are available, Mica had raised $1.4 million and had $167,000 in the bank. Murphy, who didn’t start her campaign until late June, had raised $777,000 and had $174,000 in the bank on Oct. 19.
Yet that tells only a small and misleading part of the story of who is financing the CD 7 contest.
Both campaigns, especially Murphy’s, are being bolstered by huge sums of money being spent by outside groups trying to influence the race in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and north-central and northeast Orange County. A variety of national Democratic and state Democratic groups had spent more

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Old-guard money pouring in for John Mica in CD 7

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The old guard of Orlando-Winter Park Republican politics is coming to the aid of U.S. Rep. John Mica in his hard-fought re-election battle, with tens of thousands of dollars pouring in the past few days for the 12-term incumbent in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
The donations include one from Garry Jones, president of Full Sail University, the for-profit school to which Republican Mica’s Democratic opponent Stephanie Murphy has close ties.
Jones had previously contributed $2,700 to Mica in February, but that was long before his business partner’s daughter-in-law, Murphy, entered the race in late June. On Thursday Jones donated another $2,700 to Mica’s campaign, demonstrating a point Murphy had once made, that Full Sail’s leadership, long politically active and generous in Central Florida politics, is also bipartisan. Jones’ wife and Full Sail’s chief information officer, Isis Jones, also donated $2,700 to Mica on Thursday, adding to the $2,700 she donated to him in February.
They weren’t alone.
According to 48-hour notices the campaigns now must post with the Federal Elections Commission, since last Thursday Mica’s campaign pulled in $2,000 from Marcos Marchena; $1,000 from Frank Kruppenbacher; $1,500 from Robert Saltsman; $5,400 apiece from Orlando Magic Owner Richard DeVos, his wife Helen DeVos and at least $2,700 each from seven other members of the DeVos family; and $2,700 from Orlando timeshare mogul David Siegel;, all prominent Republicans in the Orlando community. Mica also got $5,000 from the JEB PAC of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
All totaled, Mica’s campaign attracted $44,400 since last Thursday, according to two 48-hour notices his campaign has filed.
Murphy’s campaign has filed only one 48-hour notice so far. It showed $13,800 in donations, including $1,000 from former Florida Sen. Daryl Jones and $5,400 from the Service Employees International Union Committee On Political Education.
The post Old-guard money pouring in for John Mica in CD 7 appeared first on Florida

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Loranne Ausley opposes special interests – while her PAC takes their money

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Democratic House candidate Loranne Ausley‘s recent ad bemoans “special interests” who “run our state government and control our legislators.”
“They get the benefits,” she says in a voiceover. “We get the cuts.”
But campaign finance records show Ausley also has taken thousands of dollars from special interests for a political committee (PC) that she controls.
The story was first reported Monday on Tallahassee political gadfly Steve Stewart‘s blog, Tallahassee Reports.
Ausley, a Tallahassee attorney, opened her “Florida 2020” PC on Oct. 7, 2014, about seven months before she declared her candidacy for House District 9 on May 4, 2015. She’s listed as chair; her husband, William Hollimon, is treasurer.
Since then, the PC has accepted contributions from U.S. Sugar ($5,000), Disney ($10,000), and investor-owned utilities Florida Power & Light ($10,000) and TECO Energy ($5,000), records show.
It also took money from the usually Democratic-friendly Florida Education Association’s political arm ($10,000) and the Republican-leaning Florida Jobs PAC ($5,000), an adjunct of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
The PC’s biggest contributor? Her father, Tallahassee lawyer and former Board of Regents chair Dubose “Duby” Ausley, who gave a total of $35,000.
Florida 2020’s total haul of about $105,500 pales in comparison, however, to Ausley’s general campaign account, which now has raised over $417,000. Those contributions also include TECO and various divisions of Disney, though in smaller amounts of $1,000.
The campaign took money from real estate, insurance, retail, and other interests, all in smaller individual amounts.
Republican challenger Jim Messer‘s campaign, which so far has raised less than half of Ausley’s campaign war chest, focused on local givers, including businesses and lawyers. Messer also is an attorney.
Ausley, in an email, said she’s “honored by the contributions I’ve received from friends and neighbors in all walks of life.”
“Their support is not a reflection of any votes I have taken or may take in the future, but rather a reflection of their experience working with me,” she added. Ausley

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John Mica, Stephanie Murphy, each raise about $400K in latest period

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Though he has not yet drawn the kind of massive outside campaign support backing his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. John Mica raised $400,000 in the seven weeks prior to October and had more than $1 million left to spend against Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
Murphy also raised nearly $400,000 between the Aug. 10 report and Sept. 30, when the latest reporting period closed.
Yet Murphy, a first-time candidate who did not file until late June, began her deluge of campaign spending in August and she entered October with just $167,000 in the bank, according to the latest reports, posted Monday by the Federal Election Commission.
Mica also reportedly has just spent the bulk of his money in a big TV buy, though it occurred after the Sept. 30 reporting date. That would put his cash-on-hand close to what Murphy entered the month with.
Mica, a 12-term congressman putting out the call that he’s in a real race for the CD 7 seat for the first time in decades, drew $198,000 in individual contributions and another $203,000 in political action committee money during the period. He also spent just $82,000 in the period, less than a quarter of what Murphy reported spending since Aug. 10.
During a debate sponsored and webcast Friday by WESH NEWS 2 in Orlando, Mica accused Murphy of having a very small number of local contributors, and receiving most of her money from out of state. Murphy disputed that, saying she has a lot of local contributors.
However, in the itemized report identifying contributors, fewer than 50 of those who donated to her campaign since Aug. 10 actually live in CD 7, and they combined to contribute about $35,000. That’s about 20 percent of the identified contributions in her latest report. Much of the rest of her donations came from

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John Mica, Stephanie Murphy, each raise about $400K in latest period

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Though he has not yet drawn the kind of massive outside campaign support backing his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. John Mica raised $400,000 in the seven weeks prior to October and had more than $1 million left to spend against Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
Murphy also raised nearly $400,000 between the Aug. 10 report and Sept. 30, when the latest reporting period closed.
Yet Murphy, a first-time candidate who did not file until late June, began her deluge of campaign spending in August and she entered October with just $167,000 in the bank, according to the latest reports, posted Monday by the Federal Election Commission.
Mica also reportedly has just spent the bulk of his money in a big TV buy, though it occurred after the Sept. 30 reporting date. That would put his cash-on-hand close to what Murphy entered the month with.
Mica, a 12-term congressman putting out the call that he’s in a real race for the CD 7 seat for the first time in decades, drew $198,000 in individual contributions and another $203,000 in political action committee money during the period. He also spent just $82,000 in the period, less than a quarter of what Murphy reported spending since Aug. 10.
During a debate sponsored and webcast Friday by WESH NEWS 2 in Orlando, Mica accused Murphy of having a very small number of local contributors, and receiving most of her money from out of state. Murphy disputed that, saying she has a lot of local contributors.
However, in the itemized report identifying contributors, fewer than 50 of those who donated to her campaign since Aug. 10 actually live in CD 7, and they combined to contribute about $35,000. That’s about 20 percent of the identified contributions in her latest report. Much of the rest of her donations came from

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John Mica, Stephanie Murphy, each raise about $400K in latest period

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Though he has not yet drawn the kind of massive outside campaign support backing his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. John Mica raised $400,000 in the seven weeks prior to October and had more than $1 million left to spend against Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
Murphy also raised nearly $400,000 between the Aug. 10 report and Sept. 30, when the latest reporting period closed.
Yet Murphy, a first-time candidate who did not file until late June, began her deluge of campaign spending in August and she entered October with just $167,000 in the bank, according to the latest reports, posted Monday by the Federal Election Commission.
Mica also reportedly has just spent the bulk of his money in a big TV buy, though it occurred after the Sept. 30 reporting date. That would put his cash-on-hand close to what Murphy entered the month with.
Mica, a 12-term congressman putting out the call that he’s in a real race for the CD 7 seat for the first time in decades, drew $198,000 in individual contributions and another $203,000 in political action committee money during the period. He also spent just $82,000 in the period, less than a quarter of what Murphy reported spending since Aug. 10.
During a debate sponsored and webcast Friday by WESH NEWS 2 in Orlando, Mica accused Murphy of having a very small number of local contributors, and receiving most of her money from out of state. Murphy disputed that, saying she has a lot of local contributors.
However, in the itemized report identifying contributors, fewer than 50 of those who donated to her campaign since Aug. 10 actually live in CD 7, and they combined to contribute about $35,000. That’s about 20 percent of the identified contributions in her latest report. Much of the rest of her donations came from

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Labor, tourism, citrus money coming in for Victor Torres in SD 15 race

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Democratic state Rep. Victor Torres‘s bid for a promotion to Florida Senate District 15 is getting the financial blessing of several big Orlando business interests, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
Torres, who is facing Republican Peter Vivaldi, received thousands of dollars in the last two weeks of September from interests representing the Walt Disney Co., Mears Transportation, the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, beer distributors, and several unions, along with several thousand dollars in citrus agriculture money.
Torres had a tough primary battle and spent almost all of his campaign money to date prior to the Aug. 30 primary, but in the last two weeks of September he brought in $30,429, giving him about $34,000 heading into October for the final push toward the Nov. 8 general election.
Vivaldi, a youth minister and businessman, raised $4,725 in the final weeks of September, giving him $17,000 in the bank heading into the last month of the election campaign. Vivaldi did not have a primary opponent.
They’re running to replace state Sen. Darren Soto, a Democrat from Orlando who is running for U.S. Congress rather than re-election. SD 15 covers south Orange County and part of northern Osceola County.
Among Torres’s latest contributions were five $1,000 checks from labor union political action committees; four from various Disney entities; four from beer distributors’ interests; two from Mears entities; two from the AMSCOT pay-day lending company; one from the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, and one from Isle of Capri Casinos. He also received four $500 checks from various PACs representing Southern Gardens Citrus holdings, and one from the Orlando Magic.
Vivaldi’s big, recent contribution also was agriculture-related, $1,000 from the Florida Farm PAC, plus another $250 from the Orange County Farm Bureau.
The post Labor, tourism, citrus money coming in for Victor Torres in SD 15

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Carlos Guillermo Smith not taking independent opponent Shea Silverman for granted

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Democratic House District 49 nominee Carlos Guillermo Smith never drew a political party opponent in his quest to win Florida House District 49 back from the Republicans, and he’s not taking lightly his lone rival, independent candidate Shea Silverman.
Smith, who has pushed one of the strongest fundraising campaigns in Florida of any non-incumbent running for the Florida House of Representatives, also is spending that money. The latest campaign finance reports show Smith spent more than $40,000 on campaign mailers in the past three weeks.
Smith, a gay rights lobbyist, former legislative aide, and former Orange County Democratic chairman, raised nearly $137,000 for his campaign through the end of September, according to the latest report, and has spent $94,000 of it. That included spending $44,000 in the last two weeks of September.
Silverman, a computer technology specialist at the University of Central Florida, has raised just under $3,000 and spent just over $2,000 for his campaign, according to the Sept. 30 report.
At least three Smith mailers have already gone out in HD 49, which covers part of northeast Orange County, including UCF and several large Hispanic neighborhoods. There’s one picturing Smith in a rainbow T-shirt and holding a megaphone at a rally. There’s Smith in a business suit standing amidst a diverse group of community leaders. There’s Smith posing in front of the Orlando skyline. Each mailer has offered different aspects of Smith’s background, record, and platform.
The seat is vacant because Republican incumbent state Rep. Rene Plasencia chose to move to House District 50 this year.
The post Carlos Guillermo Smith not taking independent opponent Shea Silverman for granted appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Barack Obama signs short-term bill to fund government past election

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

President Barack Obama has signed a short-term funding bill to keep the government from shutting down at the end of the week.
Lawmakers eager to leave town to campaign for re-election gave themselves breathing room by voting to continue existing spending levels for another 10 weeks, beyond the Nov. 8 election.
Members of Congress will have to reach agreement on funding for the rest of the budget year when they meet in a lame-duck session after the election.
The bill Obama signed Thursday also provides $1.1 billion to address the Zika crisis. And it has $500 million to help Louisiana flood victims.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.
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Donald Trump campaign plans $140 million ad buy

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Donald Trump‘s campaign is planning for what it says will amount to $140 million worth of advertising from now until Election Day.
The total, if executed, would include $100 million in television airtime and $40 million in digital ads, according to senior communications adviser Jason Miller.
The plan represents a new approach for the billionaire businessman, who has repeatedly bragged in recent weeks about how much less he’s spent than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and seemed to rely heavily on free media coverage of his large rallies.
Through this week, the Trump campaign has put only about $22 million into TV and radio ads for the general election, according to Kantar Media’s political advertising tracker. Clinton has spent more than five times as much on those kinds of ads, $124 million so far.
Trump’s new ad buy will include 13 states, from key battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, to new targets of Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin, Miller said. About $40 million of the ads will play on national TV, he said.
That averages to about $16.7 million per week in TV ads; Miller said the first $15 million ad buy was made Friday, although media buyers and services such as Kantar Media didn’t immediately see evidence of that.
Clinton’s ad reservations going forward total about $11 million per week, but her campaign can add to those buys at any time.
Trump’s advertising plan costs more than his campaign has in the bank, meaning he needs to dip into his own pockets or continue raising major money.
As of Sept. 1, the campaign had about $50 million in cash, though in a news release earlier this month, the campaign said it had $97 million in cash when including his joint accounts with Republican Party allies.
Trump has continued to experience strong fundraising online this month, campaign aides

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Dean Asher swamping Linda Stewart in SD 13 campaign money, spending

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Democratic nominee Linda Stewart maintains that she’s not afraid of money being spent against her.
Here it comes. Republican nominee Dean Asher spent more than $28,000 between the last reporting period prior to the Aug. 30 primary through last Friday and still has nearly $300,000 in the bank in his quest to defeat Stewart in Florida Senate District 13.
The latest campaign finance reports show that Asher was able to raise $8,800 while spending nearly three times that much in the first three weeks of the general election period. Meanwhile his official campaign has $138,806 in the bank and his political action committee, Allegiant Friends of Florida, has $154,370.
Stewart, who defeated two Democratic opponents in the primary despite being outspent nearly 20-1 by Mike Clelland, actually had her biggest fundraising period yet, raising $6,800 since the Aug. 26 pre-primary report, including $780 she lent her campaign. And she spent $2,850. That leaves her with $4,666.
SD 13 covers north central and northeast Orange County and offers an open seat, since incumbent Senate President Andy Gardiner was term-limited into retirement. It has changed, however, since Gardiner was last elected and now has a strong Democratic-leaning electorate.
The post Dean Asher swamping Linda Stewart in SD 13 campaign money, spending appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Gold cards and red hats: A Trumpian approach to fundraising

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Donald Trump is underwriting his presidential bid by selling the Donald Trump lifestyle — and campaign finance records show it is working.
For the low price of $25, you can snag a Trump Gold Card emblazoned with your name or join a campaign “Board of Directors” that comes with a personalized certificate. For $30, grab one of Trump’s signature red hats — billed as “the most popular product in America.” Supporters can elevate themselves to “big league” by ponying up $184 for a signed, “now out of print” copy of Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal.”
There’s a catch to some of these merchandising claims. There is no evidence the board of directors exists. “The Art of the Deal” is still in print, available for $9.34 in paperback. And the new campaign edition of the book is signed by an autopen, not Trump, as noted in the solicitation’s fine print.
Regardless, the appeals have paid off.
Through the end of July, people giving $200 or less made up about half of his campaign funds, according to fundraising reports through July. For Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, those small gifts accounted for about 19 percent.
The two candidates each claim over 2 million donors, but Trump has been fundraising in earnest for only about three months, compared to Clinton’s 17-month operation. Both are expected to report the details of their August fundraising to federal regulators on Tuesday.
“His brand appeals to quite a number of people,” said John Thompson, digital fundraising director for Ted Cruz‘s Republican presidential campaign. “It’s smart for him to use it for fundraising. The celebrity factor builds a natural donor community on its own, without him having to do too much.”
Hyperbolic campaign marketing is a natural fit for Trump, who has puffed up the value of what he sold throughout his business career.

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Donald Trump signed improper charity check supporting Pam Bondi

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Donald Trump‘s signature, an unmistakable if nearly illegible series of bold vertical flourishes, was scrawled on the improper $25,000 check sent from his personal foundation to a political committee supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Charities are barred from engaging in political activities, and the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign has contended for weeks that the 2013 check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation was mistakenly issued following a series of clerical errors. Trump had intended to use personal funds to support Bondi’s re-election, his campaign said.
So, why didn’t Trump catch the purported goof himself when he signed the foundation check?
Trump lawyer Alan Garten offered new details about the transaction to The Associated Press on Thursday, after a copy of the Sept. 9, 2013, check was released by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Garten said the billionaire businessman personally signs hundreds of checks a week, and that he simply didn’t catch the error.
“He traditionally signs a lot of checks,” said Garten, who serves as in-house counsel for various business interests at Trump Tower in New York City. “It’s a way for him to monitor and keep control over what’s going on in the company. It’s just his way. … I’ve personally been in his office numerous times and seen a big stack of checks on his desk for him to sign.”
The 2013 donation to Bondi’s political group has garnered intense scrutiny because her office was at the time fielding media questions about whether she would follow the lead of Schneiderman, who had then filed a lawsuit against Trump University and Trump Institute. Scores of former students say they were scammed by Trump’s namesake get-rich-quick seminars in real estate.
Bondi, whom the AP reported in June personally solicited the $25,000 check from Trump, took no action. Both Bondi and Trump say their conversation had

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Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
For the past four years, about 40 investors and snowbirds who own 42 rooms in a landmark oceanfront art deco hotel have been locked in a pitched court battle with one of Miami Beach’s most politically connected families to keep their units.
The post Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
For the past four years, about 40 investors and snowbirds who own 42 rooms in a landmark oceanfront art deco hotel have been locked in a pitched court battle with one of Miami Beach’s most politically connected families to keep their units.
The post Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
For the past four years, about 40 investors and snowbirds who own 42 rooms in a landmark oceanfront art deco hotel have been locked in a pitched court battle with one of Miami Beach’s most politically connected families to keep their units.
The post Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
For the past four years, about 40 investors and snowbirds who own 42 rooms in a landmark oceanfront art deco hotel have been locked in a pitched court battle with one of Miami Beach’s most politically connected families to keep their units.
The post Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Convicted thief sets up South Florida super PAC with Federal Election Commission’s OK

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
Four years after being convicted of stealing $35,000 worth of textbooks from Ohio State University’s law school library, Christopher Brian Valdes set up a super PAC this month in South Florida with the blessing of the Federal Election Commission.
The post Convicted thief sets up South Florida super PAC with Federal Election Commission’s OK appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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