Media

Mike Murphy says money raised by Jeb Bush SuperPac will give opponents heart attacks

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BuzzFeed listened in on a conference call with Republican media strategist Mike Murphy and super donors to Jeb Bush's super PAC, Right to Rise.

According to BuzzFeed, which admits "crashing" the call, Murphy pushed donors to keep raising money before the close of the current campaign finance period on June 30. He predicted dire consequences for Bush's rivals in the 2016 presidential campaign when they see the Bush financial report in July.

"We (will) give some heart attacks to people in July," said Murphy. "It’ll effect some of their decisions, it’ll bum out their donors, and it’ll hurt their money, which cuts off their oxygen, and frankly we want to choke ‘em all out. So, um, you’re killers — I’m gonna turn you guys loose to that mission."

Murphy tell them the PAC wants to "hit the biggest possible number" because, "we want to maximize our crushing advantage there as a sign of strength." 

The BuzzFeed story is a must read for anyone who wants a glimpse of the Bush strategy.


Hello I'm Governor Jeb Bush and I'd like to slow jam this news with Jimmy Fallon

Jeb Bush looked very much like a 62-year old white guy giving it his best to play with the cool kids  - and in an odd way he pulls it off during his appearance on Jimmy Fallon.

A number of interesting double entendres here. Plus Bush gets a chance to break into Spanish.


Is Jeb Bush hot especially when he speaks Spanish

Nicolle Wallace, a member of The View cast, and a frequent guest on Morning Joe, started fanning herself as she described Jeb Bush as "hot" when he speaks Spanish.

Wallace worked for Jeb before moving to his brother's White House press shop. She later was a key figure on the McCain/Palin presidential campaign. In fact, she was portrayed in the HBO movie Game Change for her frequently clashes with the ill-prepared, tough-to-train Palin.

Nicolle, a friend of Crowley Political Report, is also a best selling author.

Here's what she said about Jeb Bush's hotness:

 


Did Democratic oppo group give New York Times Rubio traffic ticket story

Rubiofin
Let's start with the premise that the fact that Florida Senator Marco Rubio got a handful of traffic tickets over nearly 20 years is not a big deal. And the fact that his wife got quite a few more, well, who cares? 

Still, that is one of the big stories in today's New York Times.

Perhaps more interesting, however, is the media squabble that is unfolding with the Washington Free Beacon reporting that the New York Times got its traffic ticket story from Democratic research firm American Bridge.

The Beacon reports: Records show that each of the citations mentioned by the New York Times were pulled in person by American Bridge operatives on May 26, 2015. . . .Neither of the reporters, Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder, appeared on the docket records for any of the traffic citations for Rubio and his wife. An additional researcher credited in the New York Times, Kitty Bennett, also does not appear on any of the court records.

Note the word "operatives." Makes it all sound very shady. 

Frankly, it is more surprising that the Times needed two reporters and a researcher to work on a simple traffic ticket story.

Here's a snippet from the Times story:

According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets, the Rubios have been cited for numerous infractions over the years for incidents that included speeding, driving through red lights and careless driving. A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four separate occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.

Now there is nothing at all unusual about reporters being fed information from outside groups. Happens every day. What the Beacon is doing is trying to make the Times appear to be working with Democrats. Of course this ignores the fact that when Republican leaning groups give the Times similar information against a Democrat it would also be published. 

What really seems odd is that the traffic ticket story seems silly and may actually help Rubio's presidential campaign. This just helps him with his "I'm just one of you" image that he is cultivating. 

Read the Times story and the Beacon story here and tell readers what you think.


Jeb Bush and his big brother problem

JEB BUSH _

 

Does Jeb Bush like being compared to his brother, former President George W. Bush? That is the central question in an interesting piece written by Politico Florida reporter Marc  Caputo.

For much of his political career, Jeb Bush has performed a delicate balancing act when it came to his family. The Bush name effectively made him, opening doors in politics and business and producing in him a fierce family loyalty. At the same time, with two Bush presidencies and a life of patrician privilege to live down, Jeb has felt obligated to insist to the world, “I am my own man.”

This week, Bush took a serious tumble from that high wire, botching a simple question about the Iraq War that his brother George W. Bush launched and which most surveys now show a majority of Americans believe was a disastrous mistake. “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked him. “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody,” Bush confidently replied. “And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

But Jeb wasn’t finished with his show of family loyalty, the polls be damned. “Just for the news flash to the world: If they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those,” he declared, just as defiantly. Bush also surprised some donors at a recent closed-door meeting by saying that his brother, whom many Americans believe mishandled the post-9/11 challenge in Iraq, was his top foreign policy adviser on the Mideast, according to the Washington Post.

All in all, it was a disastrous couple of days for the Bush campaign.
 

Now this analysis by Caputo is just the kind of thing that irritates the hell out of the Bush world.

As Caputo aptly points out, Bush may not like it but he's stuck with comparison's to his brother. And those comparison are not going to stop anytime soon.

Caputo, a former colleague, also interviewed Crowley Political Report for the story. Here's what we had to say:

For some of those who have covered Jeb Bush and worked for him, the incident exposes his testy media management style, one in which he grows especially defensive about his older brother, who unexpectedly got his shot at the White House before he did.

So Bush—his guard up and his talking points at the ready (Hillary voted for the Iraq War)—answered the question he wanted, not the question asked. And his response persuaded almost no one.

 “That was the kind of ‘I’m going to dismiss the reporter, I’m going to dismiss the question’ response but it’s also a sign of a testiness that can cause him some trouble,” said Brian Crowley, the former political editor of the Palm Beach Post who covered Bush’s unsuccessful race for governor in 1994 and his subsequent blowout wins in 1998 and 2002.

Even before Bush’s first run for office, Crowley said, he pushed back against the notion that his family ties gave him special privileges. Still, after his father won the vice presidency, Bush was a “regular correspondent” with the White House and used his connection to advocate for everything from airport issues to Motorola to a businesswoman seeking federal help to increase the sales of rabbit meat, according to a recent New York Times report. In Miami, Bush became a rich man after his partnership with real-estate developer Armando Codina. “Jeb didn’t get that job with Codina because he was John Ellis. He got it because he’s John Ellis Bush,” Crowley said, referring to the initials that have become Jeb’s de facto first name.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush and his big brother problem" »


What Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio talked about

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio found themselves sitting next to each other on a flight to Miami last week. NPR asked Rubio what the two men discussed just hours before Rubio announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for president.

From NPR's transcript of the interview:

A Florida political reporter noticed that you spent a plane ride sitting beside Jeb Bush, more than two hours, coming back from an NRA convention. Did you guys talk about the presidential campaign at all?

Not in great detail. Jeb and I are friends, we'll always be friends. And I have tremendous admiration for him as a person, what he did as governor, and personal affection. And that's not going to change.

I don't view, I'm not running against Jeb Bush and I'm not running against anybody in this field. I'm running because I strongly believe that I have something to offer this country that no one else in the field does at this moment in our history.

And I'm going to go out there and do the best job that I can and — but, I mean, that's not going to impact our relationship in any way that's going to change how we feel about one another and it was great to see him and spend quality time just talking about good times and everything going on ...

You didn't talk politics very much at all?

... and everything in between. Sure, I mean we had observations about — we joked with a lot of the passengers who saw us sitting next to each other and we took some pictures with people and we told them, we warned them how historic a picture like that may be one day.

And, um, but you know, we talked about the Masters, we talked about the Paleo diet, we talked about the Miami Dolphins. I mean it, we talked about, reminisced about old war stories from our time in the legislature, when I was in the legislature and he was governor. It was just a host of things.

Sooner or later if you go forward and he goes forward, there's going to be a moment where you're going to have to say, "Here's why it should be me and not him."

I don't know. I mean, I think this year's going to be quite different in that regard. We have a quality field of candidates who are going to be well financed and experienced, who are going to be running. And I think that'll change the nature of the race.

There'll certainly be moments when others will try to draw distinctions. But in my mind, I'm going to talk about who I am and what I want to do. And I'll let voters make the decision about who they think is best capable at this moment of leading our country.

Read the entire NPR transcript here.


Marco Rubio tells George Stephanopoulos he is the most qualified to be president

In an exclusive interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, newly-minted 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio says he, "absolutely" feels like he is the most qualified candidate to be president.

One suspect that fellow candidate and Floridian, Jeb Bush, as well as some other cand: Iidates, may disagree.

Here's what Rubio told ABC:

"I think this country's at a generational moment where it needs to decide not what party it wants in charge but what kind of country are we going to want to be moving forward?" Rubio told Stephanopoulos in an interview at the Florida senator’s home. "I think the 21st century can be the American century, and I believe that I can lead this country in that direction. I can help lead it there from the Senate. I can lead it there as president.”

When asked whether Rubio believed if he was the most qualified candidate to be president, he said: “I absolutely feel that way.”

Read more here. See the full interview Tuesday on Good Morning America.


Jeb Bush video when cool is not cool

Capitol City Project, which describes itself as providing "a unique glimpse into the news of the Washington, DC, political class." takes on Florida presidential candidate Jeb Bush in a video just released hours ago. 

On the group's website, Capital City Project says it is "a non-partisan investigative new group." 

The video hits on a couple of themes that are already worrisome for Bush's campaign. But we suspect no one will be voting for or against Bush based on whether he is "cool."

 


Peter Schorsch is at again with Influence, a first look

Influence cover
Whatever one thinks of Peter Schorsch, and he is indeed a controversial figure, no one can deny that he has been an innovative leader of Florida's New Media. Again and again Schorsch sees an opening and grabs it - profitably.

As Florida newspapers continue layoffs, struggle to grab audience share, and push shrinking newsrooms to do more with less, Schorsch grabs money-making, staff building opportunities that newspaper owners can't seem to fathom.

Schorsch's latest effort is a quarterly magazine called Influence. The first issue appears Monday. Crowley Political Report was given an advance, review copy of the 136 page magazine.

In his introduction to the magazine Schorsch writes:

During the 2012 election cycle, about $404 million was spent by Florida candidates and political committees. Although that figure doesn’t include what Barack Obama and Mitt Romney dished out, it’s still a healthy number. A lot of political consultants built beach houses in Cedar Key and Destin with what they earned that year.

During the same period, more than $425 million was spent by over 2,500 companies, trade associations, local governments, and unions to influence the 160 members of the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.

In other words, much more money is spent to influence lawmakers than to elect them.

Schorsch is right but Influence does not appear to be an attempt to report about unscrupulous lobbyists, or shenanigans in the Capitol. Instead, Influence seems to be the GQ of the Tallahassee's increasingly wealthy lobbyists.

Continue reading "Peter Schorsch is at again with Influence, a first look" »


Is Jeb Bush acting like a bully in GOP race for president

Jebbush 1994 bonifay
Jeb Bush campaign in Bonifay 1994 - Florida Memory Project


Anyone who followed Jeb Bush's three campaigns for Florida governor had to snicker a bit each time Bush has said he will only run for president if he can do it "joyfully."

Today, the New York Times discovered the less than startling fact that Bush will "joyfully" hurl a fastball straight to the noggin of anyone who dares to get in his way.

From the Times story:

Mr. Bush has vowed to run a “joyful” presidential campaign free from the seamier sides of party politics, projecting the air of a cerebral man almost effortlessly drawing together Republicans eager to help him seek the White House. But behind the scenes, he and his aides have pursued the nation’s top campaign donors, political operatives and policy experts with a relentlessness and, in the eyes of rivals, ruthlessness that can seem discordant with his upbeat tone.

Their message, according to dozens of interviews, is blunt: They want the top talent now, they have no interest in sharing it, and they will remember those signed on early — and, implicitly, those who did not. The aim is not just to position Mr. Bush as a formidable front-runner for the Republican nomination but also to rapidly lock up the highest-caliber figures in the Republican Party and elbow out rivals by making it all but impossible for them to assemble a high-octane campaign team. 

Where shall we begin.

How about 1994, 1998, and 2002. In each of those elections, Bush attempted to corner the market. It was much more difficult in his first bid for governor because Florida's senior politicos had their own organizations, their own sense of entitlement, and little desire to step aside for an upstart new-comer to the Sunshine State even if his last name was Bush.

Bush stunned them by nearly winning the primary outright. His closest rival, Secretary of State Jim Smith, reluctantly quit the race under pressure from Bush and GOP insiders who wanted to avoid a run-off battle. Smith quit and Bush lost in the general to incumbent Governor Lawton Chiles, a Democrat.

In 1998, Bush's team cleared the decks for him locking up the nomination in the same way they are trying to knock off rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Once Bush became governor, he and his team did not tolerate opposition to his ideas, his programs, or his strong-handed method of governing.

You are either in the Bush world or out of it. If you fall from grace, it is nearly impossible to get back in.

The Times story is worth reading - especially for those unfamiliar with Jeb Bush's world and his idea of campaigning joyfully.

 


First Amendment Foundation calls for special prosecutor

Fallingcocofinc
Florida Governor Rick Scott and the members of state Cabinet - each independently elected - are being urged to have a special prosecutor look at the firing of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Scott had ducked, dodged and finally sort of admitted the firing could have been handled better. The Cabinet members are shocked, simply shocked, that they may have been misled.

Bottom line, Scott has a long, proud history of ignoring public records and public meetings requirements and seems more than happy to continue to walk the edges of Florida's Sunshine Law.

The Sunshine Law is not about the media - it's about a Florida's citizen's right to know that our government is doing.

Below is a letter release by the First Amendment Foundation today. (Note: Brian Crowley is a member of the Foundation's board of trustees).

 

 

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR SCOTT

AND

THE MEMBERS OF FLORIDA'S CABINET

 We are writing today to express our deep concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the firing of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and the hiring of his replacement, Rick Swearingen.  

There is intense public interest regarding this matter and we think it imperative that an independent investigation be conducted to address the serious constitutional issues related to Mr. Bailey's departure. 

The continuing controversy erodes public trust and confidence in the highest levels of our government.  Additionally, the controversy and ensuing media coverage calls into question Florida's well-deserved reputation as having the most progressive open government laws in the nation. 

Continue reading "First Amendment Foundation calls for special prosecutor " »


New Jersey editorial wants Jeb Bush to run to stop Chris Christie

We are deep into the will he or won't he stage of Jeb Bush for president speculation. Now we have a editorial from the New Jersey Star Ledger calling on Bush to run to force New Jersey Governor Chris Christie out of the race.

"Let's hope he jumps in" says the editorial page today. "He is one of the grown-ups in the Republican Party, a pragmatist who believes in the art of compromise, and he has shown the guts to push back against pressure from the Tea Party on big issues, like immigration and taxes."

Then the Star Ledger offers its real reason for supporting Bush:

If Bush jumps in, that deals a hard blow to the presidential hopes of Gov. Chris Christie, who is trying to stake out that same ground.

So a Bush candidacy would likely hasten the day when Christie gives up, and gets back to doing his job.

Well that's an interesting reason to push for a Bush candidacy. 

But then the editorial concludes:

This is not endorsement of Bush. And yes, the idea of another Bush-Clinton race leaves a sour taste.

But he’s clearly one of the party’s most sensible voices. And if he can start strong, who knows, we might get our governor back and have at least a chance to fix what’s broken at home.

Read the editorial here.


New York Times takes hard look at how lobbyists influence Pam Bondi and other AGs

Pam Bondi
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is one of several attorneys general whose relationships with law firms and lobbyists is carefully examined in this New York Times investigation.

Some brief excerpts from this must read story:

Breakfast was served on a patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean — a buffet of fresh baked goods, made-to-order eggs, lox and fruit — as the Republican attorneys general, in T-shirts and shorts, assembled at Beach Village at the Del, in Coronado, Calif.

. . .

The group had gathered at the exclusive Beach Village at the Del — where rooms go for as much as $4,500 a night and a special key card is required to enter the private compound — for the most elite event for Republican attorneys general, a gathering of the Edmund Randolph Club (named for the first United States attorney general).

. . .

The club, created by the Republican Attorneys General Association, has a $125,000 entry fee — money used to fund the campaigns of attorney general candidates with as much as $1 million, and to pay for the hotel bills, airfare and meals for the attorneys general who attend the events.

. . .

Ms. Bondi, the Florida attorney general, for example, received nearly $25,000 worth of airfare, hotels and meals in the past two years just from events sponsored by the Republican Attorneys General Association, state disclosure reports show. That money came indirectly from corporate donors.

She has charged Florida taxpayers nearly $14,000 since 2011 to take additional trips to meetings of the National Association of Attorneys General and the Conference of Western Attorneys General, including travel to Hawaii. Those events were also attended by dozens of lobbyists. Ms. Bondi, in a statement, said the support she had received — directly or through the Republican Attorneys General Association — had not had an impact on any of her actions as attorney general.

The Times story goes on to look at cases that Bondi dropped that the Times suggests were a result of undue influence. Bondi, in a statement, disagreed.


Debate War begins Crist 7 Scott 3

Eledonk
You can't have an election without a debate war. One side claiming it will debate "anytime, anywhere, anyplace," and the other - unusally the incumbent - pushing for fewer debates.

Our morning begins with a pronouncement from Florida Governor Rick Scott that he has decided to accept three debates - with the Democratic primary winner, Charlie Crist or Nan Rich.

Let us pause for a minute. It is awfully cute of the Scott campaign to offer to debate Nan Rich. Of course they do not for a second believe that Rich is going to win the Democratic nomination which is why they have spent tens-of-millions on television ads hammering Crist and not a dime on Rich.

Scott's announcement includes this tidbit:  He urges both candidates to agree to these debates now, so that proper planning and scheduling can take place . . .

How thoughtful.

Scott said he will participate in three debates: WSCV Telemundo 51, October 10; Leadership Florida, October 15; and CNN, October 21. Each would be televised statewide.

Not so fast says the Crist campaign which quickly responded with a statement saying Crist has accepted seven debates. In a statement, Crist said: “Rick Scott limiting debates to three is a disservice to voters, but not surprising considering his history of refusing to answer questions to avoid going to jail."

Ouch. 

Crist said he has accepted these debates:

Univision
Tampa Bay Times with CBS Affiliates
NBC Affiliates (by WESH)
Statewide Public Radio (by the Tampa Tribune)
Telemundo 
Leadership Florida
CNN

The Tampa Bay Times put particular note on the fact that Scott is apparently snubbing its plans for a debate. It not likely that Scott will change his mind about the Times which has slammed him on its editorial pages.

Will there be more than 3 debates? Not likely but time will tell.


Florida Governor Rick Scott is on HBO

One of the funniest new programs on HBO is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Apparently the program picked up on item, that was also featured on Crowley Political Report, from a Mother Jones story about Republican Governor Rick Scott having a fundraiser tonight at the home of Geo Group CEO George Zoley. 

We'll let John Oliver take  it from here.

 Read more about the event here and here.

Follow Crowley Political Report on Twitter: @CrowleyReport


Rick Scott has some tough questions coming in the next few days

RickScott
This week has not been a good one for the campaign of Republican Governor Rick Scott. He became comic relief for a number of national television media who discovered what Florida reporters have known for several years - Scott just cannot answer questions.

While the national media was giving Scott grief, Tampa Fox 13 skewered Scott's history of dodging questions and fudging facts. Fox's report is below and it is well worth watching.

Now, Scott is about to get hit with a new set of questions that he simply can't afford to dodge. 

Let's begin with gay marriage. On Thursday a Monroe County judge ruled that two gay men can legally marry. That decision is now pending an appeal by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Scott is certain to face questions about the ruling which, if eventually successful, could overturn a Florida constitutional amendment declaring that marriage in the Sunshine State can only be between a man and a woman.

Scott spokesman John Tupps said: "Governor Scott supports traditional marriage, consistent with the amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008, but does not believe that anyone should be discriminated against for any reason."

Dear Mr. Tupps - that statement is not going to hold up under close questioning. It would seem difficult to both support the anti-gay marriage amend and oppose discrimination "for any reason."

So the governor is going to need a better answer. 

Scott is also going to have to deal with new questions from Florida scientists about climate change. They want a meeting with Scott - he has offered them his staff. His  Democratic rival, Charlie Crist has offered to meet with the scientists.

Scott  will need share his thoughts about Crist's new running mate - Annette Taddeo.

And, he will continue to be pressed on whether he supports increasing the minimum wage, All Aboard Florida, immigration reform and other issues.

While Scott and his team may think it is damn clever to give the governor a 10 second sound bite and have him repeat it over and over as if he is incapable of independent thought - the idea is clearly not working.

What you get instead is an image suggesting Scott is so afraid of saying the wrong thing that he becomes trapped by his own soundbite. This is not something that instills faith in his leadership or makes Floridians feel warm about him.

The solution is simple. Sure, have a couple of talking points but also be willing to just have a conversation. 

After all, it may be the media that you clearly loathe standing in front of you - but it TV audiences who are seeing and hearing you.

Or, Scott can keep doing this: 

 

Scott art by Brian J. Crowley. Copyright Crowley Political Report.


Rick Scott and Star Trek

Star Trek Norman computer
Sometimes you wonder if Florida Governor Rick Scott believes he will self-destruct if he acutually answers a question that is asked of him. Perhaps, as a kid, Scott was haunted by an early episode of the Star Trek series.

Captian Kirk was trying to defeat a human-looking computer named "Norman" by confusing it.

 KIRK: "Everything Harry Mudd tells you is a lie. Remember that! Everything Mudd  tells you is a lie!"

MUDD: "Now listen to this carefully, Norman: I AM LYING!"

NORMAN: "You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie, but... you lie, you tell the truth, but you cannot for you ... Illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are Human! Only Humans can explain their behavior! Please explain!"

Norman than blows all his circuits.

One can picture young Rick sitting in front of his black and white television vowing that he will never be trapped like that computer.

It may be the most generous explanation for why Scott seems so deeply unwilling to answer most questions directly. He is clearly terrified that a direct answer to a question could cause him to self destruct just like Norman.

The only problem is that Scott is not a computer and he risks self-destruction from his non-answers. It has gotten so bad that his lastest series of non-answer, answers were featured on CNN Ridculist. 

Scott was asked about the presence of uniformed Hillsoborough County sheriff's deputies at a  Scott campaign event last week. Florida law forbids on-duty, uniform wearing cops from being at campaign events. Some officers apparently believed they were at an official function for the governor and not a campaign event.

The video below shows how Scott danced away from questions about the event in a way that made him look - well, ridiculous. Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times compared Scott to SIRI.

Video of Scott's performance was already making the rounds, pushed cheerfully by Florida Democats and the Charlie Crist campaign, before CNN's Anderson Cooper made it a national story. 

Scott could have done himself a world of good had he answered the question about the deputies this way:

 If there was a misunderstanding that caused some officers not to know that it was campaign event, I apologize. I am deeply appreciative of the amazing support I have received from law enforcement, they do tremendous, good work for the citizens of Florida, and I promise them that I will continue to be stong supporter of law enforcement as the governor of this great state.

Instead, Scott did this:

 


Florida GOP fires back at media

Earlier today Crowley Political Report told readers about a lawsuit challenging the use of blind trusts as part of required financial disclosure statements. Florida Governor Rick Scott has some of his personal holding in a blind trust. See details about the suit here

The lawsuit has ticked off the Florida Republican Party which notes that the media, which is joining the suit, praised the passage of legislation toughing ethics and disclosure laws. That of course does not mean the media supported blind trusts.

Here is the GOP response.

 

 

ELECTION SEASON AMNESIA

Florida Press Sues On Ethics Law They Crafted And Endorsed One Year Ago

Orlando Sentinel“Several news organizations, including the Associated Press, the Miami Herald, and the Florida Times-Union have signed on to support the challenge, said Barbara Petersen with the First Amendment Foundation, an open government group supported by the media.”

STATEMENT FROM RPOF COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR SUSAN HEPWORTH:  “It is the height of hypocrisy for Florida media outlets, which claim to be unbiased, to join in a lawsuit against a law they endorsed one year ago. This lawsuit is a shameful partisan hatchet job."

Continue reading "Florida GOP fires back at media" »


Rick Scott's blind trust targeted in lawsuit

Below is a press release about a lawsuit challenging the use of blind trusts as part of required financial disclosure statements. Florida Governor Rick Scott has some of his personal holding in a blind trust. The lawsuit argues that blind trusts usurp Florida's Sunshine Amendment. 

Note: The First Amendment Foundation supports the lawsuit. Brian E. Crowley is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation.

The release:

Askew’s chief of staff challenges

blind trust financial disclosure

         TALLAHASSEE, FL – Saying he was motivated by protecting the late Gov. Reubin Askew’s legacy, Askew’s former chief of staff filed a lawsuit Wednesday urging the Florida Supreme Court to prohibit using blind trusts in place of full financial disclosure.

             “Governor Askew’s commitment to full and public financial disclosure is a major part of his legacy,” said former chief of staff Jim Apthorp.  “Florida voters supported full disclosure when they overwhelmingly passed Askew’s Sunshine Amendment in 1976.  Blind trusts circumvent the full public disclosure mandated by the Constitution, and we’re asking the Supreme Court to prohibit officials from using them to shield sources and amounts of income from the public.”

            Apthorp’s petition urged the court to prohibit the use of blind trusts in financial disclosure and order Secretary of State Ken Detzner to refuse to accept the qualifying papers of any candidates who attempt to use blind trusts.  It also asked the court to invalidate a 2013 law allowing blind trusts in financial disclosure and displace two Ethics Commission opinions saying that blind trust are an acceptable form of disclosure.

             Officials who have used blind trusts in lieu of full public financial disclosure include Gov. Rick Scott and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

Continue reading "Rick Scott's blind trust targeted in lawsuit" »


PolitiFact says Charlie Crist mostly false on abortion

 One of the best television interviewers in the state is WPTV's Michael Williams host of the Sunday program To the Point. Democratic candidate for Florida  governor Charlie Crist was on the program Sunday and at times got a touch testy with Williams during the interview.

Politifact's conclusion after watching the program: Crist said in a TV interview that he hasn’t changed his view on abortion restrictions. We find that misleading -- unless you're talking about having views that have always been difficult to pin down.

Read the complete Politifact report here.

It is true, Crist has appeared to be all over the place on this issue - and his political rival, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, will probably argue that this is but one of many issues that Crist circles with a variety of views.

Disclosure: Most Sundays Crowley Political Report does political analysis on the program.

See the complete interview here. The abortion discussion is below. 

Note: Due to a Denial of Service Attack on TypePad, the company's websites, including this one, crashed for several days. We apologize to our readers.