In the interest of following the money, here goes—
Ray Rodrigues’ 2014 campaign for representative of district 76 was financed partially by Ron Book to the tune of $2000 via direct contributions, as a consultant, as a lawyer, and through a relative. This is interesting partially because Ron Book is listed as a lobbyist for Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Inc and Florida Distillers, according to Online Sunshine.
Another client of Book’s contributed to Rodrigues’ campaign: AT&T ($500), though not necessarily at his behest.
Book is also President of Lauren’s Kids, an organization that raises awareness of child abuse and promotes legislation geared to protecting the vulnerable. They sound like an organization many would like to support, including myself.
Rodrigues’ campaign also received $500 from Gold Coast Beverage directly and $500 from Florida Beer Wholesalers Good Government, who pushed against allowing 64 ounce growlers back in March of last year. Florida is one of only 3 states where these are illegal.
And Rodrigues got $500 from Coastal Beverage.
It is interesting perhaps because Rodrigues is sponsoring Florida House Bill 1329. This bill allowed the larger growlers while limiting how small breweries can distribute their products and introduce them to the public. According to one analysis, at least, it favors larger distributors the likes of which contribute to Rodrigues’ campaign. It asks that new breweries restrict direct sales and close tasting rooms.
According to an NBC2 report, Rodrigues says he wants to protect the 3-tier system in place since Prohibition, and Jenn Whyte, of the Fort Myers Brewing Company, which would be grandfathered in at its current location, said she would lose 200 customers a day if she moved, so she could never expand, and never move under the bill.
In the course of my recent research about right wing think tank the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), I couldn’t help but notice that Rachel Maddow had quite recently accused them of being in the sway of the Koch Brothers. The above video illustrates with video and everything.
This was followed up by a very strangely seemingly serious fallacy pecking hunt by Politifact. Some of their points, like that the money flows rather randomly among these organizations are rather dubious, but let’s forget about that for now.
If you read it, you will see that their research actually did a lot of legwork for me, for which I thank them.
Anyway, FGA, purportedly headed by Tarren Bragdon, has contributed to such things as Rick Scott’s now defunct welfare drug testing policy that apparently may have benefited him finanacially.
If you read the Politifact piece it includes a lot of interesting most likely accurate information. They mention that Robert Levy donated to the FGA, but they left out that Robert Levy is also listed as part of the leadership of the FGA on their own website.
You’d think this would be relevant here, right? And, with all the digging they did, they didn’t look at the FGA website?
Robert Levy is a member of the Cato Institute founded by none other than Charles Koch. In fact, originally it was called the Charles Koch Foundation.
So, can we rename the Pulitzer prize winning Politifact to, say, Politopinion?
Anyway, if you haven’t stopped reading and decided I’m a nut for mentioning the word Koch already, let’s look at some more Kochy stuff going on, shall we?
Apparently, the Koch brothers made a friendly donation to Integrity Florida, a “watchdog” group. To his credit, a member of the group, Martin Dyckman, resigned. It turns out part of the reason for this may involve Enterprise Florida, which is one entity Integrity Florida is meant to keep an eye on.
Nonetheless, Integrity Florida released a report slamming Rick Scott for burning up lots of public cash (imagine that <–Politifact, ha) in his efforts to drum up business for a host of big money interests including Florida Power and Light (FPL). One such effort involved a trip to Chile, in which he brought along local Tammy Hall, now imprisoned for wire fraud. She has also been wearing a wire for the FBI. Apparently, she put in 600 hours for them.
Are the FBI conspiracy theorists too? I wonder.
Anyway, this is just the tip of the local toxic iceberg. It turns out that FGA is also very associated with Strategic Advocacy . This is covered in other pieces on this site. What really disturbs me about Strategic Advocacy is that they openly advertise that they have a client who is the “The nation’s largest energy company” and, at the same time:
“Because many of our engagements are for public affairs that go beyond traditional Capital lobbying, not all of our client relationships require lobbying registrations and, in those cases, our clients greatly value the confidentiality we provide them. We would be happy to discuss our client list in greater depth during an in-person meeting.”
I will freely admit, being a independent blogger who doesn’t know the law that I’m not sure exactly what to make of this. But, it just seems horribly wrong to me that a company, which is also running Ray Rodrigues’ campaign, can openly advertise open confidentiality of lobbying activities to their clients who may include the “nation’s largest energy company.”
What the hell happened to America?
Anyway, I called Roy Lenardson, who runs Strategic Advocacy, and asked about this lobbying, which is listed on their page as confidential, and he refused to name any of the companies. I speculated that one might be Exxon, the nation’s largest energy company, and denied it, insulted me, let me ask a different question, didn’t answer it, and hung up on me.
Yes. Nothing to see here.
EPA PUBLIC HEARING: KEEP THE FRACK OUTTA PUBLIC WATER--
Golden Gate Community Center Auditorium, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, FL 34116
The EPA Hearing is scheduled for MARCH 11. SAVE THE DATE! 4:00-8:30PM.
We need you and all of Florida to join us to create critical mass; how many show up will determine what the EPA does. Save our water and our Everglades from dirty drilling. To speak or submit comments, email Mcmanus.Fred@epa.gov
Hosted by Karen Dwyer
CORRECTIONS: 24 Ave. SW and Desoto…Ron L Book, not Bookman…
More about fracking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96AEzQYangE
Sometimes when quiet
has its way,
stories to gentle
the world to rest,
disclosing its darkness
carries this ache
of my struggle