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Charlie Crist Concedes Election Finance Violations, Forced To Refund Donations

During the first of three gubernatorial debates between Florida Governor Rick Scott and Democrat gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist, viewers were treated to a sort of political ‘Lucha Libre’ where both heavyweight contenders took their turn landing political jabs and body blows at one another.

One of the jabs Crist threw at Scott was that of the Florida Governor whisking around the state on his private jet.

This is true.

Rick Scott flies around on his own private jet doing state business, and even has the nerve to pay for the fuel from his own pocket, instead of billing taxpayers.

The nerve of him!

Crist’s hypocrisy here is rich.

When Crist was governor of Florida, the former Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat use to fly around in private jets that were billed to the taxpayers, and or the Republican Party of Florida.

Now Charlie ‘Hypo-crist’ and his gubernatorial campaign have been called out and busted by Republicans for committing campaign finance violations.

Republicans filed a complaint against Team Crist for “repeated” finance violations. After the complaint was filed, Crist & Co. refunded thousands of dollars to donors who exceeded the legal limit of $3,000.

Here is a partial list of those “super donors” to Crist’s campaign:

donors

Click on the image for a larger view.

In addition, the GOP contends that Crist and his political committee have spent well over $64,000 on private airfare, that according them,  appeared on their finance reports, but only after the complaint was filed.

Honest mistake by the Crist campaign?

Probably not.

Political hypo-Crist-y?

You betcha!

EDITORS NOTE: The column originally appeared on The Shark Tank. Follow The Shark Tank on Facebook and Twitter.

Massachusetts: How the GOP tried to destroy Mark Fisher, conservative candidate for Governor

But as Sept. 5 primary nears, Tea Party activists are fighting back! How MassResistance made the difference . . .

Most people assume that the major threat to getting conservatives elected to high office is the liberal Democratic machine. In recent years there’s been another major front in that war: The Republican Party establishment –both state and national. This is fueled by millions of dollars from “progressive Republican” businessmen. And, sadly, it includes many sellout pro-family groups and politicians. [All photos by MassResistance except where noted.]

Fisher at the GOP convention:”I am a full-platform no-excuses-necessary loyal and proud conservative Republican … [Around the country] conservative solutions are the cure for liberal failures … The time has come to tear down that big liberal tent.”

This kind of talk drives the GOP establishment crazy!

But we’ve never seen anything like the Massachusetts Republican Party’s outrageous (and we believe, criminal) efforts to subvert pro-family/Tea Party candidate Mark Fisher’s campaign for governor, which we’ve detailed below.

During Fisher’s speech, former Mass. Governor Bill Weld (sitting, at right), a RINO who voted for Barack Obama, looks up at Mark Fisher and you can tell he’s not happy!

A disturbing national trend explodes in Massachusetts

Ever since the days of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, there’s been a tension between the GOP establishment — who felt they could avoid the Left’s hostile attacke by appeasing them on most “hot-button” issues — and the conservative base who vote on principle. In recent years, this has led to many high-profile battles with Tea Party backed candidates in Republican primaries, which has angered the establishment considerably.

So now we’re seeing the next step: The aggressive purging of conservative candidates for high office before they can get a foothold.

Here in Massachusetts this has turned the State Republican Party into an overtly hostile anti-family institution devoid of political principles that long-time activists no longer recognize. This year Party elites were particularly determined to avoid a primary battle for Governor that could endanger their annointed “moderate” candidate, Charlie Baker.

Fisher’s candidacy for Governor attracts a torrent of GOP hostility

The appearance of Mark Fisher in the Massachusetts governor’s race stymied the Republican establishment. He is not only a fairly solid conservative and wealthy enough to get his campaign off the ground, but he is bright and articulate and can hold his own in any debate. For example, in several head-to-head debates with GOP rival, Charlie Baker, does a much better job in our opinion.

Mark Fisher and Charlie Baker debate at Boston Globe office, which is unquestionably hostile to Fisher.See article and VIDEO of debate here.[Boston Globephoto]

From the very beginning of his campaign, Fisher became Public Enemy #1 to the Republican State Committee and their allies. Their goal was to keep him from being able to run in the primary. And they almost succeeded.

Below is a list of the efforts by the GOP and “pro-family” establishment in Massachusetts over the last year to keep conservative Mark Fisher from being able to run for Governor against the RINO Charlie Baker in the Republican primary. Even most Republicans aren’t aware what’s been going on. That’s why we’re publishing this.

Don’t be surprised if you see these things happen in other states:

A. Prior to the State convention . . .

1. Hostility at his candidacy by “pro-family” Republicans. Late last year when Fisher announced his candidacy, and it became known that he was a pro-family conservative with the means to carry on a serious candidacy, the establishment (including so-called “pro-family” people) began hounding him not to run so Baker would not have a “conservative” challenger. According to newspaper reports this included Karyn Polito (currently running for Lt. Governor), State Rep. Ryan Fattman, and GOP National Committeewoman Chanel Prunier, who also leads the Coalition for Marriage and Family. We know of many other prominent GOP politicians and pro-family “leaders” who also approached Fisher.

2. Turned down by GOP sign company. According to reports, in February Fisher was turned down by a company that regularly makes campaign signs for the GOP because the company was warned  not to do business with Fisher or risk losing other GOP sign business.

B. At the March 22 GOP State Convention . . .

The Mass. GOP state convention filled Agganis Arena at Boston University.

To get on the state ballot, a candidate needed 15% of the delegates to vote for him at the state GOP convention on March 22, 2014. The Mass. GOP made an enormous effort to keep Fisher from getting that amount.

3. Outrageous fee to speak at GOP convention. In order to speak at the GOP State Convention, the Mass GOP raised the “entry fee” for gubernatorial candidates to $25,000, to deter Fisher. Candidates for other statewide offices were charged a fraction of that to speak. Fisher paid it.

4. State Committee emails telling delegates to vote for Baker. The day before the Convention, delegates received “official” looking emails from their state committee representatives telling them that to vote for Charlie Baker – and thus not have a primary by keeping Fisher off the ballot — would be the best thing for the Party.

This “official” email to delegates from their state committeewoman started off with “official” info, but then told them that voting for Baker would be best for the Party.Read it here.

5. The waiting room from hell. State-wide candidates were given nice rooms to prepare for their convention speeches. Mark and his team were given a smelly locker room with benches surrounded by toilets and shower stalls.

Going into the convention Fisher people expected to get 30%. Given that GOP activists who become delegates and actually go to the convention are generally fairly conservative, and seeing who they were on the day of the convention, it was generally believed that Fisher would get at least 30% of the vote. But no one was prepared for the high-pressure campaign that took place that day.

6. Huge pressure on delegates to vote for Baker. Throughout the day, a small army of State Party officials, State Committeemen, GOP State Reps, Town Party Chairmen, GOP candidates for office, and others put on a coordinated effort to strong-arm and harangue delegates not to vote for Fisher –- to either vote for Baker or vote “blank.” We heard about all kinds of interesting threats, mostly involving loss of GOP financial support and/or access to GOP facilities.

On the giant screen GOP national committeewoman Chanel Prunier exhorts the delegates to vote for Charlie Baker.
This delegate told us that during the convention he was pressured by his state committeeman, state committeewoman, State Rep. and even a state pro-family activist to vote for Baker.But he held out and voted for Fisher!

7. GOP won’t release video of Fisher’s convention speech. When his turn came at the convention, Fisher gave a very good speech. The GOP had set up a sophisticated video recording system in the auditorium. But later when Fisher asked for a copy of his speech, the Mass GOP refused to give it to him. Luckily, MassResistance also made a video of his speech, which we’ve allowed his website to use.


VIDEO: Fisher’s convention speech was one of the best we’ve ever seen. The GOP wouldn’t release their video of it, so we let him have OURS!

8. Delegations’ votes are publicly announced, but result is ignored.The vote tally was very public. A GOP official at the podium called out to each of the 40 delegations for their results. Each delegation, using a portable microphone from their area in the auditorium, announced their totals for Baker, Fisher, and “blanks” from their tally sheets which had the names of the delegates and how they voted. The whole thing took about 20 minutes. But at the end, the grand totals were not announced.

9. Convention halts while “re-counting” takes place. The convention immediately stopped and a group of party officials huddled around some tables in front of the stage. At first was not clear what they were doing. Finally, we were told that a “re-counting” of sorts was taking place. This went on for at least half an hour or more.

Right after the public vote. Party officials gathered around a table at the front of the hall for a “re-count.”

10. Baker is declared winner, but actual vote totals still not announced. A few minutes later, Baker was declared the “winner. ” And with a rain of balloons and confetti, and he came up and gave a speech. But what percentage did Baker get? What percentage did Fisher get? It was not announced – only that Baker won.

Even though no vote totals were announced, Charlie Baker was hailed as the “winner” with a sea of confetti. Here Baker (center) is being congratulated by Bill Weld (right).

11. “Re-counting” continues, and “results” finally announced. After Baker’s speech, party officials moved to tables in a back room area and continued their mysterious “re-counting.” After about another two hours, it was announced that Fisher had only received 14.765% of the votes, just missing the 15% requirement. Fisher’s people were not allowed to examine the tally sheets for themselves, however.

The “re-count” group then convened to a back room out of sight. Long after the convention had been gaveled to a close, people continued waiting for the results of the “re-count.”

C. After the convention . . .

12. Mass GOP announces Fisher will not be the ballot. The day after the convention, the Mass GOP announced to the press that Mark Fisher had not received the 15% requirement, and therefore would not be on the ballot. The GOP stood by its “re-count.”

13. Tally sheets still kept hidden.  The Mass GOP continued to refuse to let anyone see the individual delegate vote tally sheets, which apparently added up to the GOP’s new official vote count. Several delegates expressed concern that their votes had been tampered with, miscounted, or that they were “assigned” votes when they hadn’t voted at all.

14. MassResistance video of public vote during convention shows Fisher got his 15%! During the convention, while the delegation votes were being publicly announced, no one had thought to write them down and add them up. But MassResistance videoed the entire process.When we played the video and counted the votes that were announced, we found that Mark Fisher GOT just over 15%, even if you include blank votes. We posted the video and allowed the Fisher campaign to use it, and it was reported in the Boston media. This brought up an additional question: Why were “blank” votes counted in the total, when it was apparently against the rules?


VIDEO: MassResistance video of the roll call vote at the GOP convention revealed that Fisher GOT his 15%! Thus, Fisher’s campaign got new life.

15 Fisher takes the Mass GOP to court.  Why did the public vote count show that Fisher got his 15% but the mysterious “recount” by the GOP showed he didn’t? Why the difference? Obviously, an examination of the tally sheets –- which should have had every delegate’s name and how he voted — would reveal that. But the Mass GOP refused to release them, and they would not give a reason. So the Fisher campaign filed a lawsuitagainst theMass GOP in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston to examine the tally sheets and get on the ballot.

16. Mass GOP caves in and allows Fisher on the ballot. After about three months of preliminary court hearings, the Mass GOP decided to let Fisher on the ballot. But they still refused to release the tally sheets – even to State Committee members – for examination.

17. Court case temporarily crippled Fisher candidacy. Although Fisher won the case, it left his campaign in terrible shape. It cost Fisher’s campaign approximately $100,000 in legal fees. But also, during that 3-month period he was considered “not on the ballot,” so he could not easily raise money, nor could he attract enough volunteers to help get his required 10,000 signatures which were also needed to get on the ballot, so he had to pay professional signature gatherers. And during that time he wasn’t included in candidate forums, etc. so he lost a lot of public visibility. It was a devastating blow that almost sunk him.

18. Fisher campaign not allowed to use Mass GOP campaign resources. The Mass GOP has set up an expensive and elaborate “MassVictory” operation with offices, phone banks, etc. around the state. All GOP candidates are allowed to use those facilities -– except Fisher. They won’t let his campaign use them. It’s outrageous.

19. Fisher not listed on Mass GOP website. The State Party website currently has names and photos of all the statewide candidates on the ballot – except Fisher. The sheer hatred of Fisher by the party establishment takes them to these absurd lengths.

20. Sleazy GOP State Committee votes to keep tally sheets secret.Even after the court case subsided, the Mass GOP executives had even refused to let the 80-member elected State Committee see the tally sheets! So in July, a group of conservative State Committee members petitioned the Chairman to call a meeting so the Committee could vote to release them. The Chairman called the meeting, but it was closed to the public and held in secret. In the closed meeting, the majority of the State Committee voted not to release the tally sheets to anyone, not even to themselves! (What possible reason would there be to keep them secret . . . unless there was some criminal wrongdoing that took place?)

21. Mass GOP lavishly funding Baker, Fisher gets nothing. The Mass GOP is using its resources to raise enormous funds for the Baker campaign, but nothing for the Fisher campaign. This includes, according to the Boston Globe, paying a consulting firm to fundraise for Baker. In fact, we have been told that Republican donors are being told NOT to donate to the Fisher campaign. This has had a disastrous effect on Fisher’s fundraising capabilities.

22. Alleged threats to media by Mass GOP. A radio talk show host told us that members of the media have been threatened by GOP officials if they cover Mark Fisher to any extent, they will be persona non grata by the rest of the GOP during this election cycle.

By far the most troubling aspect of this was how easily virtually every “pro-family” GOP politician sold his soul and fell into line for Baker and against Fisher when pressured by the establishment.

We don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the Mass GOP has become a dishonest, unprincipled cesspool that good people should stay away from — and only donate money to individual candidates.

And then there’s the Frank Addivinola episode

Mark Fisher wasn’t the only pro-family candidate squashed at the convention. Frank Addivinola, a businessman and college professor, was a U.S. Senate candidate. But like Mark Fisher, he was an unabashed pro-family advocate.

Although his campaign had a booth at the convention, through a still unresolved series of events he was not given a chance to speak.

U.S. Senate Candidate Frank Dddivinola (left) at his table at the Mass. GOP convention.

But Addivinola was VERY popular among conservatives across the state and would have easily gotten his 15%. So the Mass GOP didn’t take any chances. When it came time for the nomination of candidates, the Chairman allowed the establishment candidate, Brian Herr, to be nominated, then immediately closed the nominations! So no one could even nominate Addivinola.

Even though Addivinola’s banner (for which he paid them plenty!) was right next to the podium, they pretended that his candidacy didn’t exist.

It was still possible for Addivinola to get on the ballot via signatures, since he was running for a federal office. But once the Party officially considered him a non-candidate and denied him all support, his campaign never recovered from that. Thus, Herr is now unopposed in the primary.

Tea Party groups & others rallying statewide for Fisher as Sept. 9 primary nears

Fisher’s campaign is making a surge!

None of the above adversities have stopped the Fisher campaign or its supporters statewide. Fisher continues to appear everywhere, every day, and has impressed people wherever he goes. This has only ignited Fisher’s people even more.

In mid-August a group of Tea Parties, conservative leaders, and non-establishment pro-family groups, began a furious grassroots push to energize the GOP conservative base of voters to go to the polls on Sept. 5 and vote for Fisher. Will this become another David Brat over Eric Cantor? No one knows. But the energy is there!

This is the flyer that Tea Parties across the state are handing out. You can download a copy here.

This is a favorable primary race because Democrats and independents will be drawn to the highly contested Democratic primary, and many mainstream Republican voters will likely think Baker is a shoo-in and not bother to go to the polls. Even Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s (relatively) conservative columnist, who’s a registered Independent, said he’s voting in the Democratic primary — because that’s “where the action is.”

This is a great opportunity for a possble pro-family upset – in a RINO state! If you are a registered voter in Massachusetts, you know what to do on Sept. 9.We’ll see if Massachusetts can do it!

Florida: Education the Defining Issue in the 2014 Governor Race?

On Tuesday, November 4th Floridians will go to the polls to select their governor. Currently there are thirty-two active candidates running. The gubernatorial race is the only statewide race in Florida. So what will make one of these candidates standout from the crowded field? If a recent election is any indicator, the defining issue will be – education – specifically Common Core State Standards (CCSS). People are rising up in Florida and across the country to stop Common Core. As George Will wrote, “Viewed from Washington, opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative still seems as small as the biblical cloud that ariseth out of the sea, no larger than a man’s hand. Soon, however, this education policy will fill a significant portion of the political sky.”

Chris Quackenbush in her column Common Core: The Chain of Betrayal notes, “Political battles are now being won and lost on the education issue as in the Florida Congressional District 19, where an ‘outsider’ Curt Clawson, beat sitting State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benaquisto by 12 points largely because of her duplicity on Common Core.  Her conservative base was not fooled by her superficial conversion after sponsoring a bill in 2013 to implement Common Core as she is allied with Jeb Bush.  His tentacles reach far in Florida where he is a major donor and supporter of many State Legislators including Governor Scott.”

Quackenbush states, “Common Core is the final nail in the coffin of American Exceptionalism.” That’s how heated the debate has become in Florida.

Associated Press reporter Thomas Beaumont wrote, “Raising U.S. educational expectations through national goals was a priority for Republican President George W. Bush. But many of his would-be successors in the GOP are calling for just the opposite of government-set rules, and it’s splitting the party as the GOP class of 2016 presidential hopefuls takes shape.” Common Core is splitting the party between those who support Jeb Bush and those who support parents, teachers, administrators, academics and citizens who favor keeping local control of education.

While Florida Democrats want to focus on income equality, the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana and abortion rights, and the Republican Party of Florida focused on the economy, jobs and tax reform, the defining issue remains public education.

Will the Florida race for governor in 2014 be a harbinger for the 2016 race for president? Those interested in a winning formula will, by all indications, be keeping a close eye on Florida on November 4th.

Candidates for Florida Governor

Candidate Status Primary General
GibsonKyle Chaderwick (NPA) Active
AdeshinaYinka Abosede (REP) Active
AllenJoe  (NPA) Active
AndersonRubin Lewis (NPA) Active
AngiolilloVincent Dominic (REP) Active
CristCharlie  (DEM) Active
Cuevas-NeunderElizabeth  (REP) Active
DevineTimothy Michael (REP) Active
FraleighJames Edward (INT) Active
GazetasVassilia  (NPA) Active
GigerHerman Lee (NPA) Active
GriffisMark D. (NPA) Active
HorwathJefferson L. (NPA) Active
KhavariFarid A (NPA) Active
LeeMonroe  (DEM) Active
LipnerRyan Adam (DEM) Active
MartellyMarcelle  (DEM) Active
McCoyRoland  (DEM) Active
MurrayPaul  (WRI) Active
ReedC. C. (NPA) Active
RichNan H. (DEM) Active
RolleLeonard  (NPA) Active
SamuelBerthram B. (REP) Active
ScottRichard L. (REP)  *Incumbent Active
SmithDr. Joe  (REP) Active
SmithJohn Wayne (LPF) Active
StewartJessica Lana (DEM) Active
TolbertCharles Frederick (NPA) Active
TrujilloLesther  (NPA) Active
WyllieAdrian  (LPF) Active
YarrowAtlee David (SPF) Active
ZapataRandy  (DEM) Active

Active candidate list courtesy of the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections.

RELATED STORIES:

The Dying of the Light: How Common Core Damages Poetry – by Esolen, Highfill, Stotsky
AP: Common Core a Defining Issue for GOP 2016 Hopefuls
Revolt: Common Core gets gored

Under Charlie Crist Florida’s tax burden got worse and salaries dropped

On January 4, 2011, Governor Rick Scott stated at his inauguration, “If the conditions Florida offers aren’t the best, businesses go elsewhere. What does it take to create that favorable business climate? Florida has to offer the best chance for financial success. Not a guarantee – just the best chance. Three forces markedly reduce that chance for success—taxation…regulation…and litigation. Together those three form ‘The Axis of Unemployment’. Left unchecked they choke off productive activity.”

Governor Scott since his election has focused on bringing/expanding business and helping create jobs in the sunshine state with his “What’s Working Today” initiative. Scott has also worked to reduce the tax burden on residents via his “Its Your Money” campaign. The Governor recently announced his plans to cut taxes and fees for Florida families by $500 million in his proposed 2014 budget. Governor Scott took a tour across the state to listen to Floridians discuss taxes and fees they want to see reduced to help Florida families and job creators.

Governor Scott succeeded Governor Charlie Crist, a fellow Republican, who decided to run for the US Senate in 2010. Former Governor Crist was elected in November 2006, inaugurated January 2007 and served until January 2011. Crist is running for Governor against Governor Scott but this time as a Democrat.

Crist inherited a different economy than did Scott from his predecessor. Under former Governor Charlie Crist, Floridians saw their individual tax burden increase and average salary decrease.

The Tax Foundation has published an estimate of the combined state-local tax burden shouldered by the residents of each of the 50 states. The Tax Foundation website states, “The goal is to focus not on the tax collec­tors but on the taxpayers. That is, we answer the question: What percentage of their income are the residents of this state paying in state and local taxes?”

According to the Tax Foundation for Florida the answers are:

  • In 2006 Florida was ranked 42nd lowest by the Tax foundation with a state/local tax rate of 8.5%, per capita taxes paid to the state of $2,482, per capita taxes paid to other states of $1,288, a total state and local per capita taxes paid of $3,771 and average income of $44,340. (In 2006 the average national tax rate was 9.6% and an average national salary $41,526.)
  • In 2010 Florida was ranked 27th lowest with a state/local tax rate of 9.3%, per capita taxes paid to the state of $2,621, per capita taxes paid to other states of $1,107, a total state and local per capita taxes paid of $3,728 and average income of $40,053. (In 2006 the average national tax rate was 9.9% and an average national salary $41,146.)

NOTE: Click on the link to read the Tax Foundation Background Paper No. 65, “2010 Annual State-Local Tax Burden Rankings.”

The Huffington Post reports, “In a web video [below] entitled “Tell Me How I Can Help,” he referred to himself as “the people’s governor,” saying that only voters can “end this nonsense and get us back to common sense.”

HufPo notes, “A recent poll by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Crist ahead by 12 points over incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R). But the Orlando Sentinel cautioned that the survey was “laughably too early to mean jack.”

Will Crist run on his record as the former Governor, or run away from it?

You can bet Republicans relish the chance to remember all those things Crist didn’t do while governor. Here is Governor Scott’s first 2014 campaign video:

EDITORS NOTE: There are currently twenty-three active candidates running for Governor according to the Florida Division of Elections.