RSS Feed of the blog
Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Florida Political Blogs:
Most Recent Entries
- Nelson, 501(c)(4) attack victim, says enforcing law would have prevent scandal
- Rich gets NOW endorsement
- Emily’s List again backs Ehrlich
- Jaroch: Tampa 912 “one of the first ones targeted”
- GOP Hispanic outreach official switches parties
- Castor, Crist, local Dems raise $$ for Graham’s daughter
- Joyner designated Senate Democratic leader
- Castor to Obama: Reform “outdated” Cuba embargo, travel ban
- U.S. House Dems send Weatherford letter re Medicaid
- La Gaceta ad, 300 signers, back Castor trip to Cuba
- Ehrlich announces she’ll try again v. Young
- Proposed Defense Budget Saves Clearwater-based National Guard WMD Unit
- Sarasota GOP’s next Statesman of the Year: Sean Hannity
- Mack joins dad’s lobbying firm
- Hagan, Higginbotham lead county commission candidates in fundraising
- Breaking News
- Back To School
- Allnighter For An iPhone
- 2008 Florida Primary
- A Killer's Grip: The Day Of Execution
- Al-Arian Trial
- Ask The Professor
- Back to College with Adam Emerson
- Baird Helgeson In Key West
- Behind The Crime
- Behind The Wheel
- Boot Camp Death: The Trial
- Branding Tampa
- Business & Careers
- Bus Money
- Civil Rights Movement
- Castro Resigns: Bay Area Reacts
- Coming Back From Extremes
- Couey Trial
- Consumer Updates With Stacie Schaible
- Convention Ears
- Day Without An Immigrant
- Destruction In Central Florida
- Dick Greco
- Diminishing Agriculture in Florida
- Driver's Licensing Soundoff
- Election Connection With Krista Klaus
- Election Day Updates
- Elevated Crosstown Opens
- Governor's Inauguration 2007
- Good Friday For Skipping School
- Great American Teach-In
- Guestbook - Al Lopez
- Guestbook - Gators Are National Champs
- Guestbook - James Dungy
- Higher Gas Prices, Higher Profits For Oil Companies
- Highlands News Updates
- Holiday Blog
- Holiday Office Parties
- Hurricane Guide Updates
- I-4 Traffic
- Insurance Protest Hits The Road
- I-75 Tanker Accident Leads To Traffic Snarls
- International AIDS Conference
- Lafave Plea Deal
- Interstate 4 Disaster
- Largo City Manager Update
- Life - As It Happens
- Live From Cuba
- Life 2.0
- Medicare Part D - Countdown
- Memorial Day Travel
- Memories Of Sea Wolf Restaurant
- Pasco County: What Makes It Special?
- Pasco Health Care
- Out Of The Park
- Plugged In with Jim Collins
- Polk County News Blog
- Politics 2.0
- Primary Voting Day
- Rising Gas Prices
- Saint Leo Trip
- Black Friday Shopping
- Shuttle Updates
- Smoky Skies
- Steele Murder Trial
- Target 8 With Steve Andrews
- The Crime Blog
- Onstott Trial
- The Road To City Hall
- The Weather Spot
- Traffic Tickets Backlog
- Training Videos
- View From The Stands
- War Stories
- Weather Dog
- Command Post Tampa
- Fact Finders - Databay Blog
- Guestbook: Remembering The Fallen Soldiers
- Fresh Squeezed Politics
- RNC 2012: The Road to Tampa
- Political Safari
Nelson, 501(c)(4) attack victim, says enforcing law would have prevent scandal
Posted May 21, 2013 by William March
Updated May 21, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, himself a victim of millions in political spending by supposedly non-political 501(c)(4) groups, said in a congressional hearing they shouldn’t be allowed to do any political activity.
Nelson said the current IRS scandal over targeting conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status wouldn’t have happened if the IRS had enforced the law as written.
In the November election, independent consesrvative groups spent more than $20 million attempting to defeat Nelson in his re-election campaign against Connie Mack IV. Much of that spending was done by groups with the 501(c)(4) status, which allows them to avoid paying taxes on their revenue, and to keep their donors secret. Among them was Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.
According the to the IRS web site, such groups can be involved in politics if it’s not their “primary purpose.”
Nelson’s comments came during questioning of former IRS interim director Stephen Miller by the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday. Miller was forced out of his job as result of the IRS scandal over targeting tea party groups.
Questioning Miller, Nelson said the law says such groups must be “devoted exclusively to charitable, educational or recreational purposes,” and the rule enforcing the law says the group must operate “exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”
“How could you all in the IRS allow the tax breaks funded by the taxpayer [to be spent] on these political campaign expenditures?” Nelson asked. “I understand the king’s English, and it says the promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns.
“How you interpret that to say that that does allow some intervention in political campaigns is beyond me.”
Miller didn’t respond directly to Nelson’s question about the origin of the IRS’s guideline that the groups can conduct some political activity.
In the past, Republicans, who now blast the IRS for targeting conservative groups, have criticized it for not targeting 501(c)(4) groups that were liberal-oriented, including some large groups that backed President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election. Democrats have said conservative groups should get more scrutiny.
Rich gets NOW endorsement
Posted May 21, 2013 by William March
Updated May 21, 2013 at 04:58 PM
The political arm of the National Organization has issued an early endorsement for Nan Rich, dark horse Democratic contender for governor.
According to an announcement from Rich’s campaign, Donna Slutiak, president of NOW’s political arm, called Rich “the best hope for Florida’s women.”
Rich, a former state senator from Weston, has a long history as a liberal on issues including abortion, gay rights and other social issues.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, former state finance chief Alex Sink and possibly other Democrats are the 2014 race for governor, but Rich is the only prominent Democrat who has actually begun a campaign.
Emily’s List again backs Ehrlich
Posted May 16, 2013 by William March
Updated May 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Emily’s List, a national fundraising group that backs pro-choice women candidates for political office, is again backing Democrat Jessica Ehrlich in her campaign against U.S. Rep. Bill Young.
Ehrlich, a St. Petersburg lawyer who has worked as a congressional staffer, lost in 2012 to the 22-term Republican from Indian Shores; Emily’s List backed her in that race also. She recently announced she’ll run again in 2014.
The organization can provide a significant fundraising boost for candidates it supports. It solicits donations from members across the nation to candidates it chooses.
The organization announced Thursday it has put Ehrlich “on the list.” It says that means “candidates who show promising campaigns,” urging members to contribute to them, but whom it has not yet endorsed.
That list now includes half a dozen 2014 congressional candidates, including Gwen Graham, daughter of former Florida senator and governor Bob Graham. She’s running in a Panhandle district against tea party champion Rep. Steve Southerland.
Jaroch: Tampa 912 “one of the first ones targeted”
Posted May 15, 2013 by William March
Updated May 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Karen Jaroch, an organizer for the Tampa 912 Project, says she believes the Tampa 912 Project was one of the first tea party-style organizations that faced extra IRS scrutiny after its application for tax-exempt status.
“I believe we were actually one of the first groups targeted,” she said.
Jaroch said the organization applied for its tax-exempt status in late February, 2010. The IRS inspector general reports say the targeting began in March, 2010.
“We ended up having to answer a bunch of questions,” she said. “We had to give them lots and lots of material – what literature were we passing out, copies of our educational classes on the Constitution. They wanted to to know what voter registration drives we were doing – a lot beyond what would be normal.”
She said the organization got its certification in December, 2010.
GOP Hispanic outreach official switches parties
Posted May 14, 2013 by William March
Updated May 14, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Republicans got another indication of the depth of their problems with Hispanic voters this week when Pablo Pantoja of Orlando, formerly Florida Hispanic outreach director for the national Republican Party, announced he’s switching parties and becoming a Democrat.
Pantoja announced the switch on The Florida Nation, a Democratic-leaning news web site, here.
He said his switch was motivated at least in part by a recent study by the Heritage Foundation which was critical of the comprehensive immigration reform bill sponsored by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
The study projected that legalized immigrants would cost the nation trillions in welfare and other government assistance. It was sharply criticized by Rubio and others; meanwhile, news reports indicated that one of its authors, Jason Richwine, had writtena Ph.D. thesis at Harvard arguing that Hispanic immigrants have lower IQ’s than white natives and genetic ancestry affects IQ.
Writing about his party switch, Pantoja said, “It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. ... The complete disregard of those who are in disadvantage is also palpable. We are not looking at an isolated incident of rhetoric or research.”
Pantoja, who’s Puerto Rican and a Florida State University graduate, served in Iraq and Kuwait and in hurricane-related deployments in the Army National Guard, then worked in the state Division of Emergency Management during the administration of former Gov. Charlie Crist, according to information supplied by the GOP. He’s also been active in various conservative and GOP causes and campaigns.
He was central Florida director for the Romney campaign, and has worked for the state and national Republican parties, he said in an interview.
A state GOP spokesman had no comment on the party change.