Allison Tant, current candidate for Florida Democratic Party Chair, was one of only three lobbyist for a company called DBT Online in 1999 and 2000. DBT Online was hired by Katherine Harris and was responsible for purging the voter rolls in the 2000 election, in which Al Gore narrowly lost to George W. Bush. Many feel that Vice-President Gore lost the election because over 57,000 African-Americans were purged from the voter list due to DBT Online.
After DBT Online was purchased by a company called ChoicePoint, Inc., Tant continued to be a lobbyist for the company in Tallahassee until September 5th, 2001, apparently leaving earlier in January of 2001. By this time, it had already been public for months that both DBT Online and ChoicePoint were involved with the voter purge in Florida. Still, Tant remained a lobbyist for ChoicePoint even though the company had been outed as a Republican purge machine.
Another interesting fact is that a fellow lobbyist who has strong connections to Tant, James R. Daughton, Jr, a Republican who is currently on the Advisory Board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Political Institute and chairs the Florida Chamber’s Free Enterprise PAC, withdrew from ChoicePoint as a lobbyist two weeks before Tant left as a lobbyist. Therefore, the so-called “Democrat” actually stayed on as a lobbyist to a Republican voting purge firm longer than the actual Republican.
Because of the time period that we are looking at, it is absolutely unmistakable that Allison Tant deliberately stayed on as a lobbyist for ChoicePoint even after it was publicly known, and debated, that they were highly instrumental in giving Florida’s 25 electoral votes to George W. Bush.
In 1998, DBT Online was hired by the Secretary of State’s office, headed by Katherine Harris, to “clean” the voter list by taking off people who had names similar to those who were convicted felons, who are not allowed to vote. Because many African-Americans had similar names, others that were not convicted of even a misdemeanor were scrubbed from the list and were not able to vote in the 2000 election. It is highly likely that these voters would have voted for Al Gore.
For more information regard the actual process of purging the voter role, please read this excellent article, written only one month after the 2000 election, by Salon.com.
Because of the link of Tant to both DBT Online and ChoicePoint, one must ask about her other link to the 2000 election, her husband Barry Richard. As has been mentioned previously on this website, Richard was an attorney for George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount. At the time of the court cases, we now know that his wife was actively lobbying for the firms that were part of the controversy. Would something like this be considered a conflict of interest?
Because of the Allison Tant-ChoicePoint-DBT-Barry Richard connection, there must be a serious questions asked…”What did Allison Tant know and when did she know it?” As someone that was possibly privy to DBT’s “central voter file” possible legal issues due to her marriage, could Allison Tant have been instrumental in the case for George W. Bush? It is highly unlikely that someone would lobby for a firm in which they knew nothing about. Therefore, Tant herself could possibly not only be aware of the creation of the 1998 “central voter file”, but beneficial to the legal council of George W. Bush as well.
In addition to the actual case itself, one must also ask if Mrs. Tant was instrumental in selling DBT Online’s services to the Secretary of State? Currently, we only have lists of registered lobbyists for 1999. The Political Hurricane is working to acquire past registered lobbyist lists to determine if Mrs. Tant was a lobbyist for DBT Online in 1998, when the Secretary of State rendered their services. If this is the case, one must ask, yet again, if she was privy to information regarding what DBT Online can do, including purging voters. And, since the Secretary of State at the time was Sandra Mortham, any lobbyist for DBT Online wouldn’t be advocating a voter purge that could help Democratic candidates. That is just common sense.
What Does This All Mean?
When selecting the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Democrats need to consider a number of things. The website has already endorsed Alan Clendenin because we feel that he is the only person running for the position with a plan that will help bring the Florida Democratic Party back from the dismal abyss that it currently finds itself in.
On the other hand, we did not support Allison Tant for a number of reasons. First, we felt that her connections to Tallahassee would not benefit the grassroots organization that we feel needs to be put in place to help the FDP thrive. Also, the fact that she lacked a plan didn’t provide us with much confidence regarding her true commitment to the party.
Now with the release of this information, character must be a key issue regarding the race for FDP Chair. While there are many things that Democrats can be forgiving on, the robbing of the 2000 Presidential Election isn’t one of those things. And as the lobbyist for the company that purged the the voter roll, Allison Tant was an instrumental part of George W. Bush getting Florida’s 25 electoral votes, thus the presidential election and eight years of one of the worst presidencies ever.
As true Democrats, one must ask if Allison Tant should run our Florida Democratic Party. After it was known that ChoicePoint was involved with the voter purge, Tant stayed on record as a lobbyist for another ten months, even is she resigned a few months prior. Will Tant sell out the Florida Democratic Party in 2013 as much as she sold it out in 2000? History shows that is the case.
And finally, to those progressives and Democratic Party loyalists that support Allison Tant in the upcoming election, I truly must ask how you could continue to support someone that sold out the party in such a divisive way? If you truly support Mrs. Tant after her involvement in DBT Online and ChoicePoint, you must ask yourself if you are truly a Democrat.
We understand why some people might have supported Mrs. Tant previously. But with this latest information, supporting Mrs. Tant is inexcusable. We have licked our wounds from the 2000 election. We continue to say Al Gore won. We continue to keep the hate of that election in our hearts after all other states have forgotten about it.
Now the Florida Democratic Party is on the brink of electing someone as its chair that could be one of the main reasons we had President George W. Bush.
That is inexcusable.
Below is a YouTube clip regarding the role of ChoicePoint, the company Allison Tant lobbied for during and after the Florida 2000 Presidential Election recount: