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Exclusive: Tant Donated to Candidacy of Christian Conservative Leader

The holiday season continues to bring bad news for FDP chair candidate Allison Tant. Though some party leaders have assured us of Tant’s Democratic credentials, Florida Division of Elections records paint a different picture.

According to state records, Tant’s earliest contributions were to Republican candidates for the State Legislature. This is hardly surprising, because at the time Tant was lobbying for DBT Online. As we reported yesterday, Katherine Harris hired DBT Online to purge the voter rolls prior to the 2000 election- including over 57,000 African Americans. Many feel that this led directly to George W. Bush’s Florida “victory.” No doubt many Democratic lobbyists within the Tallahassee bubble made similar contributions, and Tant has said that she stopped lobbying in 2001.

Allison Tant registered as a lobbyist for DBT Online, Inc. in 1999.

Allison Tant registered as a lobbyist for DBT On-Line, Inc. in 1999. This is before ChoicePoint bought DBT On-Line

What concerns us more, and should concern Democrats across Florida, is a contribution Tant made much more recently to a candidate who can rightfully be described as a poster-child for radical conservatism. In 2007, Allison Tant gave $250 to Republican State House candidate Apryl Marie Fogel, who was running in a special election in Brevard County. Ms. Fogel lost the election in spite of having support from the NRA and other conservative organizations. The seat was won by Democrat Tony Sasso.

Prior to receiving Allison Tant’s support, Apryl Marie Fogel served as a field director for the National Rifle Association and in Jeb Bush’s administration. According to Ms. Fogel’s website, she “focused on electing strong second amendment candidates and for the advancement of a conservative policy agenda.”

After losing the election, Apryl Marie Fogel became the leader of the tea party group Americans for Prosperity Florida Chapter, and claims success for “growing membership from just over 30k to just over 90k, building a network of dozens of tea party groups to partner with for events and advocacy, coordinating 2 statewide bus tours and over 75 events in 12-months.”

Even more disturbing is the fact that Apryl Marie Fogel takes credit for designing a voter education plan that, as she puts it “targeted 4 U.S. Congressional Districts with liberal incumbents who with big spending big government voting histories were not representing their constituents best interest.  Her comprehensive “November is Coming” plan included a direct mail program, phone banking, door-to-door canvassing, radio ads, billboards and television ads proved to be very successful.  All four districts are now represented by new members of Congress who have pledged to rein in the size, scope and spending of the federal government.”

After leaving Americans for Prosperity, Apryl Marie Fogel went to work for the Faith and Family Coalition as its Southeast Regional Director. The Faith and Family Coalition, which sent out mailers attacking Florida Democratic candidates in several close legislative races earlier this year, was founded by former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reid. According to their website, their mission is to “influence public policy and enact legislation that strengthens families, promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, lowers the tax burden on small business and families, and requires government to tighten its belt and live within its means.”

Ironically, in response to a 2011 Mother Jones article, Apryl Marie Fogel went after both President Obama and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who is pushing Tant’s candidacy: according to Fogel, “I’m not one to question progress especially if that progress is in the name of educating people about the real records and costs of big spending and big government incumbents like US Senator Bill Nelson and President Obama.”

Allison Tant is free to support any candidates for public office that she likes, and we are all highly grateful that she backed President Obama in 2012. That said, her past support for candidates (as recently as 2007) who do not share the values of most Florida Democrats brings her bid for FDP chair into question. Party loyalty is something that state law requires of party leaders, and it is not something that grassroots Democratic leaders take lightly. This is yet another example of the Tallahassee “bubble” not seeing things in the same light as grassroots activists throughout the state.

Some more on Ms. Fogel below:

http://www.floridapoliticalpress.com/2012/01/30/former-afp-fl-director-apryl-marie-fogel-responds-to-tea-party-pay-controversy/

http://www.ffcoalition.com/about

http://justmethinkingaloud.com/about-professional/

Fogel, Apryl Marie (REP)(STR)                      09/24/2007           250.00  CHE TANT ALLISON                             6035 BOYNTON HOMESTEAD                   TALLAHASSEE, FL 32312                    RETIRED

20 Responses

  1. No surprise here about Ds supporting Rs. No one follows policy. You should know that now. Look at these fools in Tallahassee voting one way a saying how liberal or conservative they are when they are at home. The Ds in Florida are bought and sold. The Rs it seems no one is buying minus those they are recruiting to take over the party.

  2. Interesting graphic and that refutes Tant’s contention that she only lobbied for choice point and never for DBT. Congrats on finding the evidence to refute the attacks of her allies against this excellent blogsite.

  3. The loyalty oath we take makes it impossible to vote for anyone other than a Democrat if a Democrat is running. So, what do we get for that loyalty? Well, it depends on which district you are in. If you are in districts that are balanced or that lean to Democrats you get help in the form of people and money. If not, you get nothing. In district one we had a candidate for Congress who wore out three pair of shoes walking the district. He got all his petitions signed and Jeff Miller had to pay. A majority of the signatures were from Repubs because that is the composition of voters in that district. He could not afford any TV or radio ads and he had very few signs. But he got nothing from the State party. We are tired of being ignored.

  4. [...] she is. As far as being a dedicated activist, I think her association with DBT Online, as well as a $250 contribution to right-wing Republican poster-child Apryl Marie Fogel paints a different story. If Mrs. Tant was a member of a DEC back in 2007, this contribution to Ms. [...]

    • How long has she been a DEC member in Leon county? That should be the question asked by everyone voting for her.

  5. Surprise surprise!!!! NOT!

    K,

    I am a wee bit disappointed in you. This information was available and should have been run BEFORE Jon Ausman and others stepped out of Tant’s way in Leon. No way she becomes chair with this out there. No way!

  6. This is typical Tallahassee insider behavior. I am sure they had been buddies or something, maybe lobbyists who hung out together at Clyde’s. We need real reform and real changes. New leaders, fresh blood, new ideas. Please reject Tant if you vote for chair.

  7. Many have been asking for the same things Ray has mentioned for years now. What do we get….. Beaten down by those at the top who do not want to give up their piece of the pie for younger blood or new ideas.

  8. The same year the DNC put marriage equality in their platform, Clendenin, as an “openly gay” Democrat AND as Chair of the FDP Platform Committee REFUSED to put marriage equality in the state platform. He’s not progressive. DON’T BE FOOLED.

  9. Apryl used to be pretty moderate- I would imagine Allison donated to her (along with people from AFL-CIO as well as many democratic women) because Apryl is a strong advocate for disabled children and because she WAS the more moderate candidate in a conservative district in the primary. Get the whole story before you go and trash someone’s reputation. PS: How much did Clendenin pay for ads on your page? Better yet, how much is he paying to buy your integrity as a journalist?

    • less conservative than the Democrat running who actually won the seat? Really I am so disappointed with Keith Fitzgerald for backing Tant. Business as usual for a crowd of insiders that have lost everything competitive they get involved with.

    • Thanks for you concern. A few points. The ads are free and we don’t make any $/€/£ of this site. It is a labor of love for some of us who have been around the block a few too many times :-)

      Regarding that race as I said I don’t fault someone for backing a Republican but don’t run for FDP Chair. We’ve had previous chairs that backed Republicans in local races and it created conflicts within the party. Also we had Tony Sasso a good dem running and he won the seat.

      It’s a legitimate issue for someone running for party chair.

    • Why didn’t she donate to Tony Sasso’s campaign???? No excuses for this.

  10. This is not surprising. I mean I actually fault you guys for not making this an issue before she got on the state committee but better late than never.

  11. The bottom line is that someone who wants to chair the Florida Democratic Party should not have a record of supporting ANY Republicans- especially as recently as 2007. And seriously- if anyone thinks that pointing out lobbying for DBT Online or contributing to the former NRA Field Director’s campaign is “trashing” they need to consider that it’s a matter of perspective. If you think that these things are okay for a FDP chair candidate, then fine. But if you are disturbed by these FACTS, then Allison Tant probably isn’t the person that you’d think is right for this job. Stop going after the messenger for reporting things that are public record. The facts speak for themselves, but it is up to all of the people voting in the FDP chair race to decide whether or not Tant’s lobbying activities and GOP contributions disqualify her. That’s all.

  12. If you’re going to talk about the candidate Allison supported 5 years ago talk about what she was doing then not what she’s done after. Looking at Apryl’s contributions many democrats supported her, probably not a help to her during a primary.

    • David Continued

      “Apryl worked for the NRA, AFP and other conservative groups AFTER she ran for the House. Is it a prerequisite of being the FDP chair that you’re clairvoyant?

      At the time she ran for the House she was lobbying for non-profit mental healthcare and supported Florida Forever among other not so Republican issues.

      When they endorsed her the Orlando Sent said “Ms. Fogel, of Titusville, is a strong fiscal conservative who supports tough accountability standards in schools. As an expert on health issues, she would bring a refreshing perspective to the Republican House majority by supporting mental-health and drug-treatment programs. Prevention programs can save taxpayers money by treating people before they become expensive burdens in hospitals or state prisons.”

      • So, you are saying that it would be alright for the Florida Democratic Party Chair to support a Republican as long as it is for an issue that they believe in or are lobbying for? That really is your final answer?

      • Apryl worked for the NRA and Jeb Bush before she received support from Allison Tant. Allison Tant is not a loyal Democrat. If she were, she would never have contributed to so many Republicans. The Democratic State Executive Committee is made up of lifelong partisans who will have trouble voting for Tant. The quote from the Orlando Sentinel doesn’t make things better for Tant. A fiscal conservative is someone who supports cutting school funding to pay for corporate tax cuts, and it sounds like Apryl supported expanding standardized testing and vouchers. The fact that Tant contributed to her in spite of these positions makes it worse.

  13. The fact that this is considered controversial says all you need to know about today’s Florida Democrats. Neutered to the point of submission our party is filled with wobbly moderates who feel being accepted on a cocktail party circuit in Tallahassee is more important than pushing the guiding principles of the party. Tant was friendly with Apryl because of a single issue and because they were both lobbyists. Yet this is a race the Democrats targeted and WON in the special election, yet Tant just a few years removed from becoming a local party chair and seeking the state chair financially backed a conservative Republican who had worked for Bush and the NRA. Kartik Krishnaiyer may constantly temper his posts by implying he feels “sorry” for Tant and that she is not the issue the people backing her are. But i don’t agree with him on this even though I highly respect his excellent work on this site and his analysis as a local politico here in Broward County. I simply cannot accept the number of obvious issues with Tant’s candidacy and say she herself is not an issue just her supporters. But her supporters are as he says the ultimate issue, the issue that MUST be exposed.

    How to the posters above is this acceptable behavior for a party chair? The article states Tant as a citizen or even a Democrat can back whomever she wants. I don’t agree with that Kartik. Honestly, I don’t. To run for party chair and be pushed by those looking to maintain “power” at all costs despite the record losing streak this site and other active Democrats constantly point out and you point out is borderline criminal. Start connecting the dots guys. Unmask the agenda here that DWS, SA, and others are pushing with Tant as the stand in.

    I simply do not feel it is fair to impugn the motives of those attacking Tant when the body of evidence about her is mounting. How many more years of inept, Tallahassee insider leadership must we endure before we reclaim our party and we begin to reach our full potential? How much more embarrassment do we need? Aren’t the elections of 4 consecutive Republican governors and constant clean sweeps of cabinet offices enough to justify a change? Isn’t coming in at 44 seats in the house, 10 below what the TB Times classified as “Dem seats” in their analysis of reapportionment enough to justify a change of course?

    Reject Tant and her allies once and for all.

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