Last Sunday we ran a story about the continued contributions of Big Sugar to the FDP and to individual Democratic candidates. This week we learned of a committee playing in several Democratic primaries and General Elections (backing Democrats) in southeast Florida courtesy of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“A separate finance committee, Putting Florida First, which (Kevin) Rader and four other Democrats raise money through, has brought in tens of thousands of additional dollars from monied interests like private prison giant Geo Group, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Sugar Corp.”
Last week interior secretary Ken Salazar toured the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refugee in Palm Beach County, an area that has been adversely affected by runoff from the sugar farms immediately to the north and west of the area. At the same time, local area Democrats were busy raising money and cashing in on previous donations from the very polluters that have contributed to the decline of the local ecosystem and clean water supply.
The Sun Sentinel did not mention that Putting Florida First raised a substantial amount of cash from traditional Democratic groups including the Florida Education Association (teachers union) and Florida Justice Association (trial lawyers). However these two groups that are critical to any success for the Democrats both financially and ideologically have to date contributed less to “Putting Florida First,” than US Sugar did.
It is also disconcerting to see an entity aligned with Democrats raising money from groups committed to prison privatization. The Florida Chamber has incentive to get involved in Democratic primaries particularly in areas where a Republican cannot win but at the same time needs to protect itself from the GOP leadership. These types of committees help cover the tracks of those who don’t want to run afoul of the top Republicans but want to influence Democrats.
As the election cycle continues to unfold, TPH will continue to closely monitor electioneering committees who give money in state races and work to determine their sources of funding and the recipients of their spending.