The Phoenix Flyer

PAC report: Business lobby shares its wealth with Florida Cabinet members

By: - February 11, 2020 12:29 pm

Credit: Getty Images

Political committees linked to the Associated Industries of Florida shared their considerable resources among members of the Florida Cabinet during January, contributing big checks to committees benefiting the two Republicans on the panel as well as the lone Democrat.

The largest gift to Florida Consumers First, which raises money for that Democrat, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, was $40,000 from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a political committee linked to the business lobby sometimes known as AIF.

Another $35,000 came from The Voice of Florida Business, a committee led by former House Speaker Tom Feeney, now the president of AIF.

The Florida Prosperity Fund gave $50,000 last month to the Friends of Ron DeSantis, which supports the governor. DeSantis presides over the Cabinet, which decides much of the state’s executive policy.

According to Florida Division of Elections records, Fried’s committee drew a $15,000 contribution from Mark P.C., the committee organized by Tallahassee election law practitioner Mark Herron.

The committee received two gifts of $10,000. One came from Floridians for Reliable Energy, which is backed by investor-owned utilities opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment to deregulate Florida’s energy market, according to the progressive-aligned Energy and Policy Institute. Fried oversees the Florida Office of Energy – for the time being, at least.

The other was from People Over Profits, founded by former Democratic state House member and unsuccessful 2018 attorney general nominee Sean Shaw.

However, the bulk of contributions to Fried’s committee came from small donors in amounts of $100 or less, including many as small as $5. The committee’s total haul amounted to $144,162.50.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Treasure Florida committee raised $70,500 during January, including two checks from the Florida Prosperity Fund worth $35,000 total. Additional $10,000 checks came from American Integrity MGA LLC, an insurance company, and the Consumer Protection Alliance, chaired by Anthony Lopez, a plaintiffs’ attorney specializing in insurance litigation. Patronis oversees the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Friends of Ashley Moody, supporting Florida’s attorney general, raised $25,000 during January, including gifts of $10,000 from the Florida Prosperity Fund and Floridians United for Our Children’s Future, yet another Associated Industries-linked committee. J.P. Morgan Chase gave $5,000.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.