Research Hub

Florida

Active Republican Outside Money Groups in Florida

Better Florida Alliance

The Better Florida Alliance is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit created in August 2015. The group is run by a pair of Republican operatives. Its executive director, Josh Cooper, is also the executive director of Gov. Rick Scott’s “Let’s Get To Work” committee.[1] Brian Burgess, the group’s communications director, previously served in the same role for Gov. Scott.[2]

The group’s registered agent is prominent Florida lawyer Emmett “Bucky” Mitchell IV. Mitchell is noted for having “engineered the 2000 Florida felons list, which African American leaders said purged thousands of eligible blacks from voter rolls in the state and helped swing that election to the GOP.”[3] He also “wrote the first draft of Florida’s controversial House Bill 1355 that… restricted early voting and voter registration campaigns in 2012.”[4] Mitchell’s law firm, Coates P.L., represents the Republican Party of Florida.[5]

In December 2015, the group attacked Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), who is running for the U.S. Senate, with a digital ad criticizing his record on gun control and on combating ISIS. At the time, Burgess claimed that Murphy was guilty of “liberal capitulation in the face of Islamist radicals who want to murder as many Americans as possible.”[6]

[1]Politico Florida Playbook – Shady group, heavy hitters.” Marc Caputo, Politico, 10/07/15

[2]Politico Florida Playbook – Shady group, heavy hitters.” Marc Caputo, Politico, 10/07/15

[3]Architect of felon voting purge behind Florida’s new limits.” Dara Kam and John Lantigua, The Palm Beach Post, 10/18/12

[4]Architect of felon voting purge behind Florida’s new limits.” Dara Kam and John Lantigua, The Palm Beach Post, 10/18/12

[5]Architect of felon voting purge behind Florida’s new limits.” Dara Kam and John Lantigua, The Palm Beach Post, 10/18/12

[6]Conservative ad: U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy ‘clueless’ on ISIS.” Kristen Clark, The Miami Herald, 12/18/15

Fighting for Florida Fund

Fighting for Florida Fund is a Super PAC supporting the Senate campaign of Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Its senior adviser is longtime Republican operative Nelson Warfield.[1] As of March 31, 2016, the group reported that it had raised $1.155 million, but had spent just $105 in 2016.[2]

[1]Ron DeSantis Super PAC raises $1.2-mil.” Adam Smith, The Tampa Bay Times, 10/10/15

[2]Fighting for Florida Fund – FEC Form 3X.” The Federal Election Commission, 03/31/2016, p. 2

Reform Washington

Reform Washington is a Florida-based Super PAC. It was originally formed to support State Auditor Jeff Atwater in his 2016 Senate run.[1] When Atwater decided not to run, the donors and operatives leading the group aligned with Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera in his race for the same Senate seat.[2]

SaintPetersBlog noted that prominent Florida business executives including Norman Braman, Darlene Jordan, Remedios Diaz-Oliver, Pat Neal, Trey Traviesa, Lucas Boyce and Peret Pass are supporters of the PAC.[3] According to Morning Consult, Republican strategist Jillian Hasner plays a key role in directing the organization.[4]

In March 2016, the Center for Responsive Politics pointed out that Reform Washington was taking advantage of loopholes in campaign finance law that allow it to accept money from shell corporations. The group has taken over $160,000 from such groups.[5]

Reform Washington reported raising $1 million and held $740,497 cash on hand as of March 31, 2016.[6]

[1]Florida Playbook: Atwater gets a Super PAC.” Marc Caputo, Politico, 04/09/15

[2]Super PAC to back Carlos Lopez-Cantera for 2016 Senate race.” George Bennett, The Palm Beach Post, 05/14/15

[3]Super PAC for Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s expected Senate bid is announced.” Christine Jordan Sexton, SaintPetersBlog, 05/14/15

[4]The year of the Senate Super PAC?” Reid Wilson, Morning Consult, 06/21/15

[5]LLC gifts are making up a bigger share of Super PACs’ fundraising hauls.” Will Tucker, The Center for Responsive Politics, 03/24/16

[6]Reform Washington FEC Form 3X.” Federal Election Commission, 03/31/16, p. 2

Service. Honor. Country. Action Fund

Service. Honor. Country. Action Fund (SHCAF) is a Super PAC supporting the Senate campaign of Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). The group was founded in May 2015 and is chaired by longtime Republican operative Dave Carney.[1] As of March 31, the group had raised $31,000 and held just $19,790 cash on hand.[2]

[1]Ron DeSantis for Senate backers form new Super PAC.” Adam Smith, The Tampa Bay Times, 05/11/15

[2]Service Honor Country Action Fund FEC Form 3X.” Federal Election Commission, 03/31/16, p. 2

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