"Lobbyist Brian Ballard has unwittingly become a pivotal figure in the state’s fraud and money laundering case against former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer."
Ballard, a fundraiser and confidant to former Gov. Charlie Crist, was brought into the criminal case by Greer’s lawyers to recount a telephone call he had with the governor in January 2009."Lobbyist is key figure in Florida GOP case".
In testimony at a Nov. 17 deposition, Ballard said the governor approved of plans to bring GOP fundraising “in house’’ and pay extra money to Greer and Delmar Johnson, the party’s executive director.
But Ballard said he knew nothing of Victory Strategies, the private corporation Greer and Johnson established to receive a percentage of money they raised. Ballard said he first heard about the company when he read about it in newspapers.
Occupy Florida arrests
"Police have arrested 29 Occupy Tampa protesters who refused to leave a park. The arrests followed a peaceful protest at Riverfront Park around 10 p.m. Thursday." "29 Occupy Tampa protesters arrested". Meanwhile, "South Beach prepares for possible ‘Occupy Art Basel’ demonstration" and "Political strategist lectures GOP governors on how to describe Occupy Wall Street".
Newt licking his Florida chops
"Florida Supporters Await Word from Herman Cain's 'Reassessment'". Background: "At 50 Percent in Poll, Newt Gingrich Dominates the GOP Pack in Florida". But see "GOP Field Looks to Chip Away at Newt Gingrich's Lead in Florida".
Scott laff riot in Orlando
"Scott says Democrats 'shocked' he kept campaign promises". Related: "In Orlando, Republican governors tout can-do reform efforts".
Meanwhile, the Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board can't get enough of Rick Scott: "Scott won't avoid controversy, hot topics".
"Democrats are crying foul over a 'private' town hall meeting that U.S. Rep. Dan Webster held Monday with Tea Party activists in Orlando, criticizing the rookie Republican for not taking time to meet with the general public instead." "Democrats blast Webster for non-public meeting".
"Rick Scott Hails Colt Plant Planned for Osceola County"
Obama admin officials are meet with SoFla Hispanic leaders
"Senior Obama administration officials are meeting with South Florida Hispanic leaders in an effort to boost outreach to the nation's Latino community. Friday's conference at Miami Dade College is part of a series of summits held across the country since July. The White House is also using the event to promote a pilot program to expand employment opportunities for Hispanics and companies that hire them." "Top Obama officials meet with South Florida Latinos".
"Gerrymandered ... again"
Scott Maxwell writes that "one of the worst jokes ever told was when Florida legislators claimed they spent the past six months actually "listening" to what citizens had to say when it came to redistricting."
That, my friends, is a laugh."Gerrymandering means the joke's on you".
Because the state Senate just released a maps that suggest the main people these politicians listened to were other politicians.
The proposed districts are self-serving and gerrymandered … again.
Romney in Tampa
"Romney in Tampa: Free trade will help U.S. rebuild economy".
Big of them
"Congressman Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, has become the sixth House member from the Florida delegation to sign on to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, and Marco Rubio, R-Miami, have also joined similar efforts. The House bill prohibits members of Congress, their staff and federal employees from trading in the stock market on information obtain in closed-door meetings." "Anti-Insider Trading Bills for Congress Gaining Florida Sponsors".
Not exactly the Brain Bowl
"State Sen. Steve Oelrich says that if Florida’s new political lines fall his way, a run for Congress may be in his future. The Gainesville Republican lives in a congressional district represented by U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns and says it is not his intent to run against him. When pressed, though, he would not rule out a run against the 12-term incumbent and called his political makeup 'more conservative' than Stearns’." "Gainesville lawmaker might challenge Rep. Cliff Stearns for congressional seat".
Unemployment comp fund on the mend
"State economists predict that the minimum tax rate to employers will fall to $29.40 per worker in 2015, down from $171.70 at the end of this year." "Unemployment compensation fund on the mend as taxes rise".
"GOP-led Legislature wants to regulate women’s bodies"
"State senator: GOP-led Legislature wants to regulate women’s bodies, again".
Ricky gets it wrong
"Last month, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post, Scott said that the federal health care reform law, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2010, is 'not the law of the land.'"
PolitiFact finds that turning away the money because the Affordable Care Act is not the law is not accurate. Even though Florida is not implementing the parts of the law that requires its approval, it remains the law."PolitiFact: Scott assertion about health care reform ‘false’".
"Politics from the pulpit"
"When Bishop Robert Lynch spoke from the pulpit Wednesday to a crowd of lawyers and judges, he may have surprised some with his pointed opposition to a key provision of the federal health care reform law."
But he is just one voice in a loud and growing chorus of Catholic leaders nationwide. Chief among their complaints: a requirement in the Affordable Care Act that employers offer free contraceptive coverage as part of health insurance policies beginning next August."Politics from the pulpit".
If that mandate doesn't change, Lynch said, the Diocese of St. Petersburg would drop health insurance for its approximately 2,300 employees, and instead give them money to find coverage themselves.
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Women's rights at risk".
"Rep. Erik Fresen said his bill will probably be changed to require local voters to approve new casino resorts. A new casino-backed poll shows strong support for the plan in Miami-Dade." "Bill sponsor predicts referendums for Broward, Miami-Dade".
More gambling: "Florida gambling law filled with barrel-sized loopholes" ("Florida's gambling laws, thanks in part to special interest influence, are a hodgepodge that savvy attorneys have learned to exploit.")
"Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy"
"Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, appeared on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show yesterday to discuss a newly proposed amendment to the Constitution he introduced to reform campaign finance in the U.S."
The Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment would “amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that corporations are not people, that corporations cannot spend money in our elections, that Congress and the States can regulate corporations, and that Congress can limit and require full disclosure of all political contributions and expenditures by all individuals and private entities,” the website created for the bill says."VIDEO: Florida congressman talks OCCUPIED amendment on MSNBC".
"Fight over cleaning up Florida's rivers and lakes intensifies"
"The fight over cleaning up Florida's rivers and lakes intensified Thursday with the announcement of a lawsuit by a coalition of environmentalists who want to block new state regulations designed to supersede controversial rules imposed by federal regulators." "Lawsuit: Environmentalists claim proposed water-pollution regulations are too weak". See also "Lawsuit filed to head off proposed state water quality rules" and "Environmentalists file legal challenge to proposed state water pollution standards".
Hundreds of millions in road projects delayed
"$300 million in Central Florida road projects delayed".
"Bachmann pops unexpectedly into South Florida"
"Michele Bachmann popped unexpectedly into South Florida on Thursday and started throwing haymakers at Republican presidential frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney." "In South Florida, Bachmann tees off on rivals".