"According to a new report and infographic released by Maplight, a nonprofit research group that studies the influence of money on politics, a Super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has raised more than $4.5 million from just 59 donors in Florida alone." "Report: Romney Super PAC raised over $4.5 million from just 59 Floridians".
Anti-choice GOTV scam
"A new anti-abortion group called Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights has launched a campaign called 'Yes on 6,' urging Floridians to vote for Amendment 6 this November."
Amendment 6 is a legislatively created ballot initiative that proposes “the creation of Section 28 of 2 Article I of the State Constitution to generally prohibit public funding of abortions and prohibit the State Constitution from being interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in the United States Constitution.”"Anti-abortion group launches ‘Yes on 6′ campaign".
The group launching the campaign is listed with the Florida Division of Elections as a political action committee with assets totaling $13,359.
Documents filed with the Division of Elections show that the committee is being funded by the influential anti-gay and anti-abortion group Florida Family Action PAC, which is part of the Florida Family Policy Council. Other anti-abortion groups funding the committee include the Florida Catholic Conference, Florida Right to Life and the Diocese of Venice in Florida.
As the measure made its way through the state Legislature last spring, the bill was presented as a way to restrict public funding of abortion — which is already illegal. But the amendment would roll back a constitutional privacy right in the Florida Constitution, which currently provides more protection for women than the U.S. Constitution does.
While the bill summary includes this information, critics take issue with the amendment’s title: “Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights.”
State Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, said during debate over the bill that the amendment was introduced as a “political move to get out the vote in 2012.”
"Stop fighting commonsense reform"
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Broadcasters are in business because the public grants them free access to the airwaves. It's not too much to expect them to also make it easy for the public to know who is buying the political ads they find there. Local television stations should tell their leaders to stop fighting commonsense reform proposed by the Federal Communications Commission that will bring much-needed sunlight to the money behind politics."
The FCC's proposed rule, expected to be voted on April 27, would require major stations in the top 50 markets to upload their political advertising information to an FCC website. Smaller stations would be given two more years to comply, a nod to complaints by broadcasters that the requirement is expensive and burdensome. It's a baseless claim. Once systems are automated, digitizing information saves money and staff time over keeping paper records. Moreover, stations can afford to put a few resources toward their public interest obligations."Make political ad buyers easy to find".
Estimates are that television broadcasters will earn $2.5 billion in political advertising in 2012, an increase of more than 60 percent from 2008, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court unleashing an avalanche of money for independent ads with its Citizens United decision. By having the information on all these ads centralized, online and in searchable form (a detail that isn't yet clear in the rules, but should be made mandatory too) the public would be given for the first time an easy way to track money that goes into political ads, and any special interests financing them. This won't solve America's problem with big money in politics drowning out smaller voices, but at least it will let everyone know who is doing the speaking.
Millions pour into political war chests
"Time-share companies and resort owners, the business lobby, trial lawyers, unions, and Realtors topped the list of interest groups that poured millions of dollars into their political war chests during the last three months -- in anticipation of what should be a wide-open and unpredictable 2012 campaign season." "Interest groups, politicians pump up political war chests". See also "Party donations soften during first quarter", "Early, extra sessions hamper Q1 fundraising in Senate races", "Bill Nelson has $9.5 million for Senate race" and "Here's a fundraising twist: Judges out-raising lawmakers so far in 2012".
"Wasserman Schultz `proud' to represent South Florida, hopes for another term".
West hiding under his bed
"Allen West sees communists lurking in Congress" and "Allen West says there are Communists in Congress".
Florida GOPers whine about "war on women"
"The war over the so-called "war on women" continues to rage – in South Florida and beyond. Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale, co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said the Democrats are conjuring up a 'phony war on women.'"
Day continues, accusing the Dems, of all people, of being divisive:
She said President Barack Obama and his supporters "continue to create this divide. First they did this class divide, and now they're doing this gender divide.""Battle over 'war on women' continues".
"You betcha Sarah Palin will be at the August Republican National Convention."
The political action committee for the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate plunked down $4,500 to reserve space at Channelside Bay Plaza for the big political event."Palin setting up shop in Tampa".
Meanwhile, "Students pressuring Tampa for protest permit at RNC".
"As sure as death"
Tom Jackson: "As sure as death, taxes and humidity, it was inevitable Mike Fasano's name was going to appear on a ballot sometime this year. You could have more easily denied the flight of our winter guests and summer thunderstorms." "Nobody term-limits Fasano".
Mack seeks attention
"U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV brought his Republican U.S. Senate campaign to town Wednesday in the form of a petition calling on President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson – both Democrats -- to change their minds on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline." "Mack brings U.S. Senate campaign, petition to Orlando".
Rubio attends a VP candidate's class
"Rubio, R-Fla., will travel Thursday to the sixth Summit of the Americas, which will take place Friday and Saturday in Cartagena, Colombia." "Rubio to travel to Summit of the Americas".
Nancy Smith writes that a "tea party group hoodwinked into believing that HB 7117, the energy bill now before Gov. Rick Scott, is somehow going to 'increase the cost to businesses and consumers.'" "Looks Like Exxon Mobil Is Out to Crush Florida's Energy Bill, Corleone-Style".
Two-thirds of the House rank 95% or more on AIF scorecard
"Associated Industries of Florida said Wednesday that two-thirds of the House -- all Republicans -- ranked 95 percent or higher on its legislative scorecard."
Meanwhile, progressive groups [Florida Watch Action, Progress Florida and America Votes] recognized 27 legislators -- all but one being Democrats -- for opposing policies of Gov. Rick Scott, on some of the same issues supported by AIF."Groups on opposites of political spectrum issue legislative ratings".
The contrasting ratings offer conflicting evidence as to whether a more conservative Legislature is coalescing or whether the parties are becoming more polarized -- or both.
AIF said the differences between Democrats and Republicans on pro-business issues had narrowed as shown by its scorecard this year.
Big of them
"Charges dropped against Occupy Sarasota protester". See also "Charges dropped in Occupy Sarasota chalk arrest".
Florida's 'AAA' credit rating reaffirmed
"One of three major credit rating agencies reaffirmed Florida's 'AAA' credit rating on Wednesday,"
but kept its outlook listed as negative and listed a lawsuit challenging mandatory contributions to public employee retirement plans among events that could cloud the state's fiscal standing. Meanwhile, the Department of Revenue reported that state revenue continued a string of months in which it has come in above forecasts. "Florida bond rating holds at AAA with negative outlook". Related: "County official: state's reduced revenue-sharing won't hurt Palm Beach County bond rating".
Scott and Legislature win "Muzzle" Award
"Enacting a law that bars doctors from discussing gun safety with their patients. Slicing the "f-word" from a designated free-speech wall. Blocking websites about non-mainstream religions and gay-advocacy groups from public computers."
Those were some of the dubious achievements that the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression cited Thursday in announcing its "Muzzle" awards. The Charlottesville center bestows the Muzzles annually to mark the April 13 birthday of Jefferson, its namesake, a free-speech advocate and the nation's third president."Florida gets free-speech "Muzzle" award for new gun law".
Center director Josh Wheeler says several of the 2012 winners earned their Muzzles for engaging in viewpoint censorship, which the First Amendment prohibits.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the state's Legislature won its Muzzle for adopting a National Rifle Association-backed law that largely prohibits physicians from asking patients about firearms in their homes or discussing gun safety. In response to a challenge by physicians' groups and gun-control advocates, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction last fall blocking enforcement of the law, ruling that it infringed on free speech in the context of a doctor-patient relationship.