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PRESS RELEASE: NRA Political Spending Highlights Troubling Consequences of Special Interest Influence

Public Campaign Action Fund issued a press release today detailing the political spending by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Florida, and what role that money may have played in passing controversial legislation in the state that is at the center of the horrible Trayvon Martin story.

From the release:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: PBS a "Special Interest," Private Corrections Firm Just Plain Special

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. The latest Ken Burns Civil War documentary. Sesame Street. According to Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), these programs and the countless others on PBS and NPR represent a "special interest." That's how Scott justified cutting all state funding to public television and radio last week.

Flaglerlive.com reported yesterday on Gov. Scott's veto of that portion of the state budget, noting that he called the action a "rejection of special interests."

A little excessive

When you have to raise so much money to win an election, sometimes it's easy to let excess campaign contributions slide. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) will have to pay about $100,000 in fines for receiving more than $313,000 in excessive campaign contributions in his 2004 election bid.


According to Roll Call this morning (the third story on the page):


Tipped Hats All Around

Mary Ann Lindley of the Tallahassee Democract gives a "tip of the hat" to Florida state Sen. Alex Villalobos for declaring his support for public financing of campaigns and I in turn tip my hat to Lindley for a well-written editorial on why it's high time we address how campaigns are financed, and policy written.

She scoffs at what she terms "rhetorical nonsense" from opponents of Clean Elections-style systems who deem it too expensive:

Ready, Set, Raise!

Florida lawmakers are dividing their time between work at the statehouse by day, and working the room at nearby fundraisers by night with more of latter than the former as the dash for cash gets frenzied. A prohibition against soliciting money during the regular session means compressing all the fundraising into a cartoonishly hectic chunk.

Everyone agrees that the hunger for money among legislators has grown more acute:

Pays For Itself

Though it doesn't mention the Fair Elections Act by name, this Orlando Sentinel editorial is strongly in favor of a public financing system for congressional elections in the model of Arizona and Maine's Clean Elections programs, arguing that those states offer a much better example than Florida when it comes to reducing the influence of special interest money.


The Pledge in the States

Local press is taking an interest in who is signing the Voters First Pledge. The Charlotte Sun-Herald looks at Florida activists working to get candidates to sign on, and The Capital (see the second section) highlights the Maryland candidates who have pledge to put voters first.


Tell Katherine Harris elections aren't for sale. Period.

We just sent this email (below the fold) out to our list of activists -- can you believe that Katherine Harris is trying to wash away her legacy with $10 million? Can you believe that she thinks people will forget that she abandoned the principle of oneperson, one vote in 2000? That  somehow spending $10 million makes it okay to have taken illegal campaign contributions. Our petition is here.

Abramoff to be sentenced in Florida fraud case March 29

Why is this important?

Well, to get a lighter sentence, Jack Abramoff has to show that he's cooperating with authorities. Abbe Lowell, his lawyer, says,

We will name names. We will provide the public with evidence of what is going on out there," Lowell said. "It seems to me that is not in the interest of law enforcement."

Get your popcorn. The caged bird is about to sing.

Abramoff Sentencing May Be Put On Hold

ABC News reports that prosecutors and defense attorneys for Jack Abramoff are asking for a delay in his Florida sentencing while Jack helps D.O.J. investigate broader government corruption allegations.

This news has got to rattle a few cages (and some nerves).