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5 posts from June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014

Wilson joins lawmakers in push for greater Twitter campaign to help free kidnapped Nigerian girls


A delegation of U.S. House members recently back from a fact-finding trip to Nigeria is calling for more international attention to help free girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, a Democrat from Miami Gardens, spoke along with several other members of Congress Thursday afternoon about their trip and the need for efforts to win the girls’ release.

“I am calling on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to use Nigeria’s vast resources and wealth, and the technical and financial support the country receives from the U.S. and international community, to rescue these girls,” Wilson said.

Boko Haram, designated in 2013 by U.S. officials as a terrorist organization, is the group responsible for widespread deaths, kidnappings and indiscriminate attacks in Nigeria. In April, 276 female students – most between 15 and 18 years old – were abducted by the group from a boarding school located in the northeastern province of Borno.

Their plight inspired a social media campaign and widespread condemnation from governments and citizens worldwide.

On Thursday, Wilson called for an even greater Twitter campaign, asking the public to tweet #bringbackourgirls every day at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time as a show of solidarity in support of the girls.

“Let’s tweet together to build a twitter campaign that cannot ignored,” she said.

Wilson recently sponsored a resolution that passed the U.S. House, 411-2; among other things, the resolution condemns Boko Harem, offers support and encouragement to Nigerians, commends U.S. offers to assist in the search for the abducted girls, and calls on President Barack Obama to provide Congress with a strategy to counter the threat posed by radical Islamist terrorist groups in West Africa, the Sahel and North Africa.

Decision raises more questions about documents in redistricting case


The trial challenging Florida's newly drawn congressional map ended two weeks ago and the judge could rule at any time on whether the revised boundaries violate the law.

Even so, a First District Court of Appeal opinion issued Thursday could jeopardize the use of 538 pages of confidential documents that were introduced as evidence.

The appeals court voted 5-4 that the Florida Supreme Court should ultimately decide whether the Leon County circuit judge assigned to the case was correct when he gave the plaintiffs in the case — a coalition of citizens groups — access to the secret e-mails, maps and planning documents held by political consultants to Republican legislators.

Now, the Florida Supreme Court will have to decide if it wants to take up the case. If so, the high court could agree with or overturn Circuit Judge Terry Lewis' initial ruling that the secret documents were admissible in court.

Read more here.

RPOF files third complaint v. Charlie Crist over Morgan & Morgan


The Republican Party of Florida filed its third complaint against Democrat Charlie Crist related to his ties the law firm of Morgan & Morgan.

This complaint, with the ethics commission, revolves around Crist’s decision as governor in 2010 to appoint one of the firm’s lawyers to a post that nominates judges while he was negotiating with Morgan & Morgan to become an employee after he left office in 2011.

“Less than two weeks after the appointment of Mr. [Joseph] Linnehan, Mr. Crist became employed with Morgan & Morgan,” the complaint filed by RPOF’s executive director, Juston Johnson, says.

“That fact that Mr. Crist was a public officer during this period of time is without question. At some point, Mr. Crist apparently received a promise of future employment with Morgan & Morgan. It is also apparent that Mr. Crist may have received a special privilege or benefit for himself from Morgan & Morgan.”

Crist's campaign said in a statement: "It doesn’t get more ironic than Rick Scott, after pleading the fifth 75 times to avoid going to jail and leading one of the largest fraud schemes in the history of the US, directing his staff to file an absurd ethics complaint against Charlie Crist, the People’s Governor."

Linnehan didn't respond, but John Morgan, owner of Morgan & Morgan, said via email: "I never knew that Joe had applied until after he was appointed and never ever discussed it with Charlie. This is the third silly ethics complaint they have filed against the firm! Must be a slow day at the RPOF."

Consider this complaint a two-fer: It generates a headline and it recalls allegations of convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, a one-time Crist contributor who was appointed by the former governor to a Judicial Nominating Commission post as well and now says Crist essentially sold judgeships for contributions. Crist says Rothstein is a non-credible liar.

 Two prior RPOF complaints, aimed at Morgan & Morgan’s advertising on behalf of Crist, appear to have fallen flat. One concerned billboards, the other a TV ad.

Meantime, Democrats have filed complaints against Republican Gov. Rick Scott over his use of his private plane and for an alleged conflict of interest tied to a former investment in an oil-drilling company.

Here's the latest complaint:  Download CC ETHICS COMPLAINT 6-19

**Oops update: This is an ethics complaint. The other RPOF complaints concerned elections.

In Spanish-language ad wars, Charlie Crist 0, Rick Scott boasts 4th 'GOALLLLLL!'


It's the season for political campaigns and Copa Mundial. And there's no better time for Gov. Rick Scott's political team to obliquely reference legendary telecaster Andrés Cantor's trademark scoring celebration.

In its second Spanish-language radio ad titled "GOALLLLLL!," Scott's political team takes another shot at the jobs lost under Democrat Charlie Crist and his decision not to seek reelection as governor in 2010, when he unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate.

Factor in Scott's TV ads, and he's run four Spanish spots to Crist's 0. Factor in all commercials in English and Spanish and Scott's on a 13-0 run, at a cost of about $16 million.

For you futbol-politics fans, it should be noted that neither narrator in the spot is Cantor, who incidentally narrated a New Democrat Network Spanish-language ad in 2006 that also had a "GOALLLLL!" reference (Italy won that year, thank you very much). The subject of that commercial then: How Republicans don't want Hispanics on their team because of the GOP's resistance to immigration reform.

Eight years later, with the GOP in the U.S. House stalling immigration reform again, that NDN ad can be dusted off and re-run.

As for Scott, we won't know for a few more months whether the ad blitz is a real "GOALLLLLL" with Hispanics or just "muy circa."

Here's the Scott spot and, below it, a clip of Cantor doing what he does.

Take it away, Andrés:

The Scott ad script

LOCUTOR #1: Estamos al comienzo de este importantísimo partido para la Florida.
LOCUTOR #2: Por un lado Charlie Crist, que nos abandonó como Gobernador cuando las cosas se apretaron. Contra el actual Gobernador, Rick Scott, que sigue trabajando para encaminar la economía del estado.
ANNOUNCER #1 TRANSLATED: We are at the beginning of this extremely important match for Florida.
ANNOUNCER #2 TRANSLATED: On one end, Charlie Crist, who abandoned us as Governor when things got difficult. On the other end the current governor, Rick Scott, who keeps working to get the state's economy on the right track.
LOCUTOR #1: ¡Le sacan tarjeta roja a Crist … (suena el silbato) … Por preocuparse más por su futuro político que por nosotros. Con Crist se perdieron 800 mil trabajos en la Florida. Aquí viene Rick Scott por el centro, enfocado en arreglar el desastre que dejó Crist. Logra rebajar impuestos 40 veces para los floridanos. ¡Scott avanza y anota un GOLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!
LOCUTOR #2: 600,000 trabajos creados en el sector privado bajo Scott en solo tres años y medio: El resumen de este partido:
Charlie Crist, 800,000 trabajos perdidos en el sector privado. Rick Scott 600,000 trabajos creados en el sector privado.
LOCUTOR #1: ¡Con Rick Scott, seguimos trabajando!
LOCUTOR #3: Patrocinado por Let’s Get to Work.
ANNOUNCER #1 TRANSLATED: Crist is issued a red card … (Whistle blows) … For worrying more about his political future than about us. With Crist, 800,000 jobs were lost in Florida. Here comes Rick Scott through the center, focused on fixing the mess Crist left. He cuts taxes 40 times for Floridians! Scott advances and scores a GOALLLLLLLLLLLL!!
ANNOUNCER #2 TRANSLATED: 600,000 jobs created in the private sector under Scott in only three and a half years. The highlights of this match. Charlie Crist, 800,000 private sector jobs lost. Rick Scott, 600,000 private sector jobs created.

ANNOUNCER #1 TRANSLATED: With Rick Scott, let's keep working!
ANNOUNCER #3 TRANSLATED: Sponsored by Let’s Get to Work.


Democrats dust off old anti-Rick Scott TV ad


Borrowing a page from the Florida GOP which is happily highlighting old Democratic attacks on former Republican Charlie Crist, the Florida Democratic party is now happily highlighting old Republican attacks on Rick Scott. This one was funded by the political committee of the former House Speaker Dean Cannon.