Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Gallagher on New TV Ad: I'm Conservative
And I’m anti Gay"
It seems every candidate has a group they’re fighting for. I do too. It’s called the family. As Governor I won’t allow liberal judges from Massachusetts to re-define marriage in our state. We need a constitutional ban on gay marriage, a 24 hour waiting period on abortion, and we must increase the number of children adopted in Florida. As a father, I don’t think anyone should have to explain what an adult billboard is to a seven year old. – so I’m taking ‘em down. I’m Tom Gallagher. Our families are worth fighting for and that’s one fight I’m ready to have."While the television advertisement doesn't mention Charlie Crist, Gallagher's campaign staff did in the press release announcing the new ad had started airing statewide. From a press release from campaign spokesman Alberto Martinez: "The ad also highlights the fact that Tom Gallagher is the only pro-life candidate running for Governor. Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith are both openly pro-choice, while Republican Charlie Crist voted pro-choice as State Senator, received a rating of "mixed-choice" from NARAL/Pro-Choice America, and is opposed to a 24-hour waiting period before a doctor can perform an abortion. Recently, Mr. Crist voiced his opposition to President’s Bush veto of a bill that would have for the first time in history permitted the use of taxpayer dollars to fund embryonic stem-cell research, a controversial procedure which requires the destruction of human life."
View The Ad Here
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
By Justin Rood -
It sounds like some GOPers are wheeling out a new wishful deus ex machina to keep their hopes alive for the Florida Senate race: Harris might drop out as soon as she wins the GOP primary. Courtesy of the Bradenton (FL) Herald:
An interesting rumor floating around both local and D.C. political circles has a little bit of intrigue and one big hole.
If Katherine Harris can win the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, and then drop out, then the Republican Party of Florida would be permitted to enter a candidate of its own choosing against Democrat Bill Nelson who, one year ago, was referred to as vulnerable, but is now cruising with a 30-point lead in the polls.
Hm. Sound familiar?
(The aforementioned "hole" in the rumor is, of course, that Harris shows no sign of getting out, despite months of overt and covert pressure from her party.)
Friday, July 21, 2006
Stephen Colbert featured an interview with Democratic Representative Robert Wexler from Florida on last night's Colbert Report on Comedy Cental. The show regularly conducts humorous interviews of Congressional Representative in a segment called, "Better Know a District".
Colbert reminded Wexler that he was running unopposed in his bid for re-election. Colbert explained, as an unopposed candidate, Wexler could say anything inappropriate and still be elected. Keeping with the show's outrageous reputation, Wexler agreed to tell why he enjoyed cocaine and prostitutes.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
State Democratic Party posts best 2nd quarter figures in history
BY BRIAN SKOLOFF
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Republican Party of Florida outraised the state Democratic Party by about $600,000 in the three months ending June 30, even as Democrats made history with their second-quarter figures, the parties reported.The Republican Party brought in nearly $3.1 million compared to the Democrats' nearly $2.5 million. The figures were reported Monday to the state Division of Elections.The Democratic Party noted that its numbers surpassed any previous second-quarter results in history, including the gubernatorial election years of 1998 and 2002.Democrats pointed to waning support for Republican leadership as one reason for their unprecedented posting."Republicans focus on policies that support only the very wealthiest while they appoint cronies that can't manage important government agencies, and the majority of Florida's taxpayers are paying the price for their incompetence and waste," said Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman.The largest influx of funds for Democrats this quarter came from a fundraiser hosted by former President Bill Clinton that brought in about $250,000 for the party. Another fundraiser set to be headlined by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was canceled after the senator couldn't make it to the event. The party had expected to bring in $200,000, but instead raised just $70,000, said party spokesman Mark Bubriski.Republicans added about $3 million to the statewide campaign coffer this quarter from a fundraiser hosted by President Bush."We're right where we need to be. We're hitting all our goals," Republican Party spokesman Jeff Sadoski said Tuesday.By comparison, the Republican Party raised nearly $7.5 million during the second quarter in 2002, while the Democratic Party brought in more than $1.7 million for the same period.The Democratic Party remained nearly even with its first quarter 2006 figures of just under $2.5 million, while Republican Party fundraising plummeted by more than $4 million from first-quarter results of about $7.3 million.
BY RON WORD
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former Corrections Department Secretary James Crosby Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a prison contractor, blaming some of his actions on alcohol abuse.After entering his guilty plea, Crosby told reporters he was ashamed of his actions. It was another step in the downfall of a man whose prison system was recently the target of several scandals and investigations."I apologize to everyone. What I did was wrong," Crosby said. "I wish I could take it back."Crosby told U.S. Magistrate Marcia Morales Howard that he was being treated for alcohol abuse and high blood pressure."I am getting treatment," Crosby said, when asked by reporters if he was an alcoholic.He would not give details into the kickback case."I made a choice. I pleaded guilty," he said. "I take responsibility for what I did."Crosby apologized to Gov. Jeb Bush, his family and the citizens of Florida."I misled Gov. Bush," Crosby said. He added that "shame" had kept him from contacting Bush after he was fired.Crosby, 53, and his protege, Allen Wayne Clark, formerly one of the department's regional directors, were charged last week with accepting kickbacks from American Institutional Services, a company which sold snacks and drinks to prison visitors on weekends.Crosby and Clark, who pleaded guilty Thursday to the kickback charge, were each released on a $50,000 unsecured signature bond.While U.S. Attorney Paul Perez said both Crosby and Clark could receive up to eight years in federal prison, Crosby's attorney Steve Andrews said he was hoping for a sentence of two years to 30 months.Both have agreed to pay $130,000 in restitution, which is the total amount of the kickbacks and cooperate with federal investigators. Prosecutors have not said how much each of the men received, but under federal law both are responsible for the total amount.They could also lose their state retirement funds. Crosby received a lump-sum retirement payout of $215,000 and also receives a $66,000 annual pension.Bush forced Crosby to resign in February, but he said Monday he wanted to fire him a month earlier. He said the FBI asked him to hold off so that they could build a strong case."I'm disappointed. I feel bad for him. I'm disappointed that he violated the trust," Bush said Tuesday in Tallahassee.Bush also said he was pleased that Crosby decided to admit his guilt and cooperate with investigators.Prosecutors said Clark would accept kickbacks and deliver part of those payments to Crosby. The kickbacks totaled up to $12,000 monthly. Clark made $94,300 annually as regional director and Crosby earned about $124,000 a year as prisons chief.Crosby stopped receiving his portion of the kickbacks after Clark resigned, but Clark continued taking money until earlier this year, court documents said.American Institutional Services, based in Gainesville, was a subcontractor of Keefe Commissary Network in St. Louis, which had the contract to supply commissary services to inmates. At Clark's and Crosby's urging AIS was hired by Keefe to handle the cash weekend sales to prison visitors.Federal and state agents searched AIS offices in Gainesville in early June. After the search, current corrections secretary James McDonough canceled the AIS contract.AIS was started by Gainesville businessman and insurance agent Eddie Dugger, a longtime friend of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Rod Smith. A telephone message left at Dugger's office Tuesday was not immediately returned.In his final months as secretary, Crosby faced intense scrutiny over arrests related to alleged steroid abuse by guards, accusations of sexual assault and the arrest of a former minor league baseball player who was allegedly hired only to help a Florida prison employee softball team coached by Clark.Crosby joined the prison system in August 1975 and was the warden of several facilities. He was a popular choice when the governor tapped him to take control of the department in 2003.Crosby was in charge of Florida State Prison when death row inmate Frank Valdes died after being beaten in his cell in July 1999. Crosby was on vacation at the time, but is among those being sued in federal court by Valdes' family. Several of the guards were acquitted in trials in Bradford County and prosecutors dropped charges against other corrections officers.Raised in the area known as "the iron triangle" because of its multiple prisons, Crosby received a journalism degree from the University of Florida. He was also interested in politics, serving as mayor of Starke and working as a local volunteer for George W. Bush's 2000 election campaign. He was a delegate to the Republican convention in 2000 that nominated the president.
FAIR USE NOTICE
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Last week, former Department of Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby Jr. and another ex-DOC administrator agreed to plead guilty for their role in a kickback scheme. According to federal investigators, Crosby and Allen Clark arranged for the company Crosby had hired to run prison canteen services to subcontract with a Gainesville company. That company then delivered to Crosby and Clark monthly payments of as much as $12,000.
To most Floridians, the Department of Corrections keeps 85,000 people in prison and watches another 140,000 who are on community supervision. A few others see the DOC as a potential profit center and a source of power. The DOC's budget is about $2 billion a year, and more of that has become private and thus subject to graft. Prison jobs don't have much appeal in this part of the state, but in relatively poorer North Florida, they are valued. For years, the region's Dugger and Wainwright families ran the system like a political machine.
Crosby was an insider who knew how to milk the system. In February, as reports of widespread criminal activity within DOC touched Crosby, Gov. Bush finally forced him out and named an outsider, former state drug control Director James McDonough. About 40 employees are gone from the department. But roughly half that many face criminal charges.
Conditions in the Florida justice system have led to laws requiring lawyers for poor defendants and better health care for inmates. Usually, though, politicians have been happy to overlook problems as long as inmates weren't escaping. Indeed, the governor picked Crosby despite the beating death of an inmate by guards when Crosby was running Florida State Prison.
But there is undeniable deep-seated corruption at the DOC. In January, boot-camp guards beat a 14-year-old boy to death. No one has been charged. Instead, the Department of Juvenile Justice is in Palm Beach County court trying to avoid improving conditions at the detention center. The DJJ itself is in charge of nearly 100,000 boys and girls, and about 85 percent of that budget is private. There's more to fixing Florida's penal systems than cleaning up after James Crosby.
The right answer is; regulators can't stop them, if they have the right connections.
In the case of the Indiana company, International Medical Group, Florida regulators are impotent to stop them selling and administering unlawful medical insurance plans.
More than 30 regulators, lawyers, investigators, managers, analysts, secretaries, and others investigated IMG for three years before deciding they cheated on application forms, violated Orders, violated statutes, didn't pay legitimate claims, and did business without a license; any Florida agent could have told the DFS the right answer immediately, without such a massive waste of human resources.
Insiders estimate it took more than 1,200 man hours over 3 years to decide IMG had operated unlawfully. Then the DFS denied their license application. During that time IMG collected millions in unlawful premiums, but not a penny fine was levied against them as punishment for years of illegal activities.
Adding insult to injury to DFS staffers, International Medical Group - marked as unlicensed and unlawful in the state, continue to administer and market in just the same manner in blatant defiance of DFS regulators.
The IMG saga is embarrassing for DFS professionals and demonstrates some of the benefits that are available to those with friends in high places.
Any response to these allegations of favoritism Mr. Gallagher?
Who investigates complaints of wrongdoing in the Department of Financial Services? Maybe the CFO-controlled Inspector General, but not Charlie Crist, Florida's Attorney General.Carlos Muniz, General Counsel for the DFS, and Director of the Division of Agent and Agency Licensing, Mary Alice Palmer, seem to be working against the best interests of Floridians, and refuse to answer questions about their strange activities. Queries from several people, both inside and outside the DFS, were rebuffed.A complaint was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General. who quickly replied that the AG doesn't have authority to investigate the DFS. So who does investigate 'obstruction of justice' allegations against the DFS?Would the AG's office would have distanced themselves from the complaint so quickly if the DFS manager was a Democrat, or could it be that Crist doesn't want Gallagher accusing him of starting politically motivated investigations during the sensitive election campaign?Either way, the obstruction of justice complaint remains ticking and Muniz is free to carry on what look like under-the-table dealing with unlawfu entities, without check or oversight.
Thanks to www.tomgallaghersucks.com For all the good info