Update on Progressive Choice organization (UPDATED 5:15 EDT Tuesday 4/1)

photo(14)The mysterious group Progressive Choice which we discussed on Friday has been  busy trying to make inroads with Florida liberals. In the interest of full disclosure, we were approached by a representative for the group last week offering to buy ads on this site. While we did not flat out turn down the offer, we asked for more information as to who funds the group before we accept any advertisements on this website. The information we sought (and still seek) regarding the groups ad sales will not be used publicly on this blog. It is for our information only so we can make an informed decision about whether to promote this effort. Still we have not received a satisfactory answer and thus we have chosen not to accept the ads for now.

Now back to the organization itself. While we cannot ascertain its funding sources, the press spokesperson for the group, Jamie Fontaine-Gansell with whom we have been in contact with is from Maryland. She is a strong progressive with a lengthy and impressive record of activism. However, given the lack of forthcoming information about the group, we cannot at this point simply assume her involvement means the organization is a truly progressive one. We would like to believe that, but at this point we cannot make that determination.

It is very possible the money being used to fund the mailers, flyers and robo calls the group has produced is from out-of-state like the the official spokesperson is. It is also possible it is being funded by Florida interests opposed to Governor Crist and using some progressive talking points and individuals as cover. Our instinct is to believe the group is either funded by out-of-state liberal interests or in-state conservative ones. We do not believe this group is funded by in-state progressive interests.

So here is a summary of what we do know:

  • The organization has been able to fund a statewide mailer, robo calls in southern Florida and other efforts based around the capitol in Tallahassee.
  • While we have not spoken to every major progressive group in the state, the ones we have spoken with claim no knowledge of the organization, its origins or its funding. This would lead us to believe it is either out of state dollars from the left or in-state dollars from the right that are funding this effort.
  • The organization’s mailing address is Maryland. The public spokesperson for the group is also from Maryland. The public spokesperson is a progressive with an outstanding record of activism in the past.
  • As reported by Saint Petersblog the bulk mail permit used on the statewide mailer is from an Orlando mail house.
  • The organization has developed Facebook ads as a suggested page to like for liberal Democrats in Florida.
  • The organization’s website has a stock image and very vague/generic talking points.
  • The Tampa Bay Times and Broward Beat report that Patricia Ireland, the former NOW President who attended the University of Miami Law School has made robo calls paid for by the group attacking Charlie Crist.
  • The organization has pushed a narrative on social media that Governor Crist will not debate his Democratic primary challenger Senator Nan Rich.
  • The organization claims to be part of a larger national effort, but as of yet we have only seen a concentration on Florida. No coordination to any sort of larger national campaign is apparent.
  • We previously discussed on Friday that the mailer contained no citations or references for its representation of Governor Crist’s positions. As someone who previously worked in the campaign consulting business I believe this is very poor form. It might be legal, but is highly deceptive.

I would remind our readers that it is entirely possible that Progressive Choice is a legitimate organization that is backed by the leading progressive women in Florida and nationally.  But as I have communicated directly with the group’s spokesperson too many questions still exist in the mind of this website, our writers and our readers to come to that conclusion. We would like to believe this organization has the best  of intentions. However, right now for us the questions continue to mount and the answers aren’t satisfactory.

 5:15 EDT UPDATE: We now know that Progressive Choice was registered in Delaware as a corporation in January .

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14 Comments

  1. Invite Nan Rich to write a piece for The Florida Squeeze on who she is and who her opponents are.

  2. Democrat for life

    I can almost guarantee you this organization is funded by Republicans. Republican interests who play hard in Tallahassee.

  3. Floridian

    If this group were truly progressive they would be listing their donors on their homepage. But I clicked on the link to their homepage from this article and found that it is just generic stuff. I believe the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    Even a lot of the Republican leaning groups in this state revealed donors. Then again they are trying to influence Republicans. This group inversely is trying to influence Democrats and is probably funded by Republicans.

  4. tony

    This is really dangerous stuff. They are starting early and I bet will be well funded.

    Unless democrats stand strong against this type of nefarious attempt to hijack the narrative and our party by Scott’s backers.

  5. Tad

    I applaud you for not taking the ad $$$ without knowing the source.

    You have more ethics than some bloggers.

  6. Ironic that many Dems don’t care if Crist has Republican donors and staffers. It’s only progressives who come under scrutiny if they actually have a well-funded effort to support their issues because, God forbid, the money might come from Republicans. Give me a break.

    • Floridian

      At least Crist’s donors are public. This shady “organization” has left no paper trail, has no spokespeople, a shell website, has no grassroots presence and yet has sent direct mail, done phone banks and distributed literature lobbying legislators on issues in the Capitol.

      Everything Crist does is public. You or the readers (and I suspect Kartik & Ryan also) may be working to actively beat him in the primary but at least that is not cloaked in secrecy like this.

      I agree with this piece and it is all the more credible considering Kartik is thought to be a Nan Rich supporter.

  7. Concerned Democrat

    The FDP getting a dose of its own medicine. The FDP staff openly championing Crist and trying to limit debate and openness.

    I am surprised Kartik would end up on the same side as the party hacks he so rightly hates and calls out. Maybe it is the secrecy but in time it will all come out and be okay.

  8. I as well am reserving judgement. Susan is right on point as far as where the money is coming from. Charlies fraternity brother, past Republican finance chairman, puppet master, and war profiteer Harry Sargeant bundled money from people who were given the money to contribute.The stench of corrupt money is all over Christ and Scott. The major question is who wants Crist or Scott to keep buying elections. Nan can’t and won’t be bought. When she wins it will be the first step towards a better state and a better Democratic Party.

  9. Hi

    hey we got a couple of the mailers, check out the “union” symbol at the bottom, it looked kind of strange to me. not for sure, but i figured you guys would know. Maybe thats normal, maybe it is not. I didn’t know if it was actually printed at a union shop.

  10. rainbowusa

    Reblogged this on Broward News Network.

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  1. Progressive Choice: Where Are They Now? | The Florida Squeeze

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