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 .