Florida has become ground central for the corrupting influence of money in politics. While the state became well known for election irregularities in 2000, dark money has been deployed to drive the legislative election agenda for the past two decades.
Governor Ron DeSantis and Jacksonville mayor, Lenny Curry, the former Chairman of Florida’s GOP, have used dark money to swing elections and advance policy changes. On the local level, Curry’s most vocal and visible opponent has been City Councilman Garrett Dennis. Dennis aims to provide a similar level of accountability to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He’s running for State Representative in House District 14. Among his primary opponents is Kim Daniels, a former Representative we most certainly do not want to see in Tallahassee again. Daniels, despite being a Democrat will serve once again as a proxy, for the DeSantis agenda, a fox in the hen-house if you will. But back to Dennis…
For the last seven years Jacksonville has been a political pinata and proving ground for aggressive alt-right political practices. Trumpian Mayor Lenny Curry’s political priorities have been abolishing the pension for city employees, increasing taxes on the working class, cutting taxes for the wealthy and selling off the city’s utility company to the highest bidder.
City Councilman Garrett Dennis was a powerful counterweight to Curry’s onslaught. Florida’s lack of campaign finance regulation has been an engraved invitation for dark untraceable money and corruption. Florida Republicans have mastered the manipulation of campaign finance regulations to chalk up consistent wins through elections and legislation.
Republicans private sector ally has been Florida Power & Light (FPL). The utility has sought to control more of the state’s utility business by squeezing out competitors, like rooftop solar, rigging elections and raising rates.
Curry’s team was so aggressive in the drive to privatize the Jacksonville Electric Authority it led to two indictments of executives looking to cash in on the sale to FPL. This debauchery included an attempt by FPL to buy off Councilman Dennis through a political consulting firm Matrix. The same Matrix which was recently exposed by the Miami Herald for doing FPL’s advocacy behind the cover of a supposedly objective publication.
A Matrix proxy offered Dennis a $250,000 a year job for traveling the country and making speeches. The catch was he had to resign from the City Council. Dennis’ response — take a hike.
When this information was revealed, FPL attacked the source who leaked the offer. Dennis sponsored legislation creating a special committee to investigate the stink around the privatization.
Jacksonville and Florida need a counterweight to the dark money and corruption that dominate the state. We strongly endorse Garrett Dennis in Florida House District 14 for this effort.