Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Emails continue to hound Andrew Gillum; fundraising invitation among newest trove

in 2017 by

A slowly simmering email kerfuffle is turning into a close-to-uncomfortably hot scandal for Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who announced his candidacy for Florida governor in 2018 last month.

Another email has been unearthed revealing he used state equipment as a means for campaigning, which is an ethics violation in the state of Florida.

The email in question invited a host of people to a Florida Democratic fundraiser, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.

“Last month, the city of Tallahassee turned over 60 emails sent through software purchased by NGP Van, a company that provides technology to Democratic campaigns and causes,” the newspaper reported. “Several of the emails had political messages, including one inviting people to a 2016 campaign appearance by then-Vice President Joe Biden in Tallahassee.”

Now another 50 emails have been turned over to the newspaper after a records request, the newspaper reported.

“One, however, was an invitation to the FDP fundraiser at the home of then-Party Chair Allison Tant,” according to the Democrat. “U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was the special guest; the event was chaired by Gillum, then vice-chair of the state party. Tickets were available at various sponsorship levels, from $50 up to $1,000.”

The Democrat reported $6,850 had been spent by the mayor’s office on the NGP Van software and included $4,965 from the city’s general fund and $1,875 in leftover campaign money that the mayor rolled into his office account.
He was forced to publicly capitulate, apologizing on the same day he filed to run for Florida governor. Gillum has stated previously the emails were his fault.

A criminal investigation was started after a man in Jefferson County sent a complaint to Leon County State Attorney Jack Campbell, who notified the sheriff.

“The investigation is progressing and we are continuing to obtain records,” Lt. Grady Jordan, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday, according to the Democrat.

The Tallahassee mayor has stated he is fully willing to cooperate with the investigation.

The latest emails brought forth fresh rebukes from conservatives, the Democrat reported.

“This is another egregious breach of the public trust,” Leon County Republican Party Chair Evan Power said. “When Mayor Gillum apologized for his other inappropriate emails he continued to hide these records from his constituents.”

The Republican Governor’s Association added their voice to the mix:  “Gillum has clearly demonstrated he cannot be trusted to tell the truth or follow the law.”

Andy Janecek, Leon County DEC chair, added: “Republicans continue to do and say anything to distract from the disastrous failures of the Trump presidency. The city has been reimbursed and it’s time for Evan Power to get a new hobby. Professional trolling won’t help put anyone back to work or make sure every Floridian has access to health care.”

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Les Neuhaus is an all-platform journalist, with specialties in print reporting and writing. In addition to Florida Politics, he freelances as a general-assignment and breaking-news reporter for most of the major national daily newspapers, along with a host of digital media, and a human rights group. A former foreign correspondent across Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, Les covered a multitude of high-profile events in chronically-unstable nations. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, in which he served as a Security Policeman, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in political science. He is a proud father to his daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.

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