Huh? PolitiFact: Haridopolos’ latest video ‘made without taxpayer dollars, but promoted with taxpayer dollars?

in Uncategorized by

Mike Haridopolos’ latest video — “Something Different is Happening in Florida” — goes further than any other video on the Senate website reviewed by PolitiFact, writes Katie Sanders.

Still, Haridopolos’ Senate spokeswoman Lyndsey Cruley said no taxpayer money was used to produce the video.

Why? Because it didn’t cost anything to make it.

The video, Cruley told PolitiFact Florida, was actually created on Haridopolos’ personal Apple laptop. A Senate Majority Office staffer, Robert Agrusa, who was on unpaid leave anyway, helped Haridopolos edit and produce the video in his spare time after work, she said. Haridopolos, she said, is “simply interested in getting the facts out directly to Floridians,” and that his office will continue to do that through new-media venues such as videos and social media.

“We really looked at it more as a video press release,” Cruley said.

That’s pretty much how Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, sees it, too. Members often promote personal projects and bills, and this is just a different kind of media to utilize, he said.

In the end, PolitiFact chickened out from issuing a ruling:

We considered rating (Rick) Kriseman’s statement — “This campaign video is being distributed by the Florida Senate using your tax dollars” — on the Truth-O-Meter. But we decided to hold off, thinking it might actually make things murkier. In short, the video was made without taxpayer dollars but is being promoted and defended with taxpayer resources.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.