Is Americans for Prosperity responsible for what is shaping up to be a lackluster 2013 legislative session?

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Editor’s note: The following post was written with tongue firmly in cheek. For the most part.

It’s all Slade O’Brien’s fault. Or at least it will be.

If the 2013 legislative session, once so full of hope and promise inspired by leaders Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, ends on a lackluster note (the odds of which I peg at no less than three-to-one), the blame will lay with Slade O’Brien and the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

How you ask?

Because everything was going along swimmingly right up until it was revealed Americans for Prosperity had sponsored an Integrity Florida report critical of Enterprise Florida. The fallout from this revelation all but crippled Integrity Florida.

And with Integrity Florida losing so much of its integrity, the momentum for the two issues it was prominently attached to — elections and ethics reform — came to a halt. While the Legislature will likely pass bills addressing these two issues, the opportunity early passage presented has been lost. 

And so much of the rest of Speaker Weatherford’s agenda, such as so-called pension reform, is also stalled.

Oh sure, the Everglades may be saved, the eyeball wars may be over, and Internet cafe operators are now persona non grata, but it’s easy to imagine what might have been.

What if Integrity Florida had not been linked with AFP? Would this not have given IF the stature to keep the pressure on to see elections and/or ethics reform passed early in the legislative session?

With elections and/or ethics reform passed, imagine how the columnists and editorial board would have hurrahed Weatherford. With these early wins, the Speaker would have been in position to run the table on the rest of his agenda? 

Instead, the 2013 legislative session looks like it will be remember for what might have been.

And for that, you can blame Americans for Prosperity.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.