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Sunburn for April 20 – Donald Trump takes NY; Carlos Beruff’s bad day; Panhandle dominoes; No alimony reform for you

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.

CELEBRATE TAXPAYER INDEPENDENCE DAY TODAY via Florida TaxWatch – Today, Floridians will celebrate Taxpayer Independence Day 2016, the first day of the year where taxpayers are no longer working to pay off their tax bill but are working for themselves. This symbolic date, calculated by Florida TaxWatch, assumes that every dollar earned from the start of 2016 went to pay taxes at all levels of government. This year’s Taxpayer Independence Day occurs on the same day as last year, as growth in income and tax collections are expected to be similar this year. Before this year, Taxpayer Independence Day had come later than the year before in four straight years. This caused the date to move from April 8 in 2011 to April 20 in 2015. Federal tax burden continues to have the largest impact on Floridians, as federal taxes comprise more than 70 percent of Floridians’ federal, state and local tax burden. For the average Floridian, the state tax burden is 16.7 percent and local tax burden is 13.3 percent of their total tax bill, down from 17 and 13.7 percent respectively in 2015.

DONALD TRUMP TRIUMPHS IN NEW YORK, HILLARY CLINTON ON BRINK OF NOMINATION via Julie Pace of the Associated Press – Clinton emerged from New York’s presidential primary closer to clinching the Democratic nomination and becoming the first woman to reach that milestone. Republican Donald Trump strengthened his own path to the general election with a commanding victory, but has little room for error in the states ahead. The front-runners now hope to replicate their strong showings in New York in the cluster of Northeastern states next up on the primary calendar. Clinton was scheduled to spend Wednesday campaigning in Pennsylvania, while Trump had a rally planned in Maryland, as well as Indiana.

TWEET, TWEET: @ChuckTodd: Trump stayed on “rigged” message again. And kept his remarks short. The discipline is holding. The #stopTrump folks are in DEEP trouble

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: The Republican National Committee holds its spring meeting through Saturday at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida. The rules committee is meeting in advance of a prospective contested convention.

EPILOGUE — “JEB! THE MUSICAL” PARODY OF “HAMILTON” MOCKS THE BUSH CAMPAIGN via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – “Jeb! The Musical” is available online for anyone’s enjoyment, with two acts and 46 songs parodying both the failed presidential campaign of the former Florida governor and the musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. “Jeb! An American Disappointment! Please Clap,” the musical’s full title, opens with a song called “Jeb! Bush, Exclamation Point.”

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THE CARLOS BERUFF IDENTITY: CANDIDATE’S CONFLICTING CLAIMS ABOUT HIS BIRTHPLACE via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – Beruff is hoping to become Florida’s third Cuban-American U.S. senator and successor to Marco Rubio. His campaign website says he was born in Miami to Cuban parents in 1958. But in 2004, when he updated his address on a voter registration application, he listed Cuba as his country of birth. When he updated his address again in 2008, he listed Florida as his state of birth. Under Florida law, it is a third degree felony to willfully submit false voter registration information, a fact noted on the form immediately adjacent to where Beruff signed it. Though Beruff is playing up his Cuban descent in the race to replace Florida’s second Cuban-American U.S. senator, even launching his campaign at a popular Miami bakery, he listed himself on his 2004 and 2008 voter registration forms as “White, not Hispanic,” even though “Hispanic” was a choice on the forms. Unlike the presidency, there is no constitutional requirement that a member of Congress must be a natural-born citizen.

BERUFF RELEASES THIRD TV AD via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – His newest ad, titled “Teleprompter,” continues the themes in the homebuilder’s first ad, highlighting his business background and painting himself as the only political outsider in the race. “The experts want me to read a bunch of political crap off this teleprompter,” Beruff says in the spot. “Here’s what I have to say. Obama’s a disaster and Washington politicians are worthless. They waste our money, they make America weaker and they refuse to secure our border. It’s ridiculous. Let’s get rid of them.”

— “Political Ad Watch club unpacks Carlo’s Beruff’s first TV spot in Senate campaign” via Florida Politics

CARLOS LOPEZ CANTERA HAD BAR MITZVAH AT WESTERN WALL IN ISRAEL LAST WEEK via Amy Sherman of the Tampa Bay Times – At the not-so-tender age of 42, Lopez-Cantera — who once described himself in his house biography as Catholic — had a bar mitzvah at the western wall in Jerusalem last week while traveling with the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association. The Jewish rite of passage into adulthood typically occurs at age 13, but it’s not unheard of for adults to have the ceremony if they didn’t have one as a teenager. Lopez-Cantera’s wife, Renee and mother are Jewish, while his father is Catholic … He said the opportunity “presented itself” while he was in Israel so he had the bar mitzvah with a Chabad rabbi. Typically, those preparing for their bar mitzvah study for months with a tutor and a rabbi to learn how to chant a portion in Hebrew from the Torah and lead a service. But this was more of a quickie bar mitzvah.

— “Lopez-Cantera begins his ‘Florida First Tour’ in Hillsborough County” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

TODD WILCOX WINS ANOTHER STRAW POLL VOTE via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Wilcox of Orlando won an unofficial, non-binding straw poll Tuesday night by members of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee with 59 votes, followed by 14 votes for Lopez-Cantera, five for U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, and zero for U.S. Rep. David Jolly of neighboring Pinellas County and Beruff. It helped that Wilcox addressed the group, and no other candidates did.

U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Wilcox will be in Orlando.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Congressmen Ted Deutch and Carlos Curbelo host the first session of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus to discuss climate issues. During this meeting, the Director of International Affairs for Statoil will cover how the company is refocusing on cleaner and renewable sources of energy, and the New Zealand Minister for Climate Change Issues will discuss how a high-risk country is responding to the effects of climate change. Conference begins 9 a.m. in room 2253 of the Rayburn Office Building, 45 Independence Ave. SW. in Washington DC. RSVP to (Deutch) or (Curbelo) with name, outlet and number of individuals attending.

GOP UPGRADES MARK FREEMAN TO ‘YOUNG GUN’ CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE STATUS via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Freeman, a physician who has put more than $1.2 million of his own money into the crowded GOP race for a Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat, has received some affirmation from the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC added Freeman to its “Young Guns” program, which recognizes candidates in competitive House races who have met undisclosed fundraising and organizational goals. Counting Freeman, six of the eight Republicans running in District 18 have achieved Young Guns status. There are 42 candidates in the program nationwide.

GREG EVERS TOUTS PANHANDLE VALUES via Will Isern of the Pensacola News-Journal – The news got out a little earlier than he might have liked, but state Sen. Evers made it official … announcing his candidacy for Congress at an intimate gathering of friends and supporters overlooking the Blackwater River in Milton. “I wanted to be sure, I wanted to be comfortable, that the folks who were going to represent the Panhandle were equally as qualified and would stand up for the values,” Evers said. Evers touted his northwest Florida roots, small business background and support of the Second Amendment and said he wants to make sure that “Panhandle values” have a place in Washington, D.C. “I’m proud of the families and the values that they uphold here in the Panhandle,” Evers said. Evers said he supports Donald Trump in his bid for the presidency, but added that he has a few things to teach the New York billionaire, such as how to implement border control. Evers said he does not support building a wall along the border with Mexico, but would instead prefer to see a satellite positioned over the border to track illegal immigrants and let border patrol agents “be allowed to do their job.”


CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CRITICIZED FOR REMARKS ABOUT MONITORING IMMIGRANTS via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Pat Mooney is drawing fire from a Republican rival for making an analogy between monitoring immigrants and tracking livestock with microchips. “If we can find out where every cattle is in America — because they all have a chip in them — we can find out where every person visiting the United States is,” Mooney said April 12 during a Volusia County Republican meeting while discussing immigrants who overstay their visas. “We have cards. We have chips. They’re not American citizens. They’re not afforded the same rights we are as citizens,” said Mooney, whose brother is U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia. “So when they come here, we can track them. We can make sure they leave. It’s easy to do.” A recording of Mooney’s remarks made its way to his 6th Congressional District opponent, Brandon Patty, who compared the comments to something out of George Orwell.

STORY YOU WON’T READ IN SUNBURN — “DARREN SOTO PENNED GROSS SONG(?) ABOUT BANGING A DRUNK WOMAN” via Gawker. We’ll leave it to others to follow up on Jake Wagman‘s oppo research for our friend Susannah Randolph.

DOUG BROXSON ANNOUNCES SENATE RUN IN SD 1 via Florida Politics – Broxson has announced a run for the state Senate, seeking to replace Evers – who will run for [JeffMiller’s seat against Rep. Matt Gaetz – in staunchly conservative SD 1. Broxson’s campaign touted the third-term Republican’s record on insurance issues and the 2011 BP oil spill settlement, as well as his conservative stances on immigration and gun rights. “I want to thank Senator Greg Evers for his service in the Florida Legislature,” said Broxson in a statement. “Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties have a great future, and the next few years will be a critical period. As a state representative, I have worked to create jobs by keeping taxes and spending low and by halting the overreach of the federal government. It is my desire to continue that fight in the state Senate.”

MIKE HILL FILES FOR SD 1 via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times  – After Sen. Greg Evers … announced he is running for Congress; a conservative House Republican is jockeying for his abandoned state Senate seat. Hill … Told Panhandle talk radio host Burnie Thompson he’s running to replace Evers, according to a video on Thompson’s Facebook page. “I decided it was time for me to step up and to run for that state Senate seat,” Hill said. He’s an insurance agent and also the only Republican African-American member of the Legislature. Hill has not filed for the seat with the Division of Elections.

TWEET, TWEET: @GoMeteoric: FYI: Near as I can tell Its been more than 125 years since a Black Repub served in the FL State Sen. (Robert Meacham & Charles H. Pearce)

SAVE THE DATE: State Rep. Dana Young kicks off her campaign for the newly created Senate District 18 with a fundraiser Tuesday, May 3, at 1601 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Event begins at 5 p.m. For more information or to RSVP email

LOOK FOR attorney Bob Buesing, a Democrat, to file soon in SD 19, setting up a competitive Senate race in Tampa Bay.

EMILY SLOSBERG DROPS STATE SENATE BID; EYES FATHER’S HOUSE SEAT IN 2018 via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Slosberg — who piled up some big endorsements and was ready to spend more than $100,000 of her own money for an open state Senate seat in northern Palm Beach County — is dropping out of the race and says she’ll instead run for state House when her father, Rep. Irving Slosberg … faces term limits in 2018 … Emily Slosberg, an attorney and political consultant, said her father and Palm Beach County Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo were among those encouraging her to wait until 2018 to run for House District 91 seat.

DEMOCRAT FILES FOR A REMATCH AGAINST CLAY INGRAM via Florida Politics – Gloria Robertson-Wiggins put in her paperwork to run in HD 1 last week and is the only major party competition for Ingram, who is running for his fourth term in the House. Robertson-Wiggins also ran for the seat two years ago, where HD1’s strong Republican lean and Ingram’s insurmountable fundraising advantage led to him winning re-election with 69 percent of the vote on Election Day. Through March, Ingram had raised $91,746 and had $53,533 of that money on hand heading into April. No party candidate William Fetke, the only other candidate filed for HD 1, had an even $1,000 in his campaign account at the end of last month.

SPOTTED at the campaign kick-off for Rep. Chris Sprowls: Sen. Jack Latvala, Reps. James Grant and Chris Latvala, former Rep. Ed Hooper, Ken Burke, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

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JOE NEGRON: NO COLLEGE TUITION INCREASES via Troy Kinsey of Bay News 9 – While acknowledging that Florida’s state university tuition – at just over $6,000 a year for in-state undergraduates – is well below the national average, Sen. Joe Negron said the university system could grow without asking students to pay more. “My goal is to be able to do this from revenues that the legislature has available to it and not to expect tuition increases,” Negron told reporters after touring Florida State University.

WHAT NEGRON NEEDED TO HEAR DURING HIS “STATE UNIVERSITY LISTENING TOUR” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Negron is asking: What do state university students need? Had Negron stuck around a few minutes longer on one leg of his “state university listening tour,” he might have heard one answer. Negron is barnstorming the state with fellow senators and other state officials, hitting 12 institutions of higher learning in four days. Sebrenia Coleman, an 18-year-old first-year FAMU student from Tampa … was asked by another reporter what she needed as a university student. A break on the number of classes she is required to take, Coleman replied. “The biggest issue is requirements,” she said, explaining that she goes to FAMU on a university scholarship. But she also has a “very demanding” class load. She’d rather take 13 credits a semester but is forced as a condition of her scholarship to take no less than 15, Coleman said. Because some classes are tougher, they are worth more, so she wound up taking 18 credits this semester. She went from getting “almost all A’s” on assignments last semester to a mix of A’s, B’s and C’s this term, she said. “When you have a curriculum that’s very rigorous and then you’re required to meet certain standards for a scholarship that doesn’t take that rigor into consideration, it becomes very stressful for a student,” Coleman said. “You wind up getting worse grades than you could – or should – be getting.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Senate President Designate Joe Negron continues his tour of the state universities with a stop at 9 a.m. at Florida Polytechnic University. The Stuart Republican then heads to the University of South Florida at noon, before ending the day at 3 p.m. at New College of Florida.

STATES CAN’T BLOCK MEDICAID MONEY FROM PLANNED PARENTHOOD, FEDS SAY via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – “Providing the full range of women’s health services neither disqualifies a provider from participating in the Medicaid program, nor is the provision of such services inconsistent with the best interests of the beneficiary and shall not be grounds for a state’s action against a provider,” Vikki Wachino, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, wrote in the letter, which was also sent to groups representing the nation’s governors, state lawmakers and public health officials. Translation: You can’t exempt Planned Parenthood or any other abortion clinic from Medicaid just for being an abortion clinic. Last month, Scott signed a controversial law that blocks all state money, including Medicaid, from abortion clinics, including preventive services like cancer screenings and HIV testing. State law already prevented taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. The state can’t do that unless the federal government agrees. And Wachino’s letter sounds like an early “no.”

KELLI STARGEL SAYS ALIMONY REFORM MAY HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL 2018 SESSION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – “I don’t know that I’m willing to take this on again next year,” she told “Then again, a lot can happen between now and the next legislative session. But we need to discuss the merits of a bill and not get into heated rhetoric.” She backed this year’s bill (SB 668) that Scott vetoed last week. It would have modified the way Florida judges can award alimony with the intent to eliminate what critics have called “forever alimony.” Scott’s opposition, however, focused on a 50/50 time-sharing provision in the bill for parents after a divorce. The governor said that had the potential to put the “wants of a parent before the child’s best interest.” Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, had added that language to her alimony bill. It came from another bill pushed by state Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican and the outgoing Appropriations chair.

RACETRACK SEEKING SLOTS FILES LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS TO BOOST CASE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Gretna Racing’s lawyer submitted documents from the 2009 session to sway the Florida Supreme Court to expand slots play throughout the state. A ruling for the track could result in what critics fear will be the single biggest gambling expansion in the state. Attorney Marc Dunbar filed budget negotiation paperwork as part of his client’s case before the court. The track is run by The Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The documents are “pertinent to the issues raised regarding legislative intent,” Dunbar said in his filing. The state has said the Gretna track wants the court to “believe the unbelievable,” that “the Legislature left a loose string for voters in just one county to unravel (state law) by legalizing slot machines outside Broward and Miami-Dade counties.” Dunbar earlier had countered that laws mean what they say and legislative intent is “irrelevant.” Even then, “the limited legislative history favors Gretna’s interpretation,” he said.

SENATE MURAL WILL BE SAVED, BUT REMOVED FROM CAPITOL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Senate President Andy Gardiner said the mural will be preserved, however, for viewing elsewhere. It’ll be stored till then. The letter was sent … to Jeff Howell, the Republican Party of Florida treasurer. Howell, a Tallahassee attorney, leads an informal volunteer campaign to save the artwork. The 10-foot-by-16 foot “Five Flags Mural” greeted visitors to the Senate’s fifth floor viewing galleries. The mural’s removal comes as the chamber is undergoing an almost-$5 million renovation, the first since the Capitol opened in 1978. The work also happens to depict a Confederate general and flag. The Senate previously voted to remove that symbol from its official seal and insignia. The name of the mural refers to the five flags that have flown over the state: U.S., Confederate, Spanish, French and British.

PETER’S TAKE: THE MILLION-DOLLAR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER QUESTION via Florida Politics – About a month ago, when offered “The Good, the Bad and the Interesting” of the applicants for the next Insurance Commissioner, we highlighted the legal requirements for the job. They’re high … on purpose … legislation required that any political appointee have five years relevant private or public sector experience. The intent was to depoliticize these positions by making them appointed, requiring a super-duper vote by the Cabinet, and also by creating a high bar of qualifications for consideration, preventing any “fix” or purely political favor. Despite the noticeable difference in caliber between [JeffBragg and [BillHager, as evidenced during their interviews … as well as the Governor’s inexplicable behavior following the interviews, the real million-dollar question is this: What happens if the Cabinet appoints a legally unqualified person? Can it actually happen? Would that person’s actions have the force of law? Would the legal issues surrounding a potential Commissioner Bragg mire his authority? With Pam Bondi and Jeff Atwater continuing to flex their Cabinet muscle in support of Hager, the only unknown is Adam Putnam. Will he finally show his cards?

STATE DHSMV MOVING ITS COMPUTERS IN MAY via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Don’t try to renew your driver’s license online the weekend of May 6-8. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will be offline then as it moves its computers and other equipment to a new home … The move begins 8 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) Friday, May 6, through 8 a.m.Monday, May 9. “The department anticipates that offices will be open to walk-in customers Monday, May 9, but will it not be scheduling appointments in its driver’s license offices May 9-10,” the release said. “Customers who know their driver’s license, identification card or vehicle registration will expire on or before May 10, should visit an office or go online to renew on or before 5 p.m. Friday, May 6, to ensure their license, ID card and/or registration does not expire.” Visit to learn exactly what’s needed. For more information on the move and its effect on HSMV services, call (855) 305-3902.

CLAIMS OF DRINKING, CALLING POLICE PIGS GET JUDGE SUSPENDED via The Associated Press – The court’s order takes effect immediately for Judge Jacqueline Schwartz. She faces a range of possible penalties, including removal from the bench. A Judicial Qualifications Commission investigation found that Schwartz appeared to be impaired March 18 at a Coconut Grove restaurant, where witnesses said she berated waiters and called police “pigs.” The probe also found March 28 Schwartz was drunk on the bench to the point where her bailiff had to drive her home. Schwartz attributed her behavior to a new prescription medication, not alcohol. Schwartz was previously suspended and fined $10,000 for swearing at store clerk over one of her campaign signs.

FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via – As of Tuesday, three new travel-related cases were reported in Miami-Dade County. Of all the cases in Florida, for people are still exhibiting symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. There are now 91 total cases in Florida: Miami-Dade (39), Broward (13), Orange (5), Alachua (4), Lee (4), Osceola (4), Palm Beach (4), Hillsborough (3), Polk (3), Brevard (2) and a single case each in Clay, Collier, Santa Rosa, Seminole and St. John’s and five cases involving pregnant women. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735. Women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant are strongly suggested to postpone travel to Zika affected areas. If you have been to a country with local transmission of Zika, you should abstain from unprotected sex. Florida residents and visitors should protect themselves from all mosquito-borne illnesses by draining standing water; covering their skin with repellent and clothing, and covering windows with screens. Florida currently has the capacity to test 6,697 people for active Zika virus and 1,514 for Zika antibodies. Zika illness is generally mild with a rash, fever, and joint pain. CDC researchers have concluded that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other birth defects. The FDA released guidance regarding donor screening, referral and product management to reduce the risk of transfusion transmission of Zika virus. Additional information is available on the FDA website.

LEGISLATION SIGNED TO SPEED UP SEARCH FOR ZIKA CURE — President Barack Obama signed legislation Tuesday that adds the Zika virus to the Food and Drug Administration’s Tropical Priority Review Voucher Program. The legislation, backed by Sen. Bill Nelson, creates an incentive to drug makers to accelerate their search for a cure. The legislation offers companies that develop a treatment a voucher to expedite the FDA approval process of any other drug the company chooses. “The most effective way to stop the spread of this virus is to find a cure,” said Nelson. “Adding the Zika virus to the FDA’s priority review program will help encourage drug makers to devote the resources needed to develop a treatment as quickly as possible.” Nelson introduced the legislation on Feb. 8. It was approved by the Senate on March 18 and by the House on April 12.


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BEST FOOT FORWARD: COULD KICKER ROBERTO AGUAYO GO IN SECOND ROUND? via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press – Aguayo has tried not to buy into the speculation that he might be the first kicker in 11 years to be selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. But with the draft less than two weeks away, everything is lining up well for the former Florida State kicker. Because of rules changes the past two years and many considering Aguayo to be the most complete kicker to be in the draft in a while, it was no surprise that he became the first kicker since Sebastian Janikowskito forgo his senior year in college. Janikowski, who also went to Florida State, was drafted in the first round (17th overall) by Oakland in 2000. Aguayo said he could see himself going in the second. The previous kicker to go that high was Mike Nugent, who was the 47th overall pick by the New York Jets in 2005. “It would be amazing thing to happen,” Aguayo said. “But I try not to think about it too much. The draft is such a confusing time because of everything that is out there.”

PRO BOWL MAY COME TO ORLANDO BUT NFL WANTS TOURIST TAX MONEY via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising – The NFL is talking to Orlando officials about bringing the Pro Bowl All-Star Game to Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl as early as next year, but the deal could hinge on tourism tax money. And that money is currently being hotly debated because Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and tourism leaders are butting heads about whether now is a really bad (or really good) time to reshuffle how to spend it. Florida Citrus Sports Chief Executive Officer Steve Hogan … warns that there is a narrow window of opportunity to negotiate a deal with the NFL, and it is now. The issue of the tourism development tax, “has severely hampered our ability to secure commitments/assurances needed to finalize a three-year plan with the NFL,” Hogan wrote. “The NFL is in the middle of a 30-day window with Hawaii that allowed them enough cover to work with Orlando. Over the next week or two, a final decision will be made, and it is critical for the NFL to understand what the next three years in Orlando would look like financially.”

HERE’S WHY YOU CAN’T SUCCESSFULLY FOIA PRES. OBAMA’S ‘GAME OF THRONES’ SCREENER via Kelly Hinchcliffe of – The first thing to note: Vanessa [Golembewski, a features writer at the entertainment and lifestyle website Refinery29] didn’t actually file the request with the White House, at least not directly, but with the General Services Administration. And that’s a smart move. Why? The White House is generally exempt from FOIA until 12 years after the president leaves office, thanks to the Presidential Records Act. But the General Services Administration is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and that agency now handles gifts from foreign dignitaries given to the President and other government officials. The unfortunate key word there is “foreign”: If a gift is domestic, the president has wide latitude in how it’s handled, and the record might stay with the White House and outside the grasp of FOIA. So now it comes down to: Is HBO foreign or domestic? The company is headquartered in New York City, but it’s part of multinational conglomerate Time Warner, which is owned by both foreign and domestic investors. Maybe Obama will play it safe and check the videos in with GSA after a weekend binge. If so, the request advances to the next hurdle: What parts are releasable? But Vanessa wants more than a description, she wants the episodes. Now she noted, correctly, that there are a limited set of exemptions, and it’s worth noting that copyright is not a FOIA exemption by itself. Unfortunately, exemption four does cover “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to state House candidate Randy Fine and our friends Bill Rufty and Justin Thames.

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.

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