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Annual lobbyist conference starts today in Tampa

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists‘ 11th annual conference kicks off later this week in Tampa. This year’s conference runs Wednesday-Friday at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay on Bayport Drive. The keynote speaker, however, is still in flux after the planned headliner had to cancel because of a last-minute scheduling conflict, executive director Mark Landreth said. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, was going to talk on “Making America Secure in the 21st Century.” The military command is responsible for security…

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Richard Corcoran’s fiery speech inspires new ‘Gucci Loafing’ Twitter account

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House Appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran singled out healthcare lobbyists in Tallahassee during his closing remarks on the House budget on Thursday calling them “Gucci-loafing, shoe-wearing special interest powers.” Well, someone had a sense of humor because within hours there was a Twitter account under the name “Gucci Loafing.” The profile picture, of course, was a pair of Gucci loafers. The background shot was the fourth-floor rotunda. And the profile description read “I’m just a pair of Gucci loafers loafin’ here on…

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The week that was in Florida politics

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At the end of the first week of the 2015 legislative session, the capital city’s newspaper printed an editorial cartoon that compared lobbyists to great white sharks. The cartoon asks which species pose a greater threat to Floridians; paid advocates or jaws. Psychologists tell us we see what we know and what we know influences how we think, which affects what we see. It wouldn’t be fair to say the cartoonist provided insight to his view of the world when…

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Deveron Gibbons raised 21K from lobbyists

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Deveron Gibbons’ impressive fundraising effort — 115K for the 1st Quarter — is quite a haul. But if you take a look at the actual report, there is a lot of information that may end up hurting Gibbons. The first issue that strikes me is not how much money he raised from out-of-town donors, but the fact that he raised more than $21,600 from lobbyists (and their spouses), political action committees, and governmental affairs firm and law offices which lobby.…

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Monday’s Mayoral Wrap-up

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

The first fundraising deadline came and went last week and all of the major campaigns (I’ll get to that distinction in a moment) are still holding their collective breaths, waiting to see each others’ numbers. Of course, the local media is ready to write their horserace stories about which pony got out of the gate fastest. And yet, the same media that bemoans the presence of so much money in politics can’t help but write article after article about nothing…

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The first thing to do: Improve the lobbyist disclosure law

in Statewide by

If there is one aspect of Florida’s campaign finance laws that does not benefit big business and its lapdogs in the Legislature, it is laws requiring the Division of Elections to provide an Internet-based disclosure system that details “who gives what.” By visiting the Division’s site and scrolling down to the Candidates and Committees section, any Floridian with computer access can see who gave what to which candidate, and how much. You can pull up all the candidates for a…

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Watchdogs fear lobbyists will devise new ways to undermine gift-ban for legislators

in Peter/Statewide by

Secretive fund-raising committees controlled by state legislators and fueled with money from business and special interests are being scrutinized as a likely legal payment method for buying legislators’ lunches and a whole lot more. I don’t even know if I want to comment on this issue other than to say, “Of course.” The gift-ban, however noble, is nothing more than window dressing.

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