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John Thrasher denies lobbying for testing firms

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From The St. Augustine Record: Two out-of-state companies that offer education testing paid a lobbying firm where state Sen. John Thrasher was a partner between $60,000 and $190,000 over a two-year period, state records indicate.

During the current legislative session, Thrasher, a St. Augustine Republican, sponsored Senate Bill 6, which, among other things, would have required school districts to develop or acquire end-of-course assessment tests.

After drawing stiff criticism from educators and teachers’ unions, the bill was vetoed Thursday by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Thrasher left the lobbying firm, Southern Strategy, in 2009 and has denied personally lobbying on behalf of the testing companies.

“I never had any connection to (the testing companies),” he said. “I was bought out last May and don’t even have any connection with them anymore.”

The companies — Ohio-based IQ Innovations and New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service — say the lobbying Southern Strategy did on their behalf was unrelated to Thrasher’s bill.

IQ Innovations paid between $60,000 and $150,000 to Southern Strategy in 2008 and 2009, and Educational Testing Service paid the firm between $4 and $40,000 over the same period, according to state compensation reports. Lobbying firms are only required to report a range of payments received from clients. Continue reading here.

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.

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