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While Jeb Bush calls for lobbying reforms, American Bridge blasts his economic record in Tally

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In a speech later today he’s scheduled to give at Florida State University, Jeb Bush will say that if elected president, he will use all of his influence to enact into law a six-year ban on lobbying for ex-members of the House and Senate.

The former Florida Governor returns to the state capitol to give a speech on government reform at 10 a.m. on the FSU campus, and according to the Washington Examiner, he observed as governor how lobbyists and legislators grew too comfortable in each’s other company, “cutting deals that didn’t have much to do with the public interest.” He will then go into detail on some of the lobbying reforms that he signed in office, and even before he took office.

 “As governor, we ended the practice of lawmakers accepting gifts from lobbyists, ” Bush will say. “The reforms I signed also required lobbyists to disclose information about their clients, their expenses, and their compensation – so the public would know who they were working for.”

But while he’s speaking how he can bring those reforms to Washington D.C., he’s being attacked by American Bridge, the Democratic opposition research political action committee – as well as the fact that he’s speaking on the FSU campus.

In a memo penned by the group’s Jessica Meckler entitled, “Jeb says he’ll climb mountains but drove Florida towards a cliff,”  the press release blasts Bush, and quotes  University of Florida economist Dave Denslow saying, “Jeb’s Florida fails as a model for the nation.”

American Bridge says this of Bush’s eight years in Tallahassee:

  • The job growth Bush will tout was driven by construction and real estate jobs in the housing bubble, which peaked in his last year in office.
  • Three-fifths of the job creation under Bush was erased in the four years after he left office. As a result, Florida plunged into a recession even deeper than the one experienced nationally.
  • The $19 billion in tax cuts Bush pushed through primarily benefitted the wealthy and businesses.
  • Florida had one of the highest costs of doing business in the country when Bush left.

The release includes hyperlinks to stories in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal quoting economists saying that Florida’s growth in the Bush years was led by the housing bubble, and wasn’t sustainable.

There are also numerous links referring to Florida State University’s relationship with the Koch Brothers. It’s been well reported that in 2007 when the Charles Koch Foundation considered giving millions of dollars to Florida State University’s economics department, the offer came with strings attached.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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