Monday, May 19, 2014

Moneyball in Miami Dade County Elections … by gimleteye and Geniusofdespair

Notice how FPL attempts to influence political outcomes. Because the barn doors were blown of the hinges on campaign contributions by the Bush Supreme Court, there is nothing that prohibits corporations from filling campaign war chests to whatever dollar value they choose.

Nominally, there are still limits for individual contributions by corporations ("corporations are people, too"), but in fact corporations like FPL with major regulatory issues that require approval by either politicians or their appointees (to places like the Public Utilities Commission in the state or Nuclear Regulatory Commission in DC) are able to funnel unlimited amounts through dark channels, hidden from public view.

Corporations make contributions that require public disclosure -- like this one by FPL to a political committee -- for only one reason: to make an impression.

The impression, here, is that Jorge Lopez swings the FPL bat. So when Jorge Lopez cruises by, he might as well have big decal affixed to his lapel: "I represent FPL and if you don't do what I want you to, I can't protect you from FPL's wrath."

Of course, FPL has to be careful. Its strategy, when it is too obvious or blatant like the city elections in South Miami has backfired. There, Jorge Lopez et al. attempted the kinds of dirty tricks that finally repulse voters. South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard is strongly supported by voters because he opposes the FPL leviathan.

Now the county commission data for campaign contributions, released recently, demonstrate other phenomena. A few jump out. For example, with no opposition Pepe Diaz and Jean Monestine (first time incumbent) have raised a ton of money. "Thank you's".

The advantage of incumbency is clear.

The money comes, of course, mainly from special interests who do business with the county. We haven't checked with a fine tooth comb if all the contributions are "legal". We find, sometimes, that contributors have so little regard for campaign finance limits that they will write multiple checks from the same account or even from defunct businesses.

The only hotly contested race is the race for county commission District 8 where incumbent Lynda Bell faces Daniella Levine Cava. That's the one to watch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I think you are wrong when it comes to only the County races being under the influence of FPL. At least 2 municipalities have candidates who are under their spell. The FPL properties in Palmetto Bay just sold, yes there is more than one property owned by FPL that has sold. The word is that FPL is getting rid of the 2 women on the Council because they aren't friendly to developers. According to my source, by putting their candidates on the Council the FPL properties can then be developed to the highest and best use with no conditions.

Drat those conditions; density, traffic controls, buffers, height, etc. Anyone hear from Paradise Point, Kings Bay or the HOA's along 67 Ave.? FPL is still your neighbor, maybe not a good one.