As I've been reporting, there is a legal battle brewing in Florida around Amendment 2, the so-called "Marriage Protection" Amendment. And now they will have their day in court.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mary Barzee Flores has granted the request of Florida Red & Blue, the group behind the SayNo2 Campaign to defeat Amendment 2, for a hearing to require the sponsors of Amendment 2 (Florida4Marriage) to disclose the donors to the non-profit Florida Family Action and for an immediate halt to advertising paid for with these secret, illegal funds. The hearing will take place Monday, November 3 at 4:00 p.m.
The hearing will look into the illegally shielded campaign donations of Florida4Marriage that were funneled through a non-profit organization called "Florida Family Action", which was created by John Stemberger (who also runs the campaign for Amendment 2). Based on public finance reports filed yesterday, 55 percent of all spending in support of Amendment 2 - more than $1.1 million in total - comes from donors being illegally shielded from the public by the "yes" on Amendment 2 campaign through purposefully funneled money.
Much more after the jump...
From Florida Red & Blue:
Florida election laws require entities which raise funds to support or oppose election issues to register as political committees and disclose all donors. Florida Family Action has done neither while donations from Florida Family Action total more than 55 percent of total spending in support of Amendment 2. According to reports filed October 31 with the Florida Division of Elections, Florida Family Action spent $343,000 from secret donors over the past 19 days to support Amendment 2 while the Florida4Marriage.org campaign, a separate registered political committee and official sponsor of Amendment 2, spent just $140,000 from donors whose names are public.
Public disclosures indicate Florida Family Action has used secret funding to directly pay for more than $450,000 in advertising in support of Amendment 2. Some of these ads appear to mislead voters by improperly identifying the sponsoring entity as Florida4Marriage.org, not Florida Family Action - another serious elections law violation.
I posted the emails from Stemberger- obtained exclusively by Bilerico-Florida- in my previous post, which laid out the proof of these deliberate money funneling activities. In these emails, Stemberger advised donors they could support Amendment 2 by making "confidential" gifts to Florida Family Action instead of "public" gifts to the campaign, skirting campaign finance reporting laws.
Stemberger even admitted in an interview that he was shielding donors for fear of "intimidation from opponents."
Derek Newton, Campaign Manager for Florida Red & Blue, had this to say:
We're delighted a legal authority is going to look at what's going on. More than a million dollars has now been illegally and intentionally hidden from the public to buy an election. Voters have a right to know who's behind this.
I couldn't agree more. We deserve to know where over 1 million dollars in dirty money has come from. And those people should be prepared for our community and its allies to take notice.