Monday, January 1, 2018

PAC Money, Dark Money in Sarasota FL

Astonishing half-hour talk by Cathy Antunes tracking the flow of large sums through interlinked PACs in Sarasota County, FL

Cathy Antunes on Dark Money in Sarasota Politics - anonymous PACs whose sole function is to funnel money into the campaigns of politicians who serve the interests of developers, builders, contractors. Antunes explores the relation of their interests to Charter Schools who spend 40% of their revenues on rent paid to real estate groups from whom they lease their school buildings.

At the center lies Eric Robinson, whose accounting firm channels money at the behest of big donors like Pat Neal, James Gabbert (waste plant at Celery Fields), Rex Jensen (Lakewood Ranch), Gary Kompothecras (Siesta Key), Benderson Development and Carlos Beruff. It also earns rather hefty fees for its "consulting" work, notes Antunes.

The money flows from these developers to PACs run by an elected official (Robinson is on the Sarasota County School Board) to Republican political campaigns. A former head of the Republican Party in Sarasota, Bob Waechter, is active in finding malleable candidates for the County Commission, School Board, Hospital Board, Charter Review Board and other races.

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