Over the week, Huffington Post political writer Paul Blumenthal wrote a piece on how State Rep. Matt Gaetz’s former PACs, Economic Freedom Foundation and Free Enterprise Fund, funneled contributions to his Congressional campaign after he resigned as their heads.
Cris Dosev, who is also running for the GOP Congressional nomination, brought the issue up last month at the Walton Republican Women Federated Forum last month and used the Huffington Post article in an email soliciting campaign contributions over the weekend. The subject line was: “Help me end big money in politics.”
Gaetz led the two political action committees from 2013 to March 18 of this year. On March 21, he announced his candidacy. In May, the two PACs, then headed by Amanda Clark, filed papers with the Florida Division of Elections to formally terminate operations on May 26. Then on June 20, they contributed their remaining funds to North Florida Neighbors, a federally registered super PAC – $369,008 donation from the Economic Freedom Foundation and a $11,306 contribution from the Free Enterprise Fund.
North Florida Neighbors has supported the Congressional campaigns of Gaetz in District 1 and Neal Dunn in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. The PAC has given the Gaetz campaign $292,262.
The point in question is federal coordination rules prohibit any entity controlled by a candidate from making independent expenditures on their behalf. However, such coordination may be difficult to prove. Blumenthal also admits stretching the rule to cover contributions from a leadership PAC controlled or directed by a candidate to a super PAC supporting that candidate is untested.
Dosev isn’t waiting for the “test” result.
In his mailer, he wrote, “I am running a grassroots campaign of dedicated volunteers and supporters. With your generous donation I will win this election and defeat big money politicians, who go to Washington to fight for special interests rather than their constituents.”