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Dark-money committee attacking Ron DeSantis on Orlando TV

A dark-money committee that has been attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis for months with radio and cable commercials is now going after him on broadcast TV, with a $200,000 buy on Orlando broadcast TV stations.

The National Liberty Federation, a 501(4) organization based in Palm Beach Gardens, began running commercials on broadcast TV Tuesday in Orlando and reportedly in other markets, charging that the Republican U.S. Rep. DeSantis has missed numerous important votes in Congress involving immigrants, but voted for an amnesty bill.

DeSantis’ campaign responded Wednesday that the claims in the spot are ‘lies” and counter charging that DeSantis’ opponent in the August 28 Republican gubernatorial primary, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, is the one supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

The National Liberty Federation’s sources of money, are unreported, though Politico and the Tampa Bay Times both have reported it has close ties to Florida’s sugar industry, which is unhappy with DeSantis’s congressional votes on sugar subsidies.

Federal Communication Commission records show that the group has purchased $239,000 worth of time, through Sunday, on Orlando’s top three television stations.

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“This is another lie from the same special interest group who’s been lying about Ron DeSantis for months,” DeSantis’ spokesman David Vasquez stated in a written response. “The record on immigration is clear and simple, Adam Putnam has stood against E-verify and he supported amnesty for illegal immigrants to help his special interest friends. Ron DeSantis has never supported amnesty and Florida voters aren’t falling for these fake news attack ads.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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