Where did the money come from? That’s the question being asked about a Republican Attorney General candidate and his campaign finances.
A complaint filed with the Florida Elections Commission this week casts doubt on the legality of the self-financing of candidate Frank White.
The White campaign asserts there’s nothing to the complaint, which they deem a political stunt.
White, a Pensacola state representative, has given his campaign $2.75 million in recent months. Raymond Mazzie of Tallahassee (best known for a quixotic write-in campaign for Senate downstate in 2016) wonders where White got the cash.
Mazzie’s complaint cites White’s 2015 and 2016 financial disclosures, noting that to have made the first $1.5 million contribution to his campaign, he would have had to “liquidate more than 50 percent of his personal assets” as White had only $57,040 on hand as of the 2016 filing.
White’s spokeswoman, Erin Isaac, claimed White’s wife contributed the money from a stock dividend, which also raises questions. The contribution of $1.5 million was 50 times over the legal limit.
A second cash infusion of $1.25 million deepened the complainant’s concern. To come up with the total $2.75 million, White would have had to liquidate all of his personal assets and come up with $285,000 from somewhere.
The complaint then cites White’s 2018 Form 6, which reflected a worth of $4.327 million (minus the $1.25 million check, which had not cleared). The complainant’s concern: “Nothing in his income sworn to his Form 6 explains how White was able to contribute more than his net worth to his campaign without reducing his assets in the last 17 months.”
“Instead, the Form 6 shows an infusion of cash into Frank White’s personal accounts other than from Frank White’s income or investments,” the complaint contends.
The complaint cites case law asserting that money from family members is still subject to contribution limits ($3,000 in state races), going on to say that there is probable cause to question the source of the $2.75 million White dropped into his own campaign, and a “reasonable ground of suspicion that he obtained the money for the purposes of influencing an election.”
These “contributions from indirect sources,” according to the complaint, evidence a “violation … knowingly or willfully made.”
On behalf of White, Erin Isaac offered a statement.
“It’s a shame that Ashley Moody would attempt to manipulate the legal process for political gain. This is the first we are seeing of this alleged complaint from the press, so the intent is purely political, and not legal,” Isaac asserted.
“When desperate candidates like Ashley Moody are down in the polls and stalling in fundraising, they roll out the old stand-by: an elections complaint with bogus accusations. It’s pretty clear, Ashley Moody’s taxpayer-funded campaign is in turmoil, incapable of defending her abhorrent record of being soft on child predators, suing Donald Trump and supporting pro-abortion democrats,” Isaac added.
“Once again, Ashley Moody has demonstrated that she places her own liberal opinion over that of the law and believes she knows better. It’s sad,” Isaac said.