Marco Rubio – Page 4 – Florida Politics

Marco Rubio pushes Ricardo Rosselló to ask FEMA for help with displaced Puerto Ricans

The cold war between Sen. Marco Rubio and Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló continued Thursday, with an offer from Rubio to help with a sight subtext of questioning Rosselló’s competence.

A week after chiding Rosselló for spending too much time in Florida while the island territory continued to struggle with power restoration, Rubio offered “assistance” to Rosselló in dealing with a FEMA request.

In a letter to Rosselló designed to ensure that Puerto Ricans get the relief services they are entitled to as Americans, the senator observed that “federal resources require formal requests from a governor following a natural disaster.”

Formal requests that hadn’t been made, months after the storm.

“As you know, Florida has opened its schools, hospitals and housing facilities to the estimated 200,000 Puerto Ricans who have arrived in the state since Hurricane Maria made landfall in September. While our state and local governments are ready and willing to assist, their resources are limited after a devastating Atlantic hurricane season,” Rubio wrote.

“The federal government has the programs and resources necessary to supplement our local governments,” Rubio added, “but many of these programs require formal requests from the Puerto Rico government.”

Rubio urged Rosselló to ask for help via the FEMA Direct Lease program, which offers temporary housing … pending Rosselló “formally making this request.”

Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson renew push for nuclear carrier to Mayport

In a letter Thursday, Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson petitioned President Donald Trump to authorize funding in the 2019 budget to bring a nuclear carrier to Mayport.

A nuclear carrier has long been on the wishlist of Northeast Florida stakeholders, even as the Navy itself put the brakes on adding a nuclear carrier in Mayport (citing “fiscal constraints”) to complement one at Norfolk, per the Florida Times-Union in September.

The debate is one of dispersing resources — spawning a Florida position — or concentrating them in Virginia.

“The security, availability, and redundancy of our aircraft carrier fleet is critical to our national security in light of the increased global security threats,” assert Rubio and Nelson.

“In 2009, the U.S. Navy officially announced its decision to homeport a CVN at Mayport, and the DOD’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense review supported the Navy’s decision. Then Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead testified, “a catastrophic event … has the potential to severely limit East Coast Carrier operations,” as justification for its inclusion in the DOD’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and the U.S. Navy Fiscal Year 2011 budget,” the senators note, adding that despite this justification, no move has been made to fulfill the ask.

“Naval Station Mayport is an ideal location because it offers a strategic and operational value that enhances our national security posture. We strongly recommend you fund the necessary improvements at Naval Station Mayport to include construction of nuclear propulsion maintenance facilities and a parking structure in your FY19 Presidential Budget,” the senators continued.

This push is not new.

In 2017, Florida’s congressional delegation pushed for a Mayport carrier, but that push was for naught.

Northeast Florida has suffered another setback of late, being passed up for F-35s late last year.

With another round of Base Realignment and Closure Commission imminent, the Jacksonville area has to wonder if more bad news is coming.

Majority of Florida Delegation demands clarity on White House offshore drilling position

Both of Florida’s U.S. senators and 22 of its House members are in a dither over mixed signals on offshore oil drilling from Washington.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke assured Gov. Rick Scott that Florida was “off the table” earlier this month.

Soon, Zinke’s position was undercut by Ocean Energy Management Acting Director Walter Cruickshank’s telling the House Natural Resources Committee that areas off Florida’s coast are still under consideration.

With inchoate policy guidance from the Executive Branch, Florida legislators demanded answers Wednesday from the Donald Trump administration in a letter.

“In light of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Acting Director Walter Cruickshank’s recent statement before the House Natural Resources Committee that the Planning Areas off Florida’s coasts are still under consideration for offshore drilling, we write to reiterate our strong opposition to any attempt to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling,” the lawmakers wrote. “We object to any efforts to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to drilling, and we urge you to remove this area from the five-year plan immediately.”

The letter notes that these areas have been off limits since 2006, and that since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, local and regional stakeholders and leaders have been adamant in opposition.

The letter also cites the “critical” nature of the Eastern Gulf Test and Training range for training missions for F-22 and F-35 pilots. And on the eastern side, facilities like Patrick Air Force Base, Kennedy Space Center, and the Jacksonville Naval Air Station would be impacted.

Some Florida politicians — notably, Scott — took Zinke at his word, even after the Cruickshank remarks became news.

“Secretary Zinke is a man of his word. He’s a Navy Seal. He promised me that Florida would be off the table, and I believe Florida is off the table,” Scott said.

“Secretary Zinke has made a commitment,” Scott added, “and he’ll live up to his commitments.”

However, Sen. Bill Nelson, who will likely face Scott in his re-election contest this year, called Zinke’s declaration and Scott’s trumpeting thereof a “political stunt.”

Joining Sens. Nelson and Marco Rubio signing the letter: Reps. Stephanie MurphyTed DeutchIleana Ros-LehtinenKathy CastorAlcee HastingsVern BuchananVal DemingsDebbie Wasserman SchultzFrederica WilsonDarren SotoBill PoseyAl LawsonGus BilirakisLois FrankelBrian MastCharlie CristJohn RutherfordRon DeSantisDennis RossFrancis RooneyNeal Dunn, and Matt Gaetz.

Survey: Bill Nelson’s approval best among senators running in swing states

While Florida polls have shown head-to-head match-ups with Gov. Rick Scott appear tight for the 2018 election, Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson may find re-election confidence in a survey released Wednesday by Morning Consult that shows he’s got the best net-approval ratings of any senator running in a swing state this year.

The survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2017, was summarized in Morning Consult’s piece “America’s Most and Least Popular Senators” finding that Nelson has a 51 percent approval rating in Florida, and a 26 percent disapproval rating, meaning a net approval of 25 points, by far the best of any senator up for re-election this year in a tight state.

The article, published late Tuesday, also noted that compared with last year Nelson has lost only two points on his net approval by the fourth quarter, a better year than 10 of the other 11 senators running this year for vulnerable seats. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, had no net change, but retained only a nine-point net approval. All the others lost at least four points on their approvals. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, had the next-best approval rating among the vulnerable, an 18-point spread between Buckeye voters who approve and those who don’t.

Ten of the eleven senators highlighted for seeking re-election in what Morning Consult defined as swing states are Democrats.

Morning Consult reported it surveyed 253,393 registered U.S. voters from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. Margins of error varied depending upon the states; Morning Consult reported a margin of error of just 1 percent for its ratings of Florida’s senators.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio got an approval rating of 47 percent and a disapproval rating of 37 percent.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, was the most-popular back home, with a 68 percent approval and just 24 percent disapproval. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was the least-popular with 32 percent of Bluegrass voters approving, and 53 percent disapproving.

Marco Rubio says any plan on DACA can’t be a product of a ‘gang’

Marco Rubio believes an agreement in Congress to protect approximately 780,000 undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can and should happen.

But Florida’s junior U.S. Senator also warns that such a deal shouldn’t be the product of a “gang” of senators as it was with the group he was a part of for comprehensive immigration reform the Senate passed in 2013.

Appearing Monday on Fox and Friends, Rubio said any legislation would have to include funding to build a wall for border security and a need to find “some permanent status” for those currently in DACA.

“That is the deal. What has complicated it is people come forward and say ‘Well, I want citizenship,’ which Republicans and even the president has expressed an openness to but only if you deal with chain migration,” Rubio said.

Chain migration is a term used first by demographers in the mid-1960s to describe the process of allowing legal immigrants to petition for their parents, adult brothers and sisters and adult sons and daughters to come to the U.S.

Republican Senators Tom Cotton from Arkansas and David Perdue from Georgia have introduced legislation that would reform chain migration and create a point system to evaluate potential immigrants based on factors such as age, education, professional skills and English proficiency.

Rubio said that if Democrats want to talk about a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, then a debate about chain migration has to be on the table. But he said that Democrats have to understand that such a deal won’t happen until they agree to authorize funding to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

“The president has expressed a willingness to do it, but it’s important for Democrats to understand: nothing is going to happen unless we can figure out a way to permanently fund the wall and the enforcement that the president wants, and that the vast majority of Americans and myself included, support,” Rubio said.

Rubio added that progress can happen quickly on the issue, “but it cannot be a product of a gang of four or five people meeting somewhere, putting a bill on the floor, and saying ‘take it or leave it.'”

“I was part of an effort like that in 2013, I see others are trying to do it now. It won’t work. This issue is too critical to too many people to be a product of a small group and a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.”

Rubio was a crucial part of the “Gang of 8” that passed a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013. The bill was attacked by conservative media, and then-Speaker John Boehner refused to put the bill up for a vote in the House.

Tea Party groups protested Rubio’s support for the bill as well, and he began backing away from it almost immediately after its passage in the Senate. While running for president two years ago, he said at a campaign stop that the bill “was not headed toward becoming law,” telling a questioner in Rock Hill, South Carolina, that “ideally it was headed toward the House, where conservative members of the House were going to make it even better.”

Rubio’s appearance on Fox took place just a few hours before the Senate was scheduled to vote on legislation that would reopen the government by extending funding until Feb. 8. It would also extend the low-income children’s health insurance program, CHIP, for six years and suspend some taxes under the Affordable Care Act. It does not include any legislative fix addressing those in the DACA program.

It’ll be magic if Joe Negron succeeds with new Lake O reservoir land buy

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations committee heard a presentation from South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Ernie Marks on the status report of the reservoir project authorized by Senate Bill 10.

Following the presentation, Appropriations Chair and Senate Bill 10 sponsor Rob Bradley expressed confidence in the district’s plans. But following the meeting, Senate President Joe Negron told reporters he is still planning to seek another 4,000 to 5,000 acres of land before the end of Session.

Why would the Senate president make these comments when the district says it has the land it needs, the chair is happy, and the project appears to be on schedule?

Negron’s comments come following a picture coming into focus that leaves little room for land buying, particularly taking more agricultural land out of production, which is a pillar of Florida’s economy.

In January of last year, Bradley first filed SB 10 — a bill that (at one point) called for the purchase of nearly 60,000 acres of working farmland south of Lake O.

It didn’t take long for questions to arise about how the state of Florida would buy this private farmland, warning it would adversely affect those living the region.

Among the first sounding the alarm about “eminent domain” was Marco Rubio.

“What about the people that live in those communities? What about Pahokee, what about those cities in the Glades communities that are going to get wiped out,” Florida’s junior senator told a blogger in April 2017. “If you buy up all that farmland, that means there’s no farming, that means these cities collapse, they basically turning ghost towns. Shouldn’t they be at the table? Shouldn’t they be part of this conversation as well?”

Soon afterward, an overwhelming bipartisan Senate majority revised SB 10, stripping the controversial provision that would have bought the 60K acres of privately-held farmland.

The last version of SB 10 — which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law that May, and was applauded by environmentalists such as the Everglades Foundation — prohibited the use of eminent domain.

According to comments today from Marks, more than 80 percent of the large landowners south of Lake Okeechobee are not selling. Glades farmers are steadfastly against losing valuable, productive agricultural land.

Also, the coming budget crunch following Hurricane Irma doesn’t lend itself to land grabs.

And there’s also the fact that this Florida Senate has little appetite for another bruising debate over land buying in an election year.

Finally, any deviation from the district’s schedule could delay the reservoir project — possibly for years.

Bottom line: this ship has sailed.

I have always maintained that President Negron is a true statesman, and this may be a moment showing the Stuart Republican cares more about the people in his district rather than the people in the Florida Senate — an admirable trait in any elected official.

But if Negron has any intentions of squeezing an acre of private land out under these circumstances, he’s more than a statesman. He’s a magician.

Marco Rubio bill says ‘nyet’ to foreign interference in American elections

Sen. Marco Rubio often trumpets his bipartisan legislation, and his latest bill — co-introduced with Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen — is no exception.

The so-called DETER Act (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines) Act would impose what are called “severe consequences” for foreign actors who interfere with American candidates, campaigns, or voting infrastructure.

With many people concluding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, this bill is intended to ensure that such interference doesn’t happen again — either from Russia or other potential state malefactors, such as China, North Korea, and Iran.

The bill requires the Director of National Intelligence to report on whether or not there has been foreign interference in federal elections within a month after the vote. Such interference could range from online ads and gaming social media to hacking election websites.

The bill targets Russia specifically, advancing what Rubio’s office calls “severe sanctions” that include financial sanctions and blocking Russian political figures and oligarchs from entering the U.S.

As well, the Executive Branch would be required to coordinate further sanctions with the European Union.

“We cannot be a country where foreign intelligence agencies attempt to influence our political process without consequences,” said Senator Rubio. “This bill will help to ensure the integrity of our electoral process by using key national security tools to dissuade foreign powers from meddling in our elections.”

The Senate co-sponsors outlined the case in a Washington Post editorial Tuesday.

“We cannot underscore enough the urgency of this issue. In less than a year, Americans will head to the ballot box for the midterm elections. Our next presidential election will be here before we know it. It is unrealistic to think we can simply sit back and hope that we do not face another attack by a hostile foreign power.”

Sparks fly as Philip Levine spars with Gwen Graham campaign

Campaigns for two major candidates competing for Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination traded verbal jabs Thursday.

Former Tallahassee Congresswoman Gwen Graham has been the early leader in the four-person field, but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine declared it’s now becoming a two-person race.

That left the Graham camp feeling “threatened” by the challenge, Levine claimed in a radio interview.

The war of words began the day before when Levine appeared in Tallahassee Wednesday as part of his statewide “Live! from Florida’s Living Room”  bus tour.

Levine boasted his background in the private sector, where he became a multimillionaire in the cruise-ship media industry.

“The fact that I’ve had that weird thing in my background called a job, the fact that I’ve actually done something with my life outside the public sector is probably a big differentiator,” he said, as first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat. “I’m a person who started with $500 and a pocketful of dreams, built some companies, employed hundreds of people if not thousands, and then I gave back and became a successful, two-term mayor of Miami Beach.”

Graham worked in the private sector as an attorney before focusing on starting a family and raising three children. She later volunteered to serve on her children’s school advisory board and as PTA president, then working for the local school district.

Graham, daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham, ran for political office for the first time in 2014, capturing the Republican-leaning congressional district seat. After redistricting, she stepped down from the position in 2016.

Her campaign did not take kindly to Levine’s remarks; former USF President and state legislator Betty Castor — a Graham supporter — fired back.

“Philip Levine can lecture women on what it means to have a job and ‘do something’ with your life after he raises three children while volunteering at their schools and working 50 hours a week,” Castor said in a statement Thursday from Graham’s campaign.

“Not only does Levine not have the facts straight, his view that motherhood is anything less than a full-time job is exactly the kind of tone-deaf attitude we already see out of too many politicians in DC and Tallahassee.”

“Real Floridians know you don’t have to be a CEO or sell a company to contribute to your community. Working mothers, PTA presidents, teachers and public school officials perform some of the most important jobs in our state.”

If Graham’s campaign thought that would chill out Levine Thursday, they were mistaken.

“I think Gwen … thought this crown was going to be passed to her because of her brand name and she somehow was going to inherit the governorship of Florida,” he said on WMNF 88.5- FM.

Levine didn’t stop there: “My background is one of an entrepreneur and not a politician. I’m someone who ran for mayor and became a mayor twice. And in my background, I’ve created a lot of jobs, and I think that’s very important to the American people. I’m sorry that Betty Castor wants to play politics with such an important issue, and I’m sorry that Gwen Graham feels so threatened.”

About a new poll published Thursday by the Florida Chamber Political Institute — which shows him trailing Graham by seven points — the mayor said the comment from Castor showed Graham was “not happy with the polling numbers.”

(An overwhelming majority of those surveyed did not have an opinion about the Governor’s race.)

The Miami Beach Democrat openly flirted with the idea of running for governor as a political independent at one point last year, calling himself a “radical centrist.” Add to that the fact he gave a political contribution to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio at one point might have some Democrats questioning his Party loyalty.

Levine is having none of it, saying that he’s given “well over” a million dollars to the Democratic Party over the years, and “raised billions.”

“A tiny $2,000, $3,000 donation to somebody on the other side I think is kind of irrelevant at this point,” he said.

Then, Levine attacked Graham for standing by idly during the 2016 presidential campaign while he was regularly making media and campaign appearances on behalf of Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign.

“She was thinking about herself during Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Levine charged. “She was thinking about how she wanted to become governor.  She was nowhere to be found. You know where I was? I was on television every single channel including Fox, making sure doing everything I could as Hillary’s surrogate so the Democratic Party would win the presidency. So, I think when it comes to being a Democrat, it’s not just saying it; it’s actually doing it.”

Graham spokesman Matt Harringer disputed that allegation, saying, “Gwen Graham worked very hard for Hillary Clinton, speaking at local Democratic Executive Committees across the state.”

Orlando area businessman Chris King and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum round out the Democratic field for governor. In the Florida Chamber poll, Gillum was a close third at 6 percent.

Later in the afternoon, Graham added to the crossfire.

“Having just finished my 49th Workday, working alongside personnel in the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, I just have so much respect for the working women and men of Florida — in both the private and public sectors,” she said. “Their work isn’t measured merely by the size of their wallets or the zeros in their bank accounts, but by the skills and dedication, they contribute to Florida every day.

“There’s no ‘inheritance’ in any campaign and there are no ‘titles’ that matter. The only thing that matters are the millions of hard-working Floridians and the pure inspiration found in the example they set.”

Later in the afternoon, Graham tweeted out photos of her most recent Workday with the Volusia Sheriffs, writing: “‘Real jobs,’ folks.” #Respect

Mona Mangat: Marco Rubio, you failed Florida kids once. Here’s your chance to make amends.

Just recently, in the midst of cold and flu season, a young asthmatic patient of mine who works in the fast food industry walked into my office barely able to breathe. She couldn’t speak. We quickly worked to open up her airways, and the story she then shared was chilling. She had stopped her maintenance asthma medications two months earlier because the out-of-pocket cost was too high, and she prioritized her child’s medications over her own.

She had been sick for two days but willed herself to go to work where, upon entering a freezer, her lungs immediately seized up.

Children, families and parents like my patient are caught in the crosshairs of the Republican tax and budget overhaul that will shift trillions in tax breaks to the rich and corporations while forcing health care cuts and higher taxes on working families. At the same time, the health care of millions of children hangs in the balance as their families wait to see if Congress will provide long-term stability to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

After letting funding dwindle for months since its expiration in October, congressional Republicans relied on their standard answer for issues like this; they kicked the can down the road by only funding the program through March. But children and their families need full funding soon. They cannot spend several more months like they spent the last few — wondering if their children will get the care they needed.

And they need a real champion in Washington, D.C. — not just someone who pays lip service only to turn his back when families need him the most. Sen. Marco Rubio recently tried to claim the title of children’s champion, making headlines when he demanded improvements to the tax bill’s Children’s Tax Credit (CTC) in exchange for his vote. But that was grandstanding with little substance.

With just minor tweaks, Rubio voted for the Senate bill despite the fact that 26 million families would get only a token share of the credit and 4 million immigrant children of taxpaying parents would face new restrictions.

Recently, Rubio admitted that the deal he agreed to was lackluster, “probably” helps corporations too much, and won’t result in significant economic growth. This isn’t the first time Rubio has been caught showboating and pretending to be a fighter for families, and unfortunately, it’s hard to say that it will be the last.

But now Senator Rubio has an opportunity to stand up for many of the same kids the CTC leaves behind by becoming a vocal champion for CHIP and demanding that the same senators who pressured him into voting for the tax package provide families with certainty and ensure their kids will have the health care coverage they need.

Without CHIP reauthorization, 215,000 kids in Florida will be kicked off the insurance rolls. Failing to champion the reauthorization of CHIP is morally reprehensible, and Florida won’t forgive Rubio if he fails families again.

For me, this isn’t about a win for any particular party, it’s about taking care of my patients. Patients should never have to choose between purchasing their medications or their kids.’ Doctors like me stood up to speak out against this tax bill because we know it will hurt our patients, and we are demanding that CHIP be reauthorized because we know they can’t get the care they need without it.

It would have been refreshing to see Sen. Rubio stand up for his constituents during the tax debate but instead, he folded like he too often does. Florida voters won’t forget this latest publicity stunt from Rubio or his many votes to take away our health care, but agreeing to move CHIP forward would be a step in the right direction.


Dr. Mona Mangat is an allergist and immunologist in St. Petersburg and former Board Chair of Doctors for America.

Philip Levine: Check to Marco Rubio ‘tiny’ compared with long, deep Democratic support

There’s that Sept. 30, 2009, check to the U.S. Senate campaign of former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio:

It’s the $2,400 contribution to a Republican who then was seen as the darling of Florida’s Tea Party movement, an upstart whose explosive popularity on the right chased Charlie Crist from the Grand Old Party and made Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek a third-place finisher in 2010.

It’s the bank draft from Miami Beach businessman Philip Levine, who then was the future mayor of that city and who now is one of the leading Democratic candidates for governor in the 2018 election.

Privately, some Democrats have been whispering wonder about whether Levine’s erstwhile support of Rubio in 2009 reflected at all on his commitment to the Florida Democratic Party.

“Nope. Not at all. Zero,” Levine insisted in Orlando Tuesday when asked about whether that contribution meant he harbored an interest in Rubio or for what he stands.

“I have written millions of dollars to the Democratic Party, and that was just one small, tiny donation,” Levine said. “Friends of mine called me up and asked me for it, and I said ‘yes.’

“But he’s been a disappointment, and I’m not a supporter or a believer in any way, shape or imagination,” Levine continued. “Thank God my Democratic donations outnumber it about 5,000 to one.”

Levine is in a crowded race seeking the Florida Democratic primary nomination to run for governor, with former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, Winter Park businessman Chris King, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum; and terms such as “real Democrat,” “true Democrat,” and “lifelong Democrat” already have been tossed about in that contest, as if someone in the race is not. The leading Republicans are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach.

“Mayor Levine has raised millions of dollars for fellow Democrats, up and down the ballot,” spokesman Christian Ulvert stated. “Most importantly, his record of getting progressive policies done is crystal clear — and it’s exactly the leadership he will take to the Governor’s mansion.”

Levine tells his story often about how he left college to work as a Royal Caribbean cruise ship deckhand, later following his instinct to become an entrepreneur serving cruise ships, to starting up and then selling companies, to becoming very rich.

By the late-1990s he became an active political campaign contributor, and by early this century he was a prominent one, making him an extraordinarily unusual candidate for governor. Other wealthy candidates have run statewide in Florida before, notably Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Jeff Greene of West Palm Beach, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010; yet neither previously had been as financially generous to others’ political causes as Levine had.

Though they do not quite show the multiple millions he asserted, U.S. Federal Election Commission and the Florida Division of Elections records do show that Philip Levine — from addresses in Miami, Miami Beach and Tallahassee — has contributed more than $1 million to others over the past couple of decades. He also has donated nearly $3 million to his own campaign’s funds in the past year.

Levine donated at least $189,900 to various state campaigns and political committees in Florida, and another $893,385 to various federal campaigns and political committees in Florida and across the country.

Campaign finance activity reviewed by Florida Politics does not include any political contributions Levine may have made in local elections in Florida [he was a two-term mayor of Miami Beach,] nor any he may have made in local or state elections in other states. Those would have been recorded outside the FEC and the Florida Division of Elections.

Levine, in fact, has a clear record of donating to Democrats for many years. His donations for Democrats compared with those for Republicans do not entirely create a 5,000-1 ratio, but it is higher than a 200-1 ratio, at least in dollars.

Since 2000, he has donated $161,800 to the Florida Democratic Party [including $61,800 in 2016] and at least another $12,500 to specific Democratic candidates and committees. Another $16,600 of his state political contributions went to committees that at least on paper may be considered nonpartisan. No state-level Levine money went to Republicans, the Republican Party of Florida, or Republican committees.

On the federal side, since 1999, Levine made at least 270 donations totaling $876,791 to Democrats, Democratic parties, and committees associated with Democrats. He has made six contributions totaling about $12,000 to committees that have some claim to being nonpartisan, or have unclear partisan standing.

He’s made just four donations, adding up to $4,650, to Republicans, including the Rubio check.

Levine was a big backer of Hillary Clinton, donating $300,000 to her Hillary Victory Fund committee in 2016. He also was a significant backer of Barack Obama, donating $30,000 to his Obama Victory Fund committee in 2008.

In contrast with the $2,400 he gave to U.S. Senate Republican candidate Rubio, over the past two decades Levine contributed $31,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $25,000 to the Florida Senate Victory 2004 committee, and $15,000 to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson‘s campaigns.

Levine also has made direct donations to campaigns of Florida Democrats Dan Gelber, Bill McBride, Janet Reno, Alex Sink, Joe Garcia, Raul Martinez, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Crist [when he ran for Congress as a Democrat,] Peter Deutsch, Betty Castor, Alex Penelas, Andrew Korge, Jose Javier Rodriguez, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Elaine Bloom, Ken Gottlieb, David Richardson, Richard Steinberg, and Wilbert Holloway.

Besides Rubio, other non-Democrats who received support from Levine include Miami Republican Lincoln Díaz-Balart, who got $250 for his 1998 Congressional re-election campaign; Montana Republican Conrad Burns, who got $1,000 for his 1998 U.S. Senate re-election campaign; and New Jersey Republican Dick Zimmer, who got $1,000 for his 2008 U.S. Senate campaign. Levine also donated to the nonpartisan campaigns of Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit judges Maxine Cohen Lando and Milton Hirsch.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons