Ryan Torrens campaign admits fundraising violation


Democratic Attorney General candidate Ryan Torrens admitted to accepting more than the allowed maximum personal donation to a state campaign and has allegedly overlooked a series of other finance-related election violations.

In a letter dated July 13, Torrens’ campaign treasurer Jessica Vasconez acknowledged to Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the campaign received a $4,000 contribution. The maximum permitted for a statewide candidate is $3,000. Vasconez told Detzner she refunded the donor $3,332.52.

According to state elections law, “any person who knowingly and willfully makes or accepts no more than one contribution in violation” over the maximum allowable contribution “commits a misdemeanor of the first degree,” which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail. Multiple violations are charged as a third-degree felony.

But complicating matters for the Torrens campaign is a July 18 complaint alleging it has violated multiple provisions of Florida Election Code.

The complaint, filed by Tallahassee elections attorney Max Solomon, claims the $4,000 contribution came via a cashier’s check. Florida law limits cash and cashier’s check contributions to $50 per person per election. Again, a violation of that law is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.

The complaint also accuses the Torrens campaign of accepting $100 in total from seven different donations filed anonymously, but from the same address. The address in question corresponds to the Odessa post office box the Torrens campaign lists as its primary address.

Solomon’s complaint also claims the campaign accepted more than the cash maximum from similar names listed at the same address. If those contributions were made by the same people or person, but made to appear as different people in a finance report, that could be a violation of the elections code punishable by up to a year in jail. Multiple violations could be charged as a felony.

On the subject of anonymous cash donations, the Florida Division of Elections says: “Report this contribution as an anonymous contribution on your campaign report but do not spend these funds on the campaign. After the campaign is over, dispose of the funds pursuant to Section 106.141, F.S. (DEO 89-02).”

In total, the complaint levies five violations against the campaign.

As of yet, the Torrens campaign has not formally responded to allegations made in the complaint, other than acknowledging the $4,000 personal contribution before the complaint was filed.

Torrens is an attorney in Hillsborough County. He will face state Rep. Sean Shaw, of Tampa, in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.

As of July 13, Torrens had raised about $128,000 including $8,450 in loans and had $3,422 in the bank. Shaw has raised more than $810,000 between his campaign and committee, Sean Shaw for Florida. He has $514,000 on hand.

Danny McAuliffe

Danny is a contributor at floridapolitics.com. He is a graduate of Fordham Law School and Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. Reach him at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn