Anna Paulina Luna spends $37K from campaign funding on injunction case legal fees

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It is unclear if that spending is in compliance with FEC rules.

Federal campaign finance reports show congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna spent nearly $38,000 on legal fees for a stalking case against another former candidate.

Luna, who is running for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, dished out $37,611 on Dickinson Wright PLLC, according to campaign finance records submitted in October. That’s the same firm where Luna’s attorney for the headline-making injunction case, Alan Perlman, works as a lawyer.

That expense covered the legal fees in a stalking case Luna filed against former opponent William Braddock, who she unsuccessfully sought a permanent injunction against after he allegedly threatened to kill her.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, campaign funding can be used on legal fees, but that spending is prohibited for personal use and items unrelated to a candidate’s campaign. A spokesman for Luna told the Tampa Bay Times that counsel from a former FEC official said it was proper use.

Pinellas Judge Doneene Loar heard the case, which included dual stalking complaints filed by Luna and Erin Olszewski, the Palm Harbor nurse who secretly recorded Braddock allegedly threatening the life of his fellow candidate.

“I really don’t want to have to end anybody’s life for the good of the people of the United States of America,” Braddock said in the recording by Olszewski. “That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f***ing speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.”

Loar ruled on the case in late September, deciding that while Braddock’s actions were reprehensible, his actions did not meet the legal definition to prove repeated harassment.

“I have to follow the law,” Loar said in the final hearing. “Mr. Braddock, do not come back here.”

The attention from the case resulted in Braddock’s withdrawal from the congressional race, first reported by Florida Politics in July.

Luna is one of three Republicans running in the CD 13 Primaries, facing Amanda Makki and Audrey Henson. Three Democrats are also facing off for a chance at the seat, including state Reps. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner-Goolsby, and former Obama official Eric Lynn.

Luna has also come in as the biggest spender so far, dishing out $251,029 in Q3 alone, and $364,291 total. Luna started the race with some additional cash on hand — $39,254 — rolled over from her previous bid for CD 13, which she lost to outgoing-incumbent U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist. With that boost, she’ll be entering October with $169,373 cash on hand.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]



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