Last Call for 12.5.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Attorney General Ashley Moody is taking action against a Miami company for routing foreign-based robocalls to the United States.

The Attorney General’s Office is asking for Smartbiz Telecom to pay up for violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Moody’s team filed the 30-plus complaint in federal court for the Southern District of Florida.

“The defendants helped facilitate the transmission of millions of foreign-based robocalls into the United States,” Moody said. “They were warned multiple times about these harmful actions but refused to stop. Now, we are asking a court to shut them down and force them to pay restitution to consumers harmed by scams associated with these foreign-based robocalls.”

Moody’s complaint alleges that Smartbiz, operating as a Voice over Internet Protocol telephone service, transmitted obviously fake calls — like calls purporting to be from 911 — and profited from the scam messages.

The Industry Traceback Group, a neutral consortium appointed by the Federal Communications Commission, warned the company more than 250 times since 2020 that scam calls transmitted by the company bombarded people in the United States. However, Smartbiz Telecom continued helping scammers unphased, according to the complaint.


Last week’s Boots on the Sand benefit concert raised more than $1.5 million for Hurricane Ian relief.

Lynyrd Skynyrd headlined the concert, held Thursday at the Hertz Arena in Estero. Others like Ira Dean, Gavin DeGraw, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, Tracy Lawrence, Ted Nugent, RaeLynn and John Rich rounded out the concert lineup. Comedian and recent Florida transplant Jim Breuer hosted the show.

The event was produced by Live Nation and Ira Dean for Boots on the Sand, with proceeds dedicated to the Florida Disaster Fund through Volunteer Florida, and Collier Community Foundation, Collaboratory and Charlotte Community Foundation.

The Hallberg Family, who are Naples residents, purchased 500 tickets and donated them to victims impacted by Hurricane Ian. A silent auction also helped raise funds and included one-of-a-kind memorabilia such as signed wrapped guitars from all the artists and more.

Evening Reads

—“Ron DeSantis to offer VIP access to his inauguration — for $50K to $1M” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida

—“Liz Cheney, DeSantis, Elon Musk among finalists for Time Person of the Year” via Jeffrey Clark of Fox News

—“Donald Trump is no lover of the Constitution” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic

—“Fearing scandal, Air Force blocked generals’ foreign consulting deals” via Craig Whitlock and Nate Jones of The Washington Post

—“Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights” via Jessica Gresko and Mark Sherman of The Associated Press

—“Federal trial in Tampa begins after Jan. 6 defendant Jeremy Brown detained for 14 months” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

—“Feds give Brightline $20K to help keep its West Palm to Orlando rail line safe” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

—“Kareem Daniel and the rise and fall of the Disney executive who helped define the Bob Chapek era” via Ryan Faughnder and Meg James of the Los Angeles Times

—“Freshman Senators to lead major panels as committee assignments handed out” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics

—“Sheriff Gregory Tony faces more scrutiny from ethics panel over lies, omissions on forms” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

—“Meet Lee Bercaw, Tampa’s new acting police chief” via Tony Marrero of the Times

—“Miami-Dade School Board may lose member to new law on Dec. 31. DeSantis would name a sub” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald

—“Florida leaders misrepresented research before ban on gender-affirming care” via Yacob Reyes of PolitiFact

Quote of the Day

“So, if there’s a Black Santa at the other end of the mall, and he doesn’t want to have his picture taken with a child who’s dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, that Black Santa has to do that?”

— Justice Samuel Alito joking during U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments.

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