Congressional candidate Eddie Speir puts school’s tax-exempt status in jeopardy
Eddie Speir.

new-college-of-florida speir
There are a lot of things you can get away with in campaigns; inserting a nonprofit organization into the political arena is not 1 of them.

Some candidates aren’t ready for prime time. That would be putting it gently for congressional candidate Eddie Speir.

It only took one month for Speir, the belligerent gadfly the Florida Senate rejected after his appointment to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees, to make a blunder that could cost him a lot more than the shellacking he’s likely to receive courtesy of Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan, who Speir, in his not-so-infinite wisdom, is challenging.

Speir, along with his wife, Claire, are the founders of Inspiration Academy, a newly formed Christian school in Bradenton. The school, which employs more than 50 people, is a 501(c)3 that receives funding and support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota, the Manatee Community Foundation, and others.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explicitly states that “501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”

Emphasis on that last bit.

That rule makes Speir’s tweet about Manatee County Commission candidate Keith Green, with Inspiration Academy in the background (!!), not only imbecilic but potentially career-threatening.

It would be one thing if Speir could easily explain it away as nonpolitical, for instance if the photo had been because the two were old pals and Green was just swinging by for a visit. But Speir made a potentially catastrophic rookie mistake in captioning the photo with what can only be described as an endorsement.

“And while we are placing odds, I will bet on Keith Green, who is running against you @GWKruse, in District 7. He is a principled leader with integrity,” Speir tweeted.

To make matters worse, he tagged me, the publisher of one of the biggest political publications in the state. It’s as if he sent me a news tip himself. I mean, he did!

To make matters worse than worse, he tweeted it from his congressional campaign Twitter account, removing any doubt about its political intent.

There are a lot of things you can get away with in campaigns. Inserting a nonprofit organization into the political arena is not one of them.

Knowing how Buchanan’s political assassin Max Goodman operates, I have little doubt that multiple complaints have already been filed with the IRS.

Imagine being so weak-chinned that you put your own school’s nonprofit status at risk all because Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse, who the tweet in question targeted, had the gall to say what everyone already knows — Speir is not a legitimate candidate.

Unfortunately for him, and the families and employees who value Inspiration Academy, a slaughter at the ballot box may be the least of his concerns.

And slaughter it will be.

Speir was one of a half dozen people Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed to the New College board of trustees. He was also the most outspoken. The Senate refused to confirm him.

He also sparked outrage on campus when he said transgender students suffer from a mental disorder.

Now, attacking transgender rights is not, by any stretch, a kiss of death in today’s GOP. Lord knows there are plenty of culture wars going on that directly affect the trans community, and they’re driven by Republican lawmakers. But Speir’s brazen and cavalier disregard for transgender people is, well, people, a bridge too far.

And let’s just put Speir on a shelf for a moment (might as well keep him there while we’re at it).

Buchanan faced a Republican Primary challenge last cycle against conservative activist Martin Hyde. Buchanan delivered an ass-kicking, winning more than 86% of the vote.

It might be time for Speir to get out of politicking. It would be a favor to just about everyone.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • Michael K

    July 21, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    Even the legislature finally said no to this Klown for the New College Board. That’s how low this guy stoops.

Comments are closed.


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