Liberal billionaire George Soros and his son, Alex Soros, are pouring serious money into the the 2018 Florida Governor’s race, donating a total of $250,o00 to a political committee supporting a Democratic candidate, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
The Tallahassee Democrat first reported the story, noting that campaign finance records showed a $100,000 check on December 29 from George Soros to Forward Florida, a political committee (PC) supporting Gillum.
This follows a combined $150,000 ($100,000 from George Soros and $50,000 from Alex Soros) that the two donated to Forward Florida last March.
Florida election law allows political committees to take unlimited donations up to five days before the election they are seeking to influence (for both the primary and general election). They can use those funds to make unlimited donations to political parties or other PCs and similar organizations authorized under Florida law.
PCs can even donate directly to candidates, up to $3,000 for a statewide candidate like Gillum.
Most often, however, PCs use their funds on their own ad campaigns supporting or opposing a candidate. They cannot coordinate directly with the candidate (or the ad expenditure will be treated as a contribution to the candidate, and subject to the contribution limits).
These are the groups frequently behind some of the nastiest negative ads, because the prohibition on coordination allows the candidate some plausible deniability if the ads generate backlash.
As The Daily Caller noted, both George and Alex Soros are New York residents. This is far from the first time Soros has poured money into a Florida Democrat’s campaign.
One notable example was Aramis Ayala, who was elected Ninth Circuit State Attorney (covers Orange and Osceola Counties, including Orlando, the University of Central Florida, and the theme parks) in 2016. A Soros-backed PC dropped nearly a million dollars for TV ads and mailers supporting Ayala.
Ayala made national headlines last year when she announced she was refusing to pursue the death penalty in any cases, leading Gov. Rick Scott to reassign those cases to another state attorney for abuse of discretion. The Florida Supreme Court upheld Scott’s move and she formed a committee of prosecutors to take over reviewing potential death penalty cases. There have been widespread calls for her resignation.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
[Cross-posted at The Capitolist.]