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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - July 31

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BUCHANAN "TAKES HEAT FOR AVOIDING TESTIFYING UNDER OATH"  Buchanan takes heat for avoiding testifying under oath [WTSP] "The Florida Democratic Party is firing back with a wanted poster  showing that Buchanan is avoiding the deposition with what some call the "dog ate my homework" excuse. In addition to being blasted by his opposing attorney and the Democratic Party, Buchanan's Democratic opponent, former State Representative Keith Fitzgerald, suggests that Buchanan is avoiding his civic and legal responsibility by failing to show for the deposition."

Buchanan a no-show for deposition [Sarasota Herald Tribune] "U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan did not appear for a scheduled court deposition in Orlando on Monday, prompting an angry response from the opposing attorney who said the three-term congressman should be held in contempt of court."

Attorney to seek court contempt order against U.S. Rep. Buchanan [Bradenton Herald] "An attorney representing Congressman Vern Buchanan's former business partner plans to seek a contempt order in court after the Sarasota Republican Monday missed a deposition in a business dispute…Calling the matter 'disgraceful' and 'embarrassing,' Democrat Keith Fitzgerald, a New College associate professor and a former state representative, added, 'He sure told us what he thinks is important -- raising money is more important than answering questions about his conduct.'"

Fitzgerald blasts Vern Buchanan for failing to appear at court deposition [Creative Loafing] 
Democrats look to capitalize on Buchanan deposition [Sarasota Herald Tribune]
Rep. Buchanan misses court deposition [The Hill] 
Fitzgerald says Buchanan no-show demonstrates ‘contempt for the legal process’ [Sarasota News Leader] 
Vern Buchanan Ethics Memo [American Bridge] 

  

OBAMA TO FLORIDA  Obama reschedules Rollins visit [Orlando Sentinel] "President Barack Obama has rescheduled his campaign rally at Rollins College for Thursday afternoon."

New Video: Mitt Romney's Tax Returns: When Will He Come Clean? [OFA] "Mitt Romney has only released one full year of tax returns. Why hasn't he released more? Is Romney willing to share any new information?"

Obama campaign to highlight middle class tax cuts in Sarasota [Tampa Bay Times] "The Obama campaign says it will spread this flier around Sarasota later today, part of an effort to contrast the president's tax cut plan with Republicans."

Romney plan would dishonor veterans [Tampa Tribune Guest Column] "VA hospitals have supported veterans for generations as a cornerstone of the sacred trust our country kept with them. I recently learned that Mitt Romney plans to privatize the VA, auctioning off that sacred trust to the lowest bidder. Privatizing the VA would dishonor and do a disservice to millions of veterans." 

Romney's foreign misadventures [Tampa Bay Times editorial] "Mitt Romney bounced from careless to reckless over the weekend during an overseas trip meant to showcase his foreign policy credentials…The first rule for foreign trips by U.S. candidates for president is to do no harm. Romney failed that test in London and Jerusalem, and there will be more questions about his foreign policy skills when he returns home than when he left."

 

ROD SMITH TAKES ON GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION ON MSNBC: GREER TESTIMONY "VERY TROUBLING" 

Jim Greer, ex- Florida GOP chair, says party officials discussed black voter suppression [The Grio] "Jim Greer, the former chair of the Florida Republican Party, has accused the GOP of engaging in voter suppression, in statements given under sworn testimony in a deposition surrounding a lawsuit he filed over an unpaid severance. Greer claims he became uncomfortable with leading the party when an official began to openly discuss voter suppression tactics that would keep blacks from participating in the electoral process." 

Judge in Jim Greer case declares potentially embarrassing witness statements public record [Tampa Bay Times] "There is a bit of bad news for some of the witnesses slated to testify at the trial of former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer. A four-page report that apparently includes some embarrassing accusations against witnesses is a public record, says Orlando Circuit Judge Marc L. Lubet in an order released Monday."

Judge says materials not exempt in Greer case [AP] " A judge has rejected a request from an unnamed third-party to stop the release of certain documents in the criminal trial of the former chair of the Republican Party of Florida."

  

ANOTHER MAJOR PAPER REFUSES TO ENDORSE MACK Choose Weldon, Nelson in U.S. Senate primary [Palm Beach Post editorial] "Mack the Younger has a history of drunken brawling, divorcing his first wife after running as a family-values candidate and missing lots of key votes."

 

 

A "ROUGH MONTH" FOR CARROLL Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s brother-in-law arrested in pharmacist oxycontin sting [Miami Herald] "Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s rough month continues. First, she apologized for offending lesbians regarding a criminal case involving her former aide. And now her brother-in-law has been arrested in a drug bust."

Rick Scott omits email account from state public records website [Times/Herald] "But what he failed to say at his May 3 news conference launching 'Project Sunburst' was that the emails he made public were not the emails in his official state account. The emails the public actually read online were from a different account used almost exclusively by conservative supporters. "

Pam Bondi splits her schedule between Tampa, Tallahassee [Times/Herald] "Bondi's office would not say which days she is working in Tampa versus in Tallahassee or provide an estimate of the percentage of time she spends in each office. Her official schedule is often vague about her whereabouts." 

Gisela Salas, chief of state elections division, resigns [Tampa Bay Times] "Dr. Gisela Salas, director of the state Division of Elections, has resigned effective Wednesday to take a job closer to her family in Ocala, her supervisor announced Monday."

  

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW 

Rallying point [Gainesville Sun Editorial] "Silver Springs was an obvious rallying point for those opposed to the Adena Springs Ranch consumptive-use permit request to pump 13 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer. But turning the Adena Springs debate into the symbol of all that is wrong with Florida's water policies, however, took more than local residents' protests. That required someone, indeed something bigger and more far-reaching. Enter former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham."

Governor to water district: Sell off ‘surplus’ parks and preserves [Vero Beach Online] "That includes state parks, land bought with money approved by voters specifically for land conservation, and lands bought under the Florida Forever program – which may not be forever, after all."

Everglades effort helps economy [Orlando Sentinel] "U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Central Florida earlier this month to announce that his department would spend $80 million to protect the Everglades ecosystem by conserving and rehabilitating ranch land between Orlando and Lake Okeechobee. Vilsack told the Sentinel editorial board that the investment would bring the total committed to Everglades restoration under the Obama administration to more than $1.5 billion. The former Iowa governor said the project was a good fit with the president's broader goal of revitalizing the nation's rural economy"

In the long run, is GOP dead? [Tampa Tribune editorial] "If your racial and ethnic voter base is aging, shrinking and dying, your moral code is being rejected and the tax-consuming class has been allowed to grow to equal or to dwarf the taxpaying class, the Grand Old Party has a problem"   

Do-overs reinforce need to do over FCAT-based education system [Palm Beach Post] "Despite rising graduation rates, lots of kids are graduating from Florida high schools without the math, reading or English skills to do college-level work. It’s a good thing that state education officials know about the problem and require remediation. But it’s also one more example of how the FCAT-based “accountability” system is failing."