ICYMI: Pepi Diaz Owes Big Favors for Big Bucks
Diaz raised $530K from donors who directly lobbied his committee
By Matt Dixon
08/01/2017 05:00 AM EDT
TALLAHASSEE — State Rep. José Félix Díaz this year raised more than $530,000 in political cash from donors who directly lobbied bills assigned to the committee he chairs, a dynamic that highlights one of Tallahassee's busiest intersections: politics and policy.
As chair of the House Commerce Committee, Díaz has overseen a wide range of industries that are fertile fundraising territory, including gaming, insurance and a wide array of businesses interests. The powerful committee was created this year when House Speaker Richard Corcoran put a range of issues previously overseen by two committees under one committee umbrella, a move that also upped its fundraising potential.
Shortly after the 2017 legislative session, Díaz also announced his candidacy in the special election for Senate District 40 against Democrat Annette Taddeo. Because it's the only race in an otherwise quiet summer, the campaign is getting national attention as both parties test messages and strategies headed into 2018.
Díaz says campaign contributions don't impact how he votes or runs his committee.
"In today's political climate, voters and donors are looking for normal people who work hard and serve for the right reasons," Díaz said. "I have always been one of the top fundraisers in the Florida House, even before I was named to my first committee."