Another Tacky Attack

  A new nominee for sleaziest TV ad of this election cycle– the piece of political butchery currently airing in the Broward Sheriff’s race.  It compliments Democrat Scott Israel for being an upstanding guy, “vetted by the FBI”.  It accuses current Sheriff Al Lamberti of taking campaign cash from a drug dealer and having “Bush hatchetmen” on his side.

   This hatchet job is brought to us by “The Common Sense Coalition”, an ECO (Election Communications Organzation) that boasts a war chest of some $350,000.  

  This kind of poison-pen advertising by innocuous-sounding front groups turns my stomach.  Such groups are allowed to spew venom without accountability.  It’s their First Amendment right, and I’m a big First Amendment fan.  But whenever I see one of those ads, I go right to the Division of Elections web site and try to pin down who’s behind it.  (In June, I had some fun tracking down the “People for a Better Florida Fund”, a posting that remains this blog’s most-read entry).

  So– who’s behind the “Common Sense Coalition”?  If you follow the money, the biggest donor is Stuart Rosenfeldt, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who gave $90,000.  Rosenfeldt’s firm employed former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne after Jenne was forced from office by scandal.  One Democrat who now supports Lamberti says that makes sense: “Jenne hates Lamberti”, he told me.  “He thinks Lamberti cooperated with the Feds, to take him out.”

  Judith Stern, Jenne’s former political consultant now handling Israel’s campaign, has given $6000 to the “Common Sense Coalition”.

   The second-biggest donor to the CSC, to the tune of $70,000, is something called SJM Consulting of Hollywood.  State records list two managing members of that corporation– David Boden, a lawyer with– surprise!– Rosenfeldt’s law firm.  The other SJM partner– BAL Investments.  Miami lawyer Richard Krinzman is that firm’s only listed partner.

   More than $40,000 comes from a Universal Bond and Universal Surety, a pair of Miami bail-bond firms owned by Wayne Collins– according to press reports, a twice-convicted felon.

  And about $42,000 was donated by another benign-sounding ECO, Democrats for Truth.  Donors for D’s for T include big sugar companies, the health-care giant HCA, public employees’ unions (including the PBA! The PBA unit at BSO endorsed Lamberti.  Other PBA money’s apparently being funneled into attack ads against him).  The full list of donors to the Democrats for Truth is here: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/cgi-bin/contrib.exe

   It’s a complicated web that I don’t pretend to have put together (for instance– flamboyant Republican political consultant Roger Stone works out of Rosenfeldt’s law firm, and he’s reportedly one of the “Bush hatchetmen” the ad says are helping Lamberti, though Stone denies being on the Lamberti team).

  But if I lived in Broward (and I don’t), this kind of ad might well sway me… in exactly the opposite direction the ad aims for.  The fact that Scott Israel accepts this kind of “ECO” help does not reassure me about his ethical standards.

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4 Responses

  1. Nick-

    Let me be clear. I have donated $500 to Lamberti because iIam a good Republican. I have no involvment in his campaign beyond that.

    I have somewhat bigger fish to fry in a Presidential year.

    If I was working against Israel I can assure you he would lose. He is a shoplifter as well as a thug. He has run a terrible campaign , spending more time attacking ghosts than educating the voter about why they should vote FOR him.

    The shoplifting question you asked him on the air is quite provable. You just need to know where to look. The man is a common theif. Retired police officers have the goods.

    Pathetic that this is the best the Democrats can offer.

    ROGER STONE
    Miami Beach

  2. Hey Nick, while you’re talking about questionable money practices and Scott Israel, why is he not filing his campaign finance reports on time? What is he hiding from the public until after the election? Why is he breaking the law again? Why am I the only one asking these questions?

  3. The web site to see he hasn’t filed is:

    http://www.browardsoe.org/CFElectionFilings.aspx?elect_id=76&office_id=333&cand_id=1535

  4. […] – named a “new nominee for sleaziest TV ad of this election cycle” by NBC6’s Nick Bogert – insulted voters’ intelligence in two […]

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