Leon’s Democratic Executive Committee steering committee voted 8-2 on Monday to pass a resolution calling on local elected officials serving on the board of the intergovernmental agency Blueprint to return and stop accepting campaign contributions from linked supporters. at Florida State University.
The board, which includes Leon County and City of Tallahassee commissioners, is set to finalize a $27 million allocation to FSU to help fund repairs to Doak S. Campbell Stadium. The resolution was triggered after reports that a board member received more than $20,000 from FSU-related donors in January, before the final vote on the issue later this month.
A story published in Our Tallahassee, a supporter media site that often sides with municipal commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter and opposes the mayor John Dailey, reported that Dailey’s re-election campaign received $23,050 from FSU-related donors in January. Florida Politics confirmed the numbers using local campaign finance records.
Donations included $9,000 related to five FSU board members, $8,000 from individuals with ties to Seminole boosters, and $6,050 related to FSU organizations like the FSU Foundation.
Dailey offered to advance the bonding process with the funding at the board meeting December 10 meeting. He has supported the allocation since she began working on the process nearly a year ago.
The committee’s resolution reads as follows:In light of recent news, the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee decides that all campaign contributions to elected officials and voting members of the Intergovernmental Blueprint Agency or any public commission from individuals currently or formerly affiliated with the leadership of the Florida State University or the direction of its affiliates, including, but not limited to, the FSU Alumni Association, the FSU Foundation, and Seminole Boosters, Inc. as well as anyone who may benefit from the decisions of the Intergovernmental Blueprint Agency either dismissed or rejected in order to maintain public confidence.
Although the resolution does not directly name Dailey, the money he received was the focus of the committee’s conversation about its passage.
steven broadway, the corresponding secretary of the Leon County Democratic Party, drafted the resolution. He said he believed Dailey’s actions were inappropriate and unethical.
“I think we should generally oppose this type of what appears to be patronage to specific donors,” Broadway said. “It really undermines the public interest, accepting campaign contributions of a large sum of money, and then affecting the vote.”
Steve Bean, who is also on the steering committee, objected to the committee weighing in because Dailey accepting these donations is not illegal and he believes it is not necessarily a sign of bad intentions.
“It seems insidious,” Bean said. “But it’s also possible that Dailey genuinely thinks this is a great use of Blueprint money. And he wants to do it for the best reasons. And people connected to FSU see that he’s a champion for helping them in this way, and so they are trying to help him and that he has done nothing wrong.
Will Crowley said the committee should take the resolution because of the ‘black eye’ the city has after the public corruption cases surrounding the former city commissioner Scott Maddox.
“I think legality is kind of a low barrier, and not one that would be good enough for me. When I think of the things that have been done in the name of the law, I shudder to think of some of them,” Crowley said. “It’s unfortunate that, to avoid a Scott Maddox situation, we have to take action against unethical behavior as it presents itself.”
Monica O’Neal pushed back against this characterization of the situation.
“What he (Maddox) did was decisions he made just for Scott Maddox,” O’Neal said. “To say another person doing something that’s not illegal will sort of amount to what Scott Maddox did, I think that’s not entirely true, or even in that area.”
O’Neal added that she thinks the statements released by the committee calling on local officials appear to only target certain people. Committee voted to censure Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, TPD leader Laurent Revelland Public Prosecutor Jack Campbell last year following a public row over Matlow’s decision to boycott the House’s annual conference, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“We’re not here to witch hunt specific people we don’t like,” she said. “I feel like, watching every time we do one of these things, it’s about certain people. But then I heard things about other people, and we never got anything. done. So we really have to be careful.
Broadway pointed out that the resolution did not directly name Dailey and asked her to bring her concerns about other local officials to the committee when she has them. She replied that the timing of the resolution is enough for people to know who she is referring to.
“A person is denounced in the newspaper. Nobody else is. So you say something like this, it’s going to overlap with all the other articles. So yes, you are pointing the finger at this individual,” she said.
Dailey’s campaign declined to comment on the Our Tallahassee story or the executive committee resolution. However, Dailey’s campaign has criticized the website in the past.
In a blast of emails to supporters who failed to mention Our Tallahassee by name, the campaign accused the website of “scandal fabrication,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“They are using black money to attack me, my family and my supporters,” Dailey said in the email. “They are already spending thousands of dollars running ads and spreading their propaganda.”
The final vote to approve the FSU Blueprint funding bond will take place on February 24.