More than four months after a nasty primary election featuring John Thrasher, the IRS reports are finally spilling into the light about who and how much was spent trying to both elect and defeat Thrasher.
Of course it has already been reported that the Florida Justice Association was a key player in trying to defeat Thrasher, the former House Speaker who was seeking the Northeast Florida State Senate seat held by the late Jim King.
But it's also illuminating studying the reports filed by these 527s to see who else had a hand in the race, including the law firm of Scott Rothstein, who pled guilty this past week to running a vast investment scheme, and many of the major players at the Capitol including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Philip Morris USA, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and those involved in insurance, gambling and health care.
A quick look at some of the highlights:
The Committee for Responsible Representation reported raising a total of nearly $700,000 and spending money on such efforts as this website and ads that highlight the "The Real John Thrasher." The group also donated $17,540 to "Don't Bank on Sink" after the primary election.
Every dime contributed to this committee came from another outfit called the Freedom First Committee Inc., which reported collecting $1.2 million and spending $1.18 million.
Its long list of contributors include:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida: $105,000
Florida Medical Association PAC: $50,000
Florida Chamber of Commerce Leadership CCE: $50,000
Philip Morris USA: $50,000
Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler: $25,000
The Petway Companies: $100,000
U.S. Sugar Corporation: $40,000
Dosal Tobacco: $10,000
Florida Optometric CCE: $20,000
And the groups that went after Thrasher?
All the main ones were linked to the Florida Justice Association.
Stop Tax Waste Inc., which attacked Thrasher over a subsidy for Dolphins Stadium and redecorating the Florida House, reported raising $1.07 million last year.
The largest contributor to Stop Tax Waste Inc. was Conservative Citizens for Justice, which was headed up by Scott Carruthers and was dissolved in December. Conservative Citizens donated $881,697 to Stop Tax Waste.
Stop Tax Waste's other large contributors were:
Florida Consumer Alliance: $166,159
Florida Justice PAC: $29,500
Conservative Citizens for Justice reported collecting $1.25 million. Their IRS reports show a long list of contributions from law firms across the state of Florida.
Among those contributing were numerous attorneys from the powerhouse Morgan & Morgan law firm who together donated more than $37,000 to this organization.
Another contributor to this group? The law firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, which donated $40,000 back in early August.
As noted most of the money raised by Conservative Citizens went to Stop Tax Waste, but the organization also shifted $80,000 to Families for New Leadership, which distributed fliers that showed Dan Quiggle, one of Thrasher's opponents in the primary, with the late Ronald Reagan.