Rick Scott's campaign manager said last November that he would attack Charlie Crist from the left. And ta-da...a "liberal" group calling itself "Progressive Choice Florida" has suddenly arrived on the scene: a group which refuses to list their donors, has no contact information, and uses an insulting shell website (http://www.progressivechoiceflorida.com/).
No real progressive group in Florida has ever heard of them, much less worked with them. However, they are VERY flush with cash. This mystery group in its brief existence has already conducted a statewide mail campaign, bought tons of ads, and put out robocalls in South Florida smearing Charlie Crist.
The group incorporated in Delaware recently, and has rather bizarre ideas of what "progressive" means. I heard about this group in a visit to a Seminole County meeting yesterday, where members told me the group was fighting a local penny infrastructure tax. Their mailers are nasty in attacking Crist, but they also run ads like this one:
Odd. Supporting school vouchers and Florida's disastrous charter schools are not known to be "progressive" causes.
The group said its leader is Jamie Fontaine. Even after repeated requests, she won't disclose the donors:
I will not at this time provide the names these supporters because their only motivation is to engage and have a meaningful impact.Sure. Ya now, secrecy in campaign donations is very GOPish.
You know what else is GOPish? Deception. They were already busted for collecting donations from fake Democratic websites. So this is par for the course.
Progressive Choice Florida has already tried to buy ads on numerous sites, like this one. But many weren't having any of it because besides refusing to say where their money comes from, the group uses deceptive practices like lying about being part of a national effort and not putting any citations or references in their mailers.
Ms. Fontaine apparently has been engaged in liberal causes in the past. My educated guess is that she was thrown some moolah to give the group some credibility and she convinced herself that she's actually helping Nan Rich, Crist's more liberal challenger.
Ads against Crist without citations saying he fails a "progressive litmus test" is probably not the best strategy if everyone wonders if you are really a GOP front group.
If your real goal is to help Nan Rich, you are failing miserably.
If your real goal is to help Rick Scott, same deal.