Florida’s three elected Cabinet officers raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions since they took office in January, with Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis – a Republican who oversees the banking and insurance industries – vastly outstripping his Cabinet colleagues in political cash.
State elections records show Patronis’ Treasure Florida political action committee collected $348,555 from insurance and financial interests, lobbyists, and others. That includes $282,000 during January alone.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried’s Florida Consumers First political committee followed with $187,308 collected. Fried is Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat. Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Friends of Ashley Moody collected $25,000 during January, then went quiet. Her contributors included the Committee of Florida Agents (insurance) and powerhouse law and lobbying firm Holland & Knight, at $10,000 each.
The Florida Cabinet reviews a wide variety of state issues, and the stakes for businesses can be huge. Cabinet members are elected every four years.
Patronis’ collections ranged from the relatively modest $250 given in March by the Treasure Title Insurance Agency of Winter Garden to a $25,000 gift in January by health insurer Florida Blue. His committee collected 18 donations of $10,000 each from contributors including FCCI Services Inc., a commercial property and casualty insurer; health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc.; Maximus Inc., which administers health and HR services for governments worldwide; and Genuine Health Group Inc., a Coral Gables Medicare managed care administrator.
Additional $10,000 Patronis contributors represented the tobacco industry, including RAI Services Co., a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc.; and Dosal Tobacco Corp., a Miami company with Cuban roots that makes cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes; Continental Pacific LLC, a real estate investment group; Disney Worldwide Services Inc.; and Duke Energy Florida LLC.
Mining companies contributed to Patronis, including Mosaic Global Sales Inc., at $5,000; and Titan Florida and White Rock Quarries, at $2,500 each.
Lobbyists and trade associations were represented, as well, including the Florida Association of Realtors and Meenan P.A., at $5,000 each; and Rutlege Ecenia, at $1,000.
For Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried’s political committee, the largest gifts were $25,000 each from TECO Energy Inc. and Ryan Vincent of Boston, who co-founded Schooner Capital LLC and founded of Iron Mountain Inc.
The committee collected $15,000 from Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, a political committee chaired by Ryan Tyson, vice president for political operations at the big-business lobbying group Associated Industries of Florida. Its own donors have included Mosaic, Disney, Florida Power, and U.S. Sugar Corp.
Donors of $10,000 included the Paramedics of Palm Beach County; Florida Blue, the University City Housing Co. of Bryn Mawr, Pa.; and the Sysco Corp. Good Government Committee.
Additional contributors included mining firm Palm Beach Aggregates LLC; G.L. Homes of Florida Corp.; Lykes Brothers Inc.; United Health Group; Natural Resources Planning Service of San Antonio; and commercial property and casualty insurer FCCI – at $5,000 each.
Fried also drew $5,000 from each of the following political committees: People for Accountable Government, a chaired by former state Sen. René García; the Florida Education Association; People for Clean Water Solutions; and Florida Professional Firefighters.
The Florida Farm Bureau Federation kicked in $2,5000 and the law firm Foley & Lardner gave $800.