Florida’s elected Cabinet members rake in political cash from insurance companies, lobbyists, developers

(l to r) Florida Cabinet members Ashley Moody, Nikki Fried, and Jimmy Patronis, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis, honor a law enforcement officer. Florida Channel screenshot.

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.

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