We Have Some Questions for Republicans in Florida

October 10, 2018
 Democracy  Florida

Is Self-Proclaimed Environmental Advocate Ron DeSantis Still Financially Beholden to Big Energy?

Food & Water Action recently did a deep dive on campaign finance in Florida. And surprising nobody, unearthed some deeply concerning numbers. The most important information we found was about Republican gubernatorial candidate, and Trump cheerleader, Ron DeSantis.

Florida Utilities Give Big to DeSantis

This gets a bit wonky but essentially: if you follow money being spent to support DeSantis’s gubernatorial campaign, you will find Florida’s largest utility companies- Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Gulf Power, and TECO have given $3 million to PACs associated with the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) this year alone.

And where does AIF send this money? Through their PACs, AIF sends it straight to the Florida Republican Party which has endorsed and benefited DeSantis’s run for governor.

If you expand the search to the past 5 years, that $3 million grows to $9 million dollars. Talk about buying power!

The Problem with DeSantis’ Clean Energy Commitments

So as DeSantis is proclaiming committed support for a fracking ban and offshore drilling ban, his campaign is benefiting from Dirty Energy money.

The only way we can be sure that DeSantis’ plans aren’t too good to be true is if he refuses support from these conflicting special interests. His opponent, Andrew Gillum has signed Food & Water Action’s pledge against accepting any Big Oil & Gas campaign funding.

If @RonDeSantisFL wants to prove he supports a ban on fracking and offshore drilling, he should return his contributions from big Florida utility companies. Click To Tweet

If DeSantis wants to show he is honest in his promises to ban fracking and stop offshore drilling, he must divorce himself from special interests like Florida Power & Light and Associated Industries of Florida that stand to benefit from oil and gas drilling.

Tell Lawmakers to Ban Fracking in Florida!

Chart of Florida utility contributions to GOP PACs
The five AIF affiliated PACS have given almost all their money to republican candidates: from 2013 to 2018, 89% of campaign contributions from AIF-controlled PACS went to Republican candidates ($328.5K to GOP candidates of $370.5K total contributions). In 2018, contributions have been slightly more Republican leaning, with 93% going to GOP ($135.5K to GOP of $145.5K total contributions). These numbers do not include money spent on advertising, scorecards, events, staff, and other political spending.