FDLE speaking with Seminole state lawyer about Jason Brodeur race

A political scandal involving a former South Florida senator could lead to further investigations in central Florida.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement plans to investigate information pertaining to a so-called “ghost” candidate in the District 9 Senate race in 2020, won by Republican Jason Brodeur in November 2020.

Brodeur, who represents part of Volusia County, narrowly defeated the Democrat Patricia Sigman in the race. But a non-party candidate, Jestine Iannotti, also entered the race.

Iannotti did not campaign, but received help in the form of thousands of dollars in mailings sent to the district’s Democratic voters. The money for these mailers came through political action committees that also helped fund two ghost candidates in Senate races in South Florida.

Former Republican Senator Frank Artiles is charged with paying off one of the ghost candidates who ran in the State 29 Senate race, which a Republican won with just 32 votes.

Ghost candidates, ‘a formula for success’: Florida corruption case related to Republican insiders

Since she needed money, she got an offer:PAC chairman who helped the ghost candidate in the Brodeur race got $ 4,000, had “no responsibility”

Political Mystery:Who is behind Grow United PAC, which funded the Florida Senate Ghost Candidates?

All told, $ 550,000 in dark money was spent helping the ghost candidates in the three state Senate races. In all three races, Mailers presented the ghost candidates to Democratic voters as left-wing.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement official confirmed Friday that the agency is discussing the matter with Attorney Phil Archer, whose district includes Seminole and Brevard counties.

“FDLE is currently in discussion with 18th Judicial District Attorney Phil Archer about a request for a formal review of the allegations,” said Dana Kelly, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Todd Brown, a spokesman for Archer, refused to confirm the talks.

“Our office does not confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing criminal investigations that we may have knowledge of or participate in,” Brown said in an email on Friday. “We will also not comment on any criminal investigation carried out by other authorities or speculate about our possible future involvement in them.”

Jason Brodeur

Iannotti started the race during the Brodeur campaign, but held back. Then, in October 2020, a PAC called The Truth was formed, which in days had raised $ 180,000 from a mysterious source called Grow United Inc. Those funds were sent almost immediately to Advance Impression, LLC, a printing company whose director Luis Rodriguez lives in Clermont.

Advance Impression printed mailing cards contrasting Iannotti with Brodeur and Sigman. “The party line puppets in Tallahassee can’t fix health care, won’t fight climate change and refuse to tell the truth to power … but Jestine Iannotti can!” read one of the flyers.

Iannotti, who has moved to Sweden according to published reports, received 5,787 votes while Brodeur won the seat with 50.3%. Iannotti’s vote – had it gone to Sigman – would not have surpassed Brodeur, but Sigman said a negative campaign against her during the primary also hurt her campaign.

The source of dark money, Grow United, is a Delaware registered PAC with an address in Denver UPS.

Frank Artiles

Republican Ileana Garcia angered incumbent Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez during the race in South Florida’s District 37 state. Miami-Dade prosecutors have indicted former Senator Artiles, and ghost candidate Artiles is charged with paying more than $ 44,000 to participate in the race, Alex Rodriguez. The two are charged with several political corruption crimes. Artiles and Alex Rodriguez are due to stand trial on August 30th.

Evidence from that case, released last week, showed Artiles had a $ 90,000 contract with Data Targeting Inc., Gainesville, to deliberate on the South Florida races. Data targeting, a power among the state’s Republicans, was also heavily involved in voting for Brodeur and Ana Maria Rodriguez in Senate District 39 of the state.

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