All Gimenez can raise is $5K... is it LowT, it's ok; we know.

Political Cortadito

Carlos Gimenez has a new role as rainmaker — soliciting for 10 PACs


There may have been no contributions and no activity in the reports for his political action committee until the $5,000 check from Fisher Island developers in late August, but Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez first began soliciting contributions for Miami Dade Residents First in March of last year.

Maybe he’s losing his golden touch.

According to the form he filed with the county — which last year began requiring that all electeds and candidates for office disclose if they are soliciting funds for a particular PAC or electioneering communication organization, which is a PAC with a different name — he’s been pounding the pavement for almost 18 months.

Gimenez filed what the county calls an MD ED 28 form in June of 2017, saying he had begun to solicit funds for Miami Dade Residents First on March 23 and for Miami First, Joe Carollo‘s PAC, on May 27. The form was filed June 23, which is past the five days that elected and candidates are given from the first day of solicitation to file the document. It’s past 60 days from the first solicitation for his own PAC!

And those dates are so specific: March 24 was a Friday and May 27 was a Saturday. Why were those the days he started soliciting rather than, say, March 1 or May 15 Gimenez did get a notice for the first time violation, even though he is the self-declared head of the elections department. Second time violators are fined but nobody’s done that yet, said Miami-Dade Elections spokeswoman Suzy Trutie. And Gimenez is not alone. After all, 2017 was the first year electeds and candidates had to file these MD ED 28 forms. A few others, including Commissioners Jean Monestime and Xavier Suarez and Sen. Rene Garcia, who is termed out and running for county commission in 2020, also got first notice violation.

But nobody is getting as busy as Gimenez, who seems to be renting himself out as a rainmaker. The mayor has filed a total of 9 forms for a total of 10 PACs and ECOs he’s soliciting funds for. That’s right. Ten! Is this really an appropriate side gig for a county mayor who oversees billion in tax dollar spending? Who is he soliciting those funds from? How will we know? So if he gets funds for, say, Florida Senate candidate Marili Cancio — and he filed a report for Friends of Marili Cancio last month — from someone who does business with the county, how will we know its his solicited contribution to her PAC? How will we know what favors he owes?

We won’t.

In fact, he could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests before him for someone else in a quid pro quo deal where that person — Cancio or someone else — raises then hundreds of thousands for him from someone who wants something at the state level. This is just rife with potential conflicts and bribes. It becomes that much harder to follow the money.

In addition to his own PAC and Carollo’s, Gimenez has filed MD ED 28 forms for the following PACs that reflected the following in the latest campaign reports filed at the county and also at the Florida Division of Elections:
  • On July 20, 2017, People for Stronger Neighborhoods, which Ladra couldn’t find active in county or state records. The used to be a PAC named People for Stronger Neighborhoods ran by former State Rep. and attorney to the pols J.C. Planas on behalf of county and city candidates. It lists as “disbanded” now but it collected more than $100,000 of its $159,000 after August of 2017, having its best months in September, October and November.
  • On Feb. 15, It’s All About The Kids PAC, which collected about $110,000 for the re-election of Miami-Dade School Board Member Maria Teresa Rojas, the mayor’s sister-in-law.
  • On June 5 for Government With Transparency, a state-registered ECO working on behalf of county commission candidate Zoraida Barreiro, which collected absolutely nothing in June, but, coincidentally (not), raised $155,250 of its $262,000 total in May, which is almost six times more the next highest month. Maybe someone made another election document mistake there and he meant May 5? Sure looks that way.
  • On Aug. 8 for Citizens for Transparency and Integrity in Government, working on behalf of Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto, which raised $70,000 of its $170,000 total after Aug. 11.
  • On Aug. 10 for We The People, which is County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz‘s PAC and raised $168,500 in August — its best month ever by far, of its $581,350 bank.
  • On Aug. 10 for Friends of Marili Cancio, which received one $5,000 donation from Coral Gables tech entrepreneur Manny Medina since then.
  • On Aug. 10 for All About Florida, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine‘s failed gubernatorial run PAC, which was a lost cause by then so why bother?
  • On Aug. 20 for Alliance for A Better Community, Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime’s PAC, I guess for an 11th hour money pitch.
Of course, one could argue these people now owe the mayor something. Votes on the commission for his budget or his deals. Funds for a future campaign for himself or one of his children. Something at the state level. He’s not taking time out of his busy day to help these people out of the kindness of his heart.  All except for Rojas, who maybe he was strong armed into helping by his wife, owe him for those solicitations.

And, on the flip side of the coin, what does he owe those who answer  his call to contribute to Cancio or to Diaz or to Souto or Levine?

Ladra also can’t help but wonder how much time Gimenez will be spending between now and November making more fundraising phone calls and asking more people for money for his friends. And what he’s going to get and promise in return.

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