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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Do Scott Wagman's Google ads violate election law?



Scott Wagman is facing a possible Florida Elections Commission investigation over advertisements the first time candidate is running on Google.

Wagman received notice Thursday that the elections commission received a complaint that his Google ads violate state election law. The FEC found the complaint legally sufficient to proceed.

Under state rules, Wagman can either pay a fine and stop the investigation (it's kind of like pleading no contest) or contest the complaint.

Wagman campaign manager Mitch Kates said Friday the campaign had not yet decided how to proceed. Kates says the Google ads are common to several political candidates in Florida, and there is no precedence that the ads violate election law.

What the Bay Buzz has waited to the fifth paragraph to tell you is that the complaint was launched by fired Jamie Bennett campaign manager Peter Schorsch. Schorsch, himself, still owes the state more than $67,000 for 40 election law violations in 2005.

Schorsch, "certainly seems to be on a mission to destroy everybody in his wake," Kates said Friday. "Quite honestly, this is not on the top of my list of things to do. People are voting right now and we are talking to people that are voting. This kind of stuff can be distracting if you let it be."

To see what Schorsch is talking about, type "Deveron Gibbons" into Google. On the right hand side, you should see an advertisement for Wagman's campaign. The ad does not include a political disclaimer, though it links to Wagman's web site, which does include the disclaimer.

Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:59am]


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