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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tom Lee's robo-rewind on Crist prompts complaint by Democrats



Those recent robocalls to Democratic voters featuring the voice and the conservative views of former Republican Charlie Crist have prompted Democrats to file a formal complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. Their target is Republican Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon.

Lee engineered what he said were about two million robocalls to voters, using the same calls Crist used in his successful 2006 Republican campaign for governor, in which he called himself a pro-life, Ronald Reagan Republican who opposed same sex marriage and supported public display of the 10 Commandments -- views now starkly at odds with Crist the Democrat. Lee has taken responsibility for the robocalls and used a long-dormant electioneering communications organization (ECO) called The Conservative (singular). There's also a new web site featuring all of Crist's audio clips at

The Conservative is headed by Stafford Jones, a Republican activist from Gainesville and a behind-the-scenes player in state politics. 

The complaint was filed by Allison Tant, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party. It cites a state law, Ch. 106.147(1)(c), which states that "No telephone call shall state or imply that the caller represents any person or organization unless the person of organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to make such representation." 

A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor. Also named in the FEC complaint is Gov. Rick Scott. Democrats say Lee was acting on behalf of Scott's campaign in arranging the robocalls to Florida voters.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:45am]


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