How Buddy Johnson's ad campaign cost taxpayers $643,016

[Text by Michael Van Sickler and interactive by Darla Cameron]

The advertising and political science experts consulted for this story:
Walter Guarino

  • Guarino is president and managing partner of Insight|SGW, a strategic branding and research firm located in Montville, NJ, Guarino is 30-year veteran in the advertising business in New York and New Jersey. He is also an advertising professor at Seton Hall University. | His advertising blog
Marcia Johnson-Blanco

  • Senior Counsel in the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., Johnson-Blanco works to ensure equal access to the ballot for all citizens. | Her site
Patrick Scullin

  • Scullin is a founding partner in the Atlanta firm, Ames Scullin O'Haire, a 13-year-old agency with more than $110 million in billings. In the early 1990s, he created the infamous Swedish Bikini Team campaign for Old Milwaukee Beer. | His firm's site
Charles Stewart

  • Stewart is a political science professor at MIT who specializes in the fields of American politics, political institutions, and elections. | His site
Daniel Tokaji

  • Tokaji is an associate professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law whose scholarship includes political equality, racial injustice and the role of the judiciary in a democracy, with a particular focus on election law and administration. | His site
How Buddy Johnson's ad campaign cost taxpayers $643,016
  • In its investigation of Buddy Johnson's elections office, the FBI has seized audit papers, financial records and records pertaining to an ambitious ad campaign created by the South Tampa firm Schifino Lee. The St. Petersburg Times undertook a comprehensive review of the ad campaign and found that Johnson approved spending $643,016 -- 16 times greater than the original contract amount -- on materials that promoted his own re-election efforts as much as its intended purpose of educating voters. | Read the story
  • Buddy Johnson invited firms to bid for ad campaign
Despite his political and legal battles, Buddy Johnson is still a salesman of himself


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