Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Michael Van Sickler

Michael has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2003. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, he graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and got his master's degree at the University of Florida. He has worked at the Ledger and the Palm Beach Post. For the Times, he has covered everything from mortgage fraud, growth and development in Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg City Hall. He now covers state politics and government as part of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau.

Phone: (850) 224-7263.

Email: mvansickler@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MikeVanSickler

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  1. Amid bad press, RAGA sends Bondi Twitter love

    Blog

    Sure, recent stories about how the Republican Attorneys General Association has influenced Florida's Pam Bondi haven't been the most flattering.

    On Sunday, the Times/Herald wrote about how the group has raised $750,000 for Bondi, who has adopted much of that group's corporate-backed agenda. Then there was Wednesday's story in the New York Times about how groups like RAGA nurtured close ties between attorneys general, including Bondi, and corporate lobbyists trying to get deals for clients....

  2. Lobbying of Bondi may have broken law

    Blog

    Partners with a powerful Washington, D.C., law firm aren't registered as Florida lobbyists, but that hasn't stopped them from wining and dining Attorney General Pam Bondi the past four years to discuss clients.

    Bondi dropped suits or declined to investigate cases after numerous behind-the-scenes interactions with the firm, Dickstein Shapiro, the New York Times reported Wednesday....

    Attorneys General Pam Bondi of Florida and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, right, during a Republican Attorneys General Association gathering at an exclusive resort in Coronado, Calif., in June.
  3. Pam Bondi has close ties with law firm whose clients have had suits dropped in Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Partners with a powerful Washington, D.C., law firm aren't registered as Florida lobbyists, but that hasn't stopped them from wining and dining Attorney General Pam Bondi the past four years to discuss clients.

    Bondi dropped suits or declined to investigate cases after numerous behind-the-scenes interactions with the firm, Dickstein Shapiro, the New York Times reported Wednesday....

    Attorneys General Pam Bondi and Patrick Morrisey, of West Virginia, right, meet in June during a Republican Attorneys General Association gathering at an exclusive resort in Coronado, Calif. A New York Times investigation has found that state attorneys general are aggressively pursued by lobbyists and lawyers attempting to influence them, but unlike rules covering other elected officials, there are few revolving-door restrictions or disclosure requirements governing the attorneys general.
  4. NY Times: Records show how lobbyists access Bondi

    Blog

    Wednesday's New York Times published a 1A investigation into the role corporate lobbyists play in pushing attorneys general to "drop investigations, negotiate favorable settlements or pressure federal regulators."...

    Pam Bondi
  5. Report: Florida still has a ways to go with its elections system

    Blog

    In a hotly contested gubernatorial race that could come down to the wire, what could go wrong in Florida on Election Day?

    Many things, says Common Cause, the non-profit, liberal advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

    The group released a report that looks at how 10 swing states, including Florida, adopted recommendations from a presidential commission after long voting lines plagued the 2012 election....

  6. Duke Energy a big contributor to Florida candidates

    Energy

    TALLAHASSEE — Duke Energy has contributed at least $1.4 million to Florida candidates for the 2014 election cycle, according to state and federal records.

    Republican candidates collected the bulk of it, or about two-thirds.

    The biggest contribution, $775,000, was to the Republican Governors Association. Though Duke has holdings in two other states with gubernatorial races this year — Ohio and South Carolina — they are blowouts with Republican incumbents up by 20 points....

  7. Gov. Scott tells lawmakers that Florida is prepared for Ebola (w/video)

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In a conference call with Florida lawmakers Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott led with the only update that mattered.

    "We have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Florida, and we hope we never will," Scott said.

    But the brief call gave Scott another opportunity to repeat the precautions taken in case of a possible Ebola outbreak.

    • The Florida Department of Health continues to monitor six "low risk" people who returned from Ebola-affected countries, part of an executive order Scott issued Saturday requiring anyone returning from countries with Ebola outbreaks to be monitored twice a day for three weeks. ...

  8. Just in case anyone forgot, Scott's on this Ebola thing

    Blog

    In a brief conference call to Florida lawmakers Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott led with the only update that mattered.

    “We have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Florida, and we hope we never will,” Scott told lawmakers.

    But it gave Scott another opportunity to repeat the precautions taken in case of a possible Ebola outbreak.

    • The Florida Department of Health continues to monitor six “low risk” people who returned from Ebola-affected countries, part of an executive order he issued Saturday requiring anyone returning from countries with Ebola outbreaks must be monitored twice a day for three weeks....

  9. The Money Race: Crist has small cash lead in final week

    Blog

    For the first time since he announced he was running for governor, Charlie Crist’s campaign has more cash to spend than Gov. Rick Scott.

    Through Oct. 25, Crist had $3.2 million. Scott dipped to $2.9 million.

    Scott has had a sizable financial edge from the start, spending $46.8 million, or 45 percent more than the $32.2 million Crist’s campaign had spent through Saturday. With polls showing the race a dead heat, any little bit could help....

  10. AG Pam Bondi joins court fights in faraway places as part of Republican Attorneys General Association

    Blog

    Earlier this year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi opposed a ban on certain kinds of semiautomatic weapons.

    In Connecticut.

    The ban was that state's response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Bondi and 21 other attorneys general, most of them Republican, filed a brief that argued the ban was unconstitutional.

    Bondi's office didn't explain the brief. No news conferences. No press release. Nor did she draw attention to signing briefs challenging other gun measures, including a similar ban on semiautomatic weapons in New York, a federal ban on "straw" purchases of guns and a federal law restricting handgun purchases for those between 18 and 21....

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Sam Olens, Georgia Attorney General, walk out on stage during the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.
  11. Pam Bondi, with Republican attorney general coalition, involves herself in faraway court fights

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Earlier this year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi opposed a ban on certain kinds of semiautomatic weapons.

    In Connecticut.

    The ban was that state's response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Bondi and 21 other attorneys general, most of them Republican, filed a brief that argued the ban was unconstitutional....

    Attorney General Pam Bondi is a member of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a super PAC that supports Republican attorneys general and candidates. But such an organization politicizes an office that had been removed from overt partisanship.
  12. FanGate does full Ginsburg on late night comedy shows

    Blog

    Florida, you did it again.

    Just when we thought you had maxed out on becoming a national punchline, you do something like Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate at Broward College in Davie.

    Now known as FanGate, the legendary moment in Florida political history did the full Ginsburg on Thursday night’s late night comedy shows.

    First up in its 11 p.m. time slot, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart played the escapade for some startling “can they say that on pay cable?” low brow laughs....

  13. Times/Bay News 9/Graham Center Poll: Pam Bondi is cruising toward re-election in attorney general race

    Blog

    From her unwavering defense of Florida's ban on gay marriage to her outspoken opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi is known for setting off critics.

    Throw in last year's postponement of an execution so she could host a fundraiser, and an election upset of Bondi seemed possible to some.

    But a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows the 48-year-old Republican incumbent cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer. The telephone survey of likely voters shows 41 percent supporting Bondi, 31 percent supporting Sheldon, 6 percent supporting Wohlsifer and 16 percent undecided....

  14. Times poll: Attorney General Pam Bondi leads George Sheldon, 41 percent to 31 percent

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From her unwavering defense of Florida's ban on gay marriage to her outspoken opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi is known for setting off critics.

    Throw in last year's postponement of an execution so she could host a fundraiser, and an election upset of Bondi seemed possible to some.

    But a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows the 48-year-old Republican incumbent cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer. The telephone survey of likely voters shows 41 percent supporting Bondi, 31 percent supporting Sheldon, 6 percent supporting Wohlsifer and 16 percent undecided....

    In the Florida attorney general race, a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows Republican incumbent Pam Bondi cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer (not shown).
  15. Attorney general

    Kyc

    Attorney general

    It's a race that pits Pam Bondi, the state's most vocal opponent of Obamacare, against George Sheldon, who last year left the federal agency responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act. Bondi is the latest in a 12-year string of Republican attorneys general in Florida, while Sheldon served as deputy attorney general for the last Democratic attorney general. Bondi continues the Republican tradition of a tough-on-crime approach to the job. Sheldon wants to return the office to more aggressively policing white-collar crime and corporate fraud. With a large financial advantage, Bondi is considered the favorite. But Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer could steal votes from Bondi. By Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau...

    Wohlsifer