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Alleged scheme to infiltrate liberal group has Florida players

A Facebook page for "Daniel Logan"
A Facebook page for "Daniel Logan"
Published Aug. 9, 2017

A man who attempted to infiltrate the League of Conservation Voters claimed to be an investor advisor based in St. Petersburg, while an alleged accomplice is a conservative commentator based in South Florida, according to a criminal complaint and online documents.

The St. Petersburg-based "Daniel Logan" -- an apparent alias of activist Dan Sandini -- tried to wine and dine his way into the liberal group's upper ranks and "gave indications in several of his meetings of the potential for contributions of the magnitude of four million dollars per year for multiple years."

He also tried to get the liberal group to set up a voter drive in Florida, according to a report that suggests conservative activist James O'Keefe III could be tied the scheme.

The League has filed a complaint with the California Attorney General's Office about "an apparently criminal effort by imposters to infiltrate the inner workings" of the group and its Golden State affiliate.

Alleged activity includes possible undercover recordings and other deception.

It's quite a tale and, as recounted in this New Yorker piece. In that, comes a Florida tidbit from Carol Browner, chairwoman of the League's board of directors, who headed the EPA under President Bill Clinton and directed President Barack Obama's Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.

By June, Sandini had attended several of L.C.V.'s top-donor gatherings in Washington, D.C., including one that counted several senators among the guests. Browner claims that Sandini made her immediately uncomfortable. "He stood too close, and he seemed to both know too much and too little," she recalled.

He was strangely knowledgeable about her husband's career, and kept pushing Browner to respond to heavy-handed left-wing statements, while urging her to set up a voting drive in Florida.

"He gave me the heebie-jeebies," she said, a sentiment she shared with colleagues at the time.

The Florida angle was not central to the alleged scheme but there are other ties, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed.

Sandini apparently posed as "Dan Logan" who was supposedly from St. Petersburg and had a a Facebook account with pictures of him there. (The page is no longer active) A Google search turns up a now-defunct LinkedIn account for Daniel L. Logan, president of St. Petersburg-based Logan Investments.

On Twitter, Dan Sandini lists himself as an 'independent citizen journalist" from Portland, Ore. It says is is "inspired by Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe." Sandini also has ties to Steve Bannon and is listed in the credits of Bannon's film Occupy Unmasked.

Yet another Florida connection comes with Ann Vandersteel, whom the League alleges posed as "Ann Steel," the widow of a wealthy oil investor. "We believe that, in reality, Vandersteel is a conservative commentator on YourVoice America Radio," the complaint states.

Vandersteel is based in Jupiter and is a co-host of the show with Bill Mitchell. The Times left a message for her on Wednesday and has not heard back.

Her LinkedIn page shows she is a Realtor. In 1990, she worked as a "residential liaison" for Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach. "Interfaced with Donald Trump weekly upon property inspections," it states.

O'Keefe is scheduled to keynote the Palm Beach GOP's annual lobsterfest dinner on Aug. 17