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ACTIVIST QUESTIONS CONNIE MACK OVER SUPER PAC

A Florida activist wants the Federal Election Commission to look into a link between a top campaign adviser to U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, and the billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson, who has given $1 million to a super PAC that will support Mack in his U.S. Senate race.

"While I opine an actual campaign violation has not occurred - at least as far as I can tell, (Art) Finkelstein's meeting with Adelson suggests a possible conspiracy to circumvent federal election campaign law," Timothy "Chaz" Stevens wrote to the Federal Election Commission.

Finkelstein, a longtime consultant to the Mack political family, was recently seen meeting in New York with Adelson. Last week, Buzz asked the Mack campaign about possible coordination. "I don't know the content of their meeting, suffice to say Arthur, like many consultants, has many clients and whatever they may have met about did not include discussions of FreedomPAC," spokesman David James said. "Arthur does not work for FreedomPAC, or on their behalf."

Candidates are not allowed to coordinate with super PACs.

Stevens recently made an FEC complaint about official U.S. House mail Mack sent out far beyond his Fort Myers-based district, a violation. The FEC said it did not have jurisdiction, so Stevens went to the House ethics office. Previously, the Republican head of the House Franking Commission said the issue was resolved, finding no fault with Mack.

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Fla. fundraisers join Romney

Among the who's who crowd at Mitt Romney's weekend in Utah were several Florida fundraisers: Akshay "A.K." Desai, Francis Rooney, Brian Ballard, Mark Leder, John Rood and Jeffrey Feingold.

Mack attended, too, as did Jeb Bush.

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Court won't take up Cuba ban

The U.S. Supreme Court this week left intact a controversial Florida law that restricts researchers at state colleges and universities from traveling to Cuba and other "terrorist states," despite indications last year that the court would consider a review.

Amid the flurry of rulings from the high court on Monday was a denial of certiorari on Florida's "Travel to Terrorist States Act." The action effectively lets stand a lower court ruling upholding the 2006 law, which bars public schools and universities from using state money for travel to countries such as Cuba, Iran and other nations considered "sponsors of terrorism."

The court decision deals a "devastating blow" to Florida universities, said Howard Simon of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law, along with faculty at Florida International University, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. He predicted it will lead to an exodus of faculty and research dollars from Florida schools.

U.S. Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican who sponsored the law when he was in the state Legislature, commended the court's action, saying it was a victory for taxpayers who "do not want their money or publicly funded resources to be utilized for travel to terrorist nations, or to enrich terrorist regimes."

Simon said the premise of the law is flawed, saying the research doesn't aid the terrorist countries but helps the United States.

"It's not a giveaway to Cuba if we study the country's economy, weather patterns and political conditions,'' he said.

Times/Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.

- blogs.tampabay.com/buzz

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