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Sean Shaw targeted on website, Twitter account as soft on crime

The Republican Governors Association created the website and Twitter account.
Democratic Nominee for Attorney General, Sean Shaw. [OCTAVIO JONES | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 1, 2018
Updated Oct. 1, 2018

The Republican Attorneys General Association has created a website and apparently also a Twitter account aimed at portraying Sean Shaw, Democratic candidate for attorney general, as soft on crime.

But the Twitter account, with the handle @SeanShawFlorida and account name realseanshaw, appears to violate Twitter's rules on impersonation. The website, realseanshaw.com, contends Shaw is "Soft on crime – not a friend of law enforcement."

It says that's because Shaw, an insurance policyholder's lawyer, handled an insurance case representing a daycare center in which a child had been molested; because he sponsored legislation to end Florida's policy of permanently revoking voting rights for those convicted of felonies; and because he backed Orange County state attorney Aramis Ayala in a conflict with Gov. Rick Scott over the death penalty.

Scott removed Ayala last year from a case involving Markeith Loyd, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and an Orlando police officer, after Ayala said she would not seek the death penalty in any case. Shaw and other black lawmakers asked that Scott rescind the order.

The website says it was posted by a political committee, "A Safer Florida," whose phone number and address are those of the RAGA. The Twitter account carries no disclaimer, but links to the website.

No tweets had been sent from the fake Shaw Twitter account as of Monday.

The picture on the account is of Shaw, and the bio box says it belongs to "Florida AG candidate."

Shaw's real account is @SShawFL. Twitter's impersonation policy says "portraying another person in a confusing or deceptive manner" violates the Twitter Rules.

Fake or parody accounts are allowed only if the bio box on the account clearly indicates it's a parody or fake account. Here's Twitter rules on how to do a fake or parody web site correctly.

The RAGA is an arm of the Republican Party that supports Republicans in attorney general races nationwide, including Ashley Moody in Florida.

A RAGA spokesman said Monday the organization was beginning a digital campaign against Shaw, but couldn't be reached for comment later on the website and Twitter account.

Shaw campaign spokesman Michael Hopkins said, "If Ashley Moody and her Republican friends in Washington can't follow the rules when it comes to Twitter, how can we possibly trust her to follow the rules as Attorney General? I guess she's following in Trump's footsteps quicker than we thought."

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