Florida Democratic leaders have parted ways with a consultant who for six months helped the state party coordinate voter-registration efforts with former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s political organization, new campaign finance records show.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, one of Gillum’s closest advisers, helped the Florida Democratic Party set up infrastructure this year to try to meet a goal of registering 200,000 new voters before the 2020 general elections.
During the six months that Lettman-Hicks was on salary at the state party, she earned close to $80,000 and was one of the highest-paid staffers, records show. However, the party cut ties with her in July. The move came a month after the Tampa Bay Times reported Lettman-Hicks and Gillum were named in a federal subpoena, which sought records involving her public relations firm P&P Communications, Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign and his Forward Florida political organization.
Being named in such a document does not mean Gillum or Lettman-Hicks are under investigation. Barry Richard, Gillum’s attorney, told The News Service of Florida in late May that federal prosecutors could be investigating potential “misuse or misreporting” of campaign money tied to Gillum. However, Richard downplayed the situation, saying anybody can “file a complaint of wrongdoing to the FBI, and then they issue a subpoena.”
Party officials said Lettman-Hicks is no longer on salary because she was always meant to have a short-term role with the party.
“She was on payroll for a short period to close down the Gillum coordinated campaign and set up partnerships to assist the party to meet its goals to register 200,000 new voters,” said Caroline Rowland, a spokeswoman for the Florida Democratic Party.
The party has invested $3.2 million in its effort to register voters before the general election, when Republican President Donald Trump will be at the top of the ticket.