Editorial: Tracing the money that spread the lies

Published Dec. 6, 2013

Voter Interest Group of Tallahassee and Fact Check Florida of Jacksonville were very interested in the outcome of the race for mayor of St. Petersburg. Voter Interest Group sent several mailers to city voters attacking Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman with inaccurate or misleading claims, suggesting the former state legislator would bring casinos to St. Petersburg and was somehow responsible for the federal government shutdown. Fact Check Florida sent several mailers attacking incumbent Mayor Bill Foster and inaccurately linking him to unpopular Gov. Rick Scott. Third-party groups are new players in local politics, and local contributors to the groups probably did not know how their money would be spent. St. Petersburg voters also had no idea who contributed to the groups that filled their mailboxes with lies before the election. State campaign reports were not due until after the election, and the reports the groups filed with the city are only on paper in City Hall. The city should add those reports to its website along with the candidate reports, and contributors to these shadowy groups should ask how their money will be spent. See the attached graphic to learn where two of these organizations got their money and how they spent it: