POLITICO reported yesterday that “disgraced former state Sen. Jack Latvala has … quietly kept running a pared-down political operation that is, among other things, helping finance his allies’ own political efforts.” According to the report, contributions from Latvala’s committee, Florida Leadership Committee, made contributions to other political committees and made their way to the campaign of Denise Grimsley.
The POLITICO analysis estimates that, “Grimsley received at least $25,000 through these contributions. Grimsley claims she was unsure of where the contributions came from. Last year, Denise Grimsley returned nearly $72,000 in money from the disgraced former State Senator Jack Latvala, who earlier this year resigned his post amid sexual harassment and corruption scandals.
“The Commissioner of Agriculture fights for every day, hardworking Floridians – from alerting consumers about fraudsters and scam artists to empowering farmers and businesses to thrive around the state,” Caldwell said. “Denise already recognized it was wrong to take money from Jack Latvala by giving it charity – why has she continued to take his money? Was she hoping she could accept the contributions without anyone noticing? We cannot trust a Commissioner whose hand is always in the cookie jar when they need a personal bailout, or who will take money from anyone willing to write a check.”
The contributions made to Denise Grimsley by Jack Latvala helped her campaign cross the threshold that allows candidates to receive campaign welfare. Last year, Matt Caldwell, the principled conservative in the race for Commissioner of Agriculture, vowed never to take public matching funds and publicly disowns the exchange of any favors for political gain. He called on others to do the same but Candidate for Agriculture Commissioner Denise Grimsley took nearly a quarter of a million dollars in tax-payer financed public campaign matching funds.
Caldwell continued, “Denise should return the money she received from Jack Latvala immediately. She should not accept his contributions and furthermore, should return the hard-earned money of Florida taxpayers – to the tune of nearly a quarter of a million dollars – and lead as a conservative. Public financing of statewide political campaigns is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a disservice to Florida’s hardworking families.”
Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture holds one of the highest elected offices in Florida, defending consumer rights, ensuring a level playing field for Florida businesses, and protecting the integrity of consumer products. As a candidate for Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Caldwell has a growing list of conservative leaders and organizations endorsing his integrity and diligence, which includes Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Matt Gaetz, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) and the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA).