The Green Party of Florida has official permission to investigate the “Florida Five”, five previously unknown candidates last fall for state legislative races that all paid $2,000 filing fees at the last minute in hotly contested races between Democrats and Republicans.
On Friday the Palm Beach Post reported that the Florida Greens may proceed with their subpoenas of financial records and other data collection. Throughout the latter half of 2008 the Florida Green Party attempted to contact the five candidates in question but to no avail. Political insiders suspect that all five were plants by the Republican Party to throw the election, but there is as yet no proof.
Pasco County Circuit Judge Stanley Mills is allowing the Greens to subpoena testimony and records to get to the bottom of who, if anyone, was behind the effort, although the candidates ultimately had little or no impact on the elections.
The mysterious candidates suddenly filed for the races shortly before the June 20 cut-off date. The Greens went to great lengths to track them down, for the most part to no avail.
Tallahassee election law attorney Ron Meyer is representing the state Green Party in the motion against Sarah Roman, a 23-year-old waitress with a net worth of less than $5,000. Meyer wants to know how she was able to afford the $2,000 filing fee to enter the state House race in Pasco County against Republican incumbent Robert Schenck.
Roman collected no money for her campaign other than the $2,000 she loaned herself for the filing fee. The other four candidates likewise raised little or no money for their campaigns, further raising suspicions.
The other two districts were House District 81, which covers parts of Martin and St. Lucie counties, and House District 69, which covers parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“The Green Party wants to find out what gives here, whether it was somebody gaming their party, gaming the elections system,” said Meyer, who would not disclose who is paying him.
Roman is being represented by Jeff Lucas, a Pasco County attorney and former chairman of the county Republican Party’s executive committee. Lucas did not return calls seeking comment.
Meyer said the judge’s order will allow him to look at Roman’s bank statements and to check into the other candidates.
“This is a clear case of political manipulation,” Aronberg said of challenger Aniana Robas.