[UPDATED: Florida Democratic Party responds to this report. See bottom of article for details.]
A Democratic candidate running in a contested primary for the U.S. House seat representing Florida's 24th Congressional District has filed an official complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), alleging that his opponent has been making illegal and deceptive campaign calls from within the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) offices, on party phone lines.
In a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG blasting his opponent, Clint Curtis described the tactics being used by the Suzanne Kosmas campaign as "the worst example of Rovian dirty tricks."
Curtis, a Florida computer programmer turned well-known vote-rigging/anti-corruption whistleblower (see BRAD BLOG's years-long coverage of Curtis here) has filed a complaint charging that paid campaign staffers for his opponent in the August 26th Democratic Primary, former state Rep. Kosmas, "have been contacting Democratic primary election voters and fraudulently identifying themselves as calling on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party," according to the campaign's press release.
"The callers then go on to solicit votes for Kosmas in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary," the Curtis camp alleges.
The press release is posted in full at the end of this article, with a link to download the complete FEC complaint. Also at the end of the article is the full text of an email sent to Curtis and campaign manager Jerry Halberg, from a Curtis campaign staffer who also serves as a local Florida precinct captain. The precinct captain claims to have received one of the deceptive phone calls.
The email notes that the Caller ID recorded showed the call as having come from "KOSMAS FOR CONG" with the phone number 407-365-7808. A call made by The BRAD BLOG to that number this afternoon, was answered by someone identifying the number as belonging to "The Campaign for Florida of the Florida Democratic Party."
The Curtis campaign press release, issued yesterday, details the main points of Curtis' complaint to the FEC:
* The Kosmas campaign claimed the state offices, which are leased by the Florida State Democratic Party, as her campaign offices in public communications with Democratic voters.
* She knowingly led the voters to believe that the communication asking for support in the primary was from the Florida Democratic Party when in fact it was from paid staffers.
"The unlawful calls continued even after the Kosmas campaign was notified of the problem," the release continues, with Curtis adding, "Her campaign was given the opportunity to rectify the violations prior to the submission of FEC charges but apparently chose not to."
The Curtis campaign says photos taken of the Democratic Party offices in Oviedo reveal how the evidence of FDP support for Kosmas was "scrubbed" after they complained. Photos said to have been taken on July 31, before Curtis complained to both the FDP and the Kosmas camp, show campaign signs for Kosmas plastered throughout the local Democratic Party facility. After the initial complaints on Aug 3rd, as the following photos purport to show, the signs were removed...