Conservative Group Sent Old Charlie Crist Robocalls to Potential Voters
As ever, there have apparently been shenanigans leading up to today's primary voting day. A conservative group known as, well, the Conservatives allegedly sent out Charlie Crist robocalls to potential voters telling them that he's all about conservative values.
Problem is, the recordings are from back when Crist was a Republican. Today, he's looking to win the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida.
The tactic, it would appear, has been to either confuse registered voters or, at the very least, remind them that Crist was once a part of the GOP. It's comically sneaky, in some ways.
It's also illegal.
"We learned that these robocalls were sent out by a political action committee run by State Sen. Tom Lee," Florida Democratic Party press secretary Max Steele tells New Times. "We filed a complaint with the Election Commission because the calls clearly mislead voters into thinking they represented Charlie Crist as a spokesperson for the Conservatives. That, as you know, is illegal in Florida."
True enough, a Florida statute says, "No telephone call shall state or imply that the caller represents any person or organization unless the person or organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to make such representation."
The statute also adds: "Any person who willfully violates any provision of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree."
The audio heard by voters in the robocall was indeed Crist, made when he ran for governor as a Republican in 2006. In the calls, he launches into GOP views such as big government spending and support for traditional marriage, ideas he has now changed his views on.
"This is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight," one of the calls says. "I'm pro-life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program."
According to the Florida Democratic Party's complaints, Lee is a fundraiser for Rick Scott and has been "actively fundraising and making operational decisions for the Conservatives."
The complaint asks the Elections Committee to investigate the calls and Lee's intentions, saying he implied Crist is affiliated with the Conservatives:
"The significance of this brazen disregard for the statutes of the State of Florida demands urgent investigation by the Commission. Tom Lee, acting to benefit Rick Scott's political campaign, violated 106.147(1)(c) F.S. by falsely implying that Governor Charlie Crist is affiliated with Conservatives."
Heading into Tuesday's primary, Steele says the wheels are in motion.
"We filed the complaint, and the process is underway," he says.
Charlie Crist hasn't even won yet, and the fight has already turned dirty.
You can see the Florida Democratic Party's full complaint below:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.