Congressional candidate Allen West wanted the South Florida Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to apologize for what he said was his politically motivated ouster from the "Finest Couples" gala. This afternoon, he got that apology, but it stopped short of admitting the dark political motives that West alleged.
Rather, the foundation continues to maintain that its decision was based on a reluctance to be involved with politicians who are actively campaigning, which is why it also asked Florida Attorney General candidate Dan Gelber to remove himself from the gala.
Here's a portion of the just-released statement by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's national office:
After assessing the situation, we determined that honoring these candidates during the campaign season could be construed as an endorsement. We regret the decision to invite them as honorees so close to the election.That's a rather weaselly apology, at least to West, who clearly wanted the foundation to admit that it was pressured by the wife of Ron Klein as well as by deep-pocketed supporters of the incumbent congressman, who threatened to deprive of the foundation of some $200,000 in donations if West were included among the "Finest Couples." That's what West claimed earlier this week anyway.
We have asked Sen. Gelber and Lt. Col. West to step down as honorees, and they agreed to do so.
We apologize to Sen. Gelber, Lt. Col. West, and their families and supporters, and we look forward to working with them in the future.
West also claimed to have an email trail that would prove this conspiracy. But so far, he hasn't shared that with the media.
As we pointed out earlier today, the list of "Finest Couples" is dominated by the rich and politically connected, and it still includes one actively campaigning local politician: Parkland Mayor Michael Udine.