The Republican special election in Florida’s 19th congressional district is less than two weeks away, and Lizbeth Benacquisto has been able to close the gap between her and two of her Republican opponents in the race, Curt Clawson and Paige Kreegel.
Benacquisto has been able to do this with some help from some of her friends, including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and “Big Sugar.”
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports, Benacquisto has been able to garner at least $32,000 of individual campaign donations from one of Florida’s biggest special interest groups, “Big Sugar.”
While there may be nothing wrong with any candidate running for elected office to receive donations from special interest groups, what is peculiar, and raises a red flag, is the fact that Benacquisto sits on the Senate Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin.
This select committee has been tasked with fixing the problems associated with Lake Okeechobee releases and southwest Florida water.
The Miami Herald has written extensively on how Florida sugar, which a federal court recently ruled it had violated Clean Water Act standards, has opposed efforts to fix the Okeechobee release and runoff issues, considering that a significant part of the problem originates from the sugar industry’s practices
Is there a conflict of interest here?
Benacquisto congressional campaign has also received campaign dollars from PAC’s associated with “Big Sugar.”
The American Crystal Sugar PAC gave Benacquisto $5,000, while the American Sugar Cane League of USA PAC, donated $1,000.
In addition to these donations, the Liberty and Leadership Fund, which just so happens to share the same office as Benacquisto’s Senate PAC, has spent money it received from U.S. Sugar, in support of Lizbeth Benacquisto.
U.S. Sugar has donated $75,000 to the Liberty and Leadership Fund. Which In turn, seems to have spent about $456,000 in the FL-CD 19 congressional special election race.
Like we said, this race is coming to a head, and it is virtual dead heat between Benacquisto, Kreegel, and Clawson.
Will Benacquisto’s sweet tooth be enough to push her over the finish line, or will her support from “Big Sugar” turn out to be a campaign tooth decay.