Kudos to the Center for Consumer Freedom for publicizing an August decision by the Florida Elections Commission to charge Farm Sanctuary and its co-founder Gene Bauston with 210 counts of violating Florida election laws.
The Florida Elections Commission web site doesn’t have much in the way of details on the case, but a Center for Consumer Freedom press release said the commission voted 9-0 to bring the charges alleging that,
. . . [Farm Sanctuary] illegally acted as the ballot committee’s cashier, accepting donations from Floridians on behalf of the “Amendment 10” campaign’s PAC, and unlawfully promising those donors a federal tax deduction for their campaign contributions.
Farm Sanctuary co-founder Gene Bauston was also personally named as a defendant by the Commission, which found probable cause that Farm Sanctuary’s actions were “willfull.” This distinction indicates that Mr. Bauston and Farm Sanctuary were fully aware that their actions were illegal.
Amendment 10 is the Florida ballot proposal to amend the state constitution to ban pig “gestation crates.”
The Center for Consumer Freedom noted in its press release that while the Florida Elections Commission decision only pertains to actions involving Florida voters, that Farm Sanctuary has apparently been playing a shell game with donations that likely violate election and tax laws.
Basically, Farm Sanctuary appears to have been actively taking in tax free donations using its nonprofit status, and then turning around and donating large sums of money to Floridians for Human Farms which is a political action committee to whom donations are not tax deductible. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, Farm Sanctuary has donated more than $465,000 to Floridians for Humane Farms since September 2000. That makes Farm Sanctuary the single largest source of funds for Floridians for Humane Farms.
The Center for Consumer Freedom has an excellent dossier (PDF file) of documents pertaining to this case.
Biggest Financer of “Amendment 10” Campaign Charged With Election Finance Abuses. Center for Consumer Freedom, October 2002.
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