Rep. Matt Gaetz allegedly connected to Florida shill candidate scheme – WPLG Local 10

MIAMI – Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, already part of a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations, is now tied to a shill candidate in a Florida Senate election, according to the New York Times.

There are connections between that ghost candidate in Central Florida and the same dark money that funded the two South Florida shill candidates a Local 10 News investigation uncovered last fall.

Those candidates are Alex Rodríguez , who ran in Senate District 37, and Celso Alfonso, who ran in District 39,

Rodriguez has since been criminally charged.

The alleged mastermind and financier behind the production is resigned Florida Senator Frank Artiles.

Bogus campaign records for both shill candidates were retrieved from Artiles’ home in a raid last month.

A third shill candidate, now tied to Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is Jestine Iannotti, who ran in Central Florida District 9.

Local 10 News found the money trail that indicated all three candidates were funded by the same dark money.


Its starts with two political action committees that were opened the very same day, On Oct. 2; Our Florida PAC, backing South Florida candidates Rodríguez and Alfonso, and The Truth PAC for Central Florida candidate Iannotti.

The next day, both PACs reported their one and only contribution: an untraceable Atlanta company Proclivity that would suddenly change in the records to the also untraceable Denver company Grow United.

Two days after that, on Oct. 5, both PACs make their one and only expenditure: the combined half-million dollars to a printer company called Advance Impression.

The resulting campaign flyers looked identical in graphics, but for the three candidates’ names, making the no-party candidates appealing to democratic voters that they were meant to confuse.

The printer is located in Clermont, but the owners are from Miami; the mother and stepdad of a republican strategist connected to both PACs, both of which have since been disabled.


Congressman Gaetz is allegedly connected to the Central Florida shill scheme, according to the New York Times.

But it’s that dark money, not the scheme, that makes a shill illegal, as the arrests of former senator Artiles and shill Rodríguez show so far.


Ex-Sen. Frank Artiles’ home raided in shill candidate investigation

Read the warrant alleging ex-Florida Sen. Frank Artiles paid shill candidate to dupe voters

Ex-Florida Sen. Frank Artiles walks out of jail facing felony campaign finance charges


Democrats want new election after sham candidate arrests, but where was the outrage before this case?

Former Senator Frank Artiles faces new charges in alleged shill candidate scheme

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