As controversy engulfed Rep. Darryl Rouson's decision to
create a separate fund-raising committee to help House Democrats, the
St. Petersburg lawmaker sent an email to his fellow caucus members,
explaining his actions. In it, he faults Florida Democratic Party
Chairwoman Allison Tant for "overreaction" and "impetuous actions" that led to the dismissals of party fund-raisers Jeff Ryan and Chris Mitchell.
Rouson sent this message at 9:25 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5:
I am writing you after receiving a letter by email from Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant. Her letter was centered around the Affiliated Party Committee that was opened on behalf of the Florida Democratic House Caucus. This was done pursuant to lawful authority.
As incoming leader, a trust was placed in me to raise funds, be a good steward of your resources and work hard to elect more House Democrats. I am not confused about this.
I ran on a platform of transitional leadership, not transactional. A leadership that would do the courageous, not merely follow convention for sake of status quo. I committed to protect the members that are at-risk and build an organization that will get this caucus to a majority. Period. This is my only goal. This is my only motivation.
For this to happen, we must be accountable and responsible for our own performance, including expenditure decisions.
We set up the committee in August after carefully determining that we must have more responsibility over how funds are directed subject to all reporting requirements including that of members of this caucus. I was and am perfectly willing as always, to answer your questions now or when we returned for committee week.
I did not act without thought or deliberation. Nor did I act without consultation. And I have tried to act in the best interest of this caucus, raising funds, returning members and increasing our number. I regret impetuous actions by FDP, hasty firing of hard working staff with a purpose to make public an internal matter.
Leader Thurston and his leadership circle have asked that I reconsider certain actions and I indicated I would do so.
This overreaction today by FDP is an example of why we must continue in this direction for the long term viability of our electoral success as a caucus. In a private meeting with Allison Tant yesterday she could have discussed this matter but she chose a public forum to air an internal matter.
I would not join in a decision to terminate Jeff Ryan because his work ethic has been impeccable for the last four months. Now, without consulting, Chris Mitchell has been terminated while overseeing special election operations and candidate recruitment.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns. Together we will continue to build towards the majority.
Darryl E. Rouson, Esq.
-- Steve Bousquet