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Emails revealed in Tim Ryan lawsuit expose an ECO's secrets

A lawsuit filed by Tim Ryan, who lost a nasty primary to Eleanor Sobel last year, peels back a layer of secrecy about electioneering communication groups. Read the full story at

Ryan sued People for a Better Florida Fund, a group linked to the Florida Medical Association and behind attack ads on Ryan and opponent Ken Gottlieb. The Fund and Sobel's campaign both used the same consultants -- including Steve Vancore -- according to a deposition in the case.

Here are some excerpts from the emails:

* A survey done by VancoreJones Communications in June 2008 described Democratic voters in District 31 as "the most angry, despondent and suspicious group we've ever polled.'' But on the plus side: "Despite being very opinionated they can be easily persuaded.''

* In an Aug. 4 email to Vancore, Sobel writes about "all those jaded politicians who support Gottlieb -- can't we say something like more of the same, back door deals with the good ole boys - long time incumbents-Gunzburger and Wasserman Rubin.''

* The consultants compliment themselves. In one email, Aug. 7 Vancore concludes that the mail pieces are "very f------ awesome.''

*About two weeks before election day, the Fund was nervous about Sobel's prospects. A summary of a poll sent in an email by VancoreJones states "Our campaign is currently on the wrong track, Ryan is moving forward and we appear to have stalled. But that is about to change. ... A few well-placed attack ads should stop him in his tracks.''

* The folks at People for a Better Florida Fund weren't too worried about negative press that appeared before election day. After a Miami Herald article appeared, Tim Stapleton, deputy treasurer of the Fund, concluded in an Aug. 21 email: "The good thing is nobody reads newspapers, except people like us and we are not normal''