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Koch brothers sponsorship of Integrity Florida report forces board member resignation

Integrity Florida released its report this morning on the"pay-to-play" practices of Enterprise Florida's contracting process but a disclaimer at the end of the report has drawn the ire of some members of the group's board. It notes that the report was sponsored by the Koch brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity.

Martin Dyckman, the retired associated editor for the Tampa Bay Times and long-time columnist and reporter, resigned his position on the all-volunteer board because of the sponsorship. Dyckman said he objected to the decision to accept money to finance the research but would have preferred that they accept contributions for general funding as other sources have done.

"I was very deeply concerned about the idea of any special entity being able to sponsor any research,'' Dyckman told the Herald/Times on Tuesday. "As much as I personally detest Americans for Prosperity, I would not have any grounds for objections if they accept support for the organization in general...This creates the perception that a well-researched report is an attack by Americans For Prosperity."

Integrity Florida is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute and government watchdog. Its board members include Tea Party officials, a member of the League of Women Voters, the former mayor of gainesville and the president of the First Amendment Foundation.

Dyckman said he asked Krassner to indicate on the report that not all members of the board agreed with the sponsorship of the report. He said was disappointed in the decision by Integrity Florida head, Dan Krassner, to refuse that request and to accept the financing but "it is a step too far for me."

Krassner has signed a contract with AFP and said he notified the board of the arrangement. 

"We told them we've approach Americans For Prosperity for funding and they are the sponsor of the report," he said. 


He noted that Integrity Florida posts its funding sources on its web site and that is "offering more transparency than most research organizations in this town,'' he said. 
He also noted that both Democrats and Republicans have interests to protect when it comes to Enterprise Florida contracts. 


Dyckman commended Integrity Florida for its work and acknowledged that funding is difficult for non-profit research organizations. "I realize it is hard to get the financing to do this work but that is not good enough to undermine the objectivity of this report,'' he said.