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"Clarity?" Incoming FL House Dem leader Darryl Rouson bends truth about secret committee


Darryl Rouson, the incoming House Democratic leader who's under fire for founding a political committee behind the back of the state party, inaccurately portrayed his motivations for the secretive move before his colleagues tonight decide whether to keep him on the job.

Rouson said he founded the so-called "Affiliated Party Committee" for two reasons: “The Democrats had a poor fundraising quarter, they had just rolled out a CFO candidate that they didn’t vet.”

Point number one is tough to dispute. But his second issue about the unvetted CFO candidate, Allie Braswell, doesn't pass the straight-face test.

Here's why: time.

The embarrassing news about Braswell dropped on Aug. 16.

But Rouson founded his committee at least three days before, on Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. according to the date stamp from the Division of Elections. Now, it is true that the letter about the committee is dated afterward, but the official record is the date stamp. The document is here: Download Rouson

And beyond the tight time frame of the date-stamp evidence there's this simple fact: establishing something so big as an APC (there can only be four) is not something you do lightly. You don't just decide to do it on a whim. It takes time and legal advice to draft the paperwork and decide to go forward. It's not like this committee was turned in a day or two.

Throughout it all, Rouson was silent.

And now he's saying that, essentially, he predicted the CFO disaster. So he did this proactively.

Rouson has been a controversial figure for some time in the caucus. Smart as a whip, he also has a reputation of being too smart by half. Some say he's not trustworthy. It's one reason he won the post only after a tie vote. It's a reason some fellow Democrats called him a "divider." It's a reason some wondered if he had a trick up his sleave, a secret deal, when he voted against the Democratic-funding trial lawyers and even pushed a fellow member's vote button to do it (Rouson later lost his job at the Morgan & Morgan firm).

In a touch of irony, Rouson this evening said “I should have provided more clarity.” But he then proceded to give this story that conflicts with the time line. A big lie? Not really. A mistake? Maybe. But when significant numbers of your own caucus question your veracity, you can't mess up like this.

Indeed, Rouson noted that his Democratic critics have “attacked my integrity and honor.”

Hmm. Perhaps they need more "clarity."