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Committees behind Miami election attacks claim they spent no money


Two political organizations out of Tampa that produced mailers last month ripping a candidate seeking Miami's District 2 commission seat have claimed in financial disclosures with the state that they brought in and spent no money in October, a possible violation of state law.

The political committee Working Together for Families sent at least two mailers just ahead of the election attacking Grace Solares over the source of her campaign funds and her career as an activist. An electioneering organization called Committee for Progressive Values also sent mailers attacking Solares, who ultimately finished third in the race, won by Ken Russell.

None of the candidates campaigning for the position claimed association with the mailers, and both organizations showed little to no funds in their coffers as of the start of October. Financial reports due with the state Tuesday were expected to reveal who was attacking Solares. But the state records show both committees filed a report waiver, meaning they had no financial activity.

"I was shocked to see that Progressive Values and Working Together for Families filed waivers of no activity in October given the fact they sent multiple mailers in October attacking Grace Solares," said Christian Ulvert, Solares' political consultant.

Anthony Pedicini, the political operative listed as the registered agent for the Committee for Progressive Values, did not respond to a phone call and text message seeking comment. A call to a number listed for Working Together for Families was likewise not returned.

State law shows political committees and electioneering organizations must report contributions and expenditures. They are prohibited from claiming ownership of a political advertisement that they did not pay for. The Florida Elections Commission can issue civil fines for violations.

"This flies in the face of disclosure requirements and is another example of how we have a broken campaign finance system in our state," Ulvert.

A spokeswoman with the Florida Division of Elections, the entity which accepts campaign reports, has not yet responded with a comment.