December 05, 2016

Could Allen West get a job in Trump administration?

Trump (2)

Former Florida Rep. Allen West met Monday with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, discussing "how maybe I can continue to serve my country."

West, a Republican firebrand who now lives in Texas, entered Trump Tower in New York holding a patch-adorned camouflage tote bag, and cracking jokes to repoerters.

"I'm just here to talk about the weather," said West, a tea-party favorite who, after a single term, lost reelection in 2012 to Patrick Murphy.

When West left the building more than 90 minutes later, he told reporters he had sat down with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, National Security Adviser-designate Michael Flynn, and Deputy National Security Adviser-designate KT McFarland.

"We talked about some national security issues, and, you know, how maybe I can continue to serve my country," West said. He added that he got no specific job offer.

"They know my reputation very well," he said. "I'm just a simple soldier, and I'm the third of four generations that served this country -- going back to my father in World War II -- and we still have a relative of ours that is continuing to serve in the Army now.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

July 19, 2016

Live, from Cleveland, it's Florida's 2018 GOP governor's race


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The Republican race for Florida governor in 2018 began, as successful courtships often do, through the stomach.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam served up a crowd-pleasing breakfast of chicken and waffles, cheesy grits and -- of course -- Florida orange juice -- for delegates at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. The grub (and the drinks, mimosas and Bloody Marys) came with big-name GOP guests -- and the unwritten acknowledgment that Putnam intends to be on the next midterm-election ballot.

Not that he admitted to it.

"We're having a wonderful time as Commissioner of Agriculture and focused on one election at a time," he told reporters, using the royal "we" often employed by well-versed political candidates.

He didn't have to announce his plans, though. Everyone in the room at the Embassy Suites-Rockside in the Cleveland suburbs was in on them.

"It sort of laid the foundation of what his intentions are -- as if everyone in Florida didn't know," said state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez of Miami. "He definitely ventured from the confines of agriculture!"

The only time Putnam talked about agriculture was when he joked about the breakfast spread, several notches above the average hotel intercontinental buffet.

"I know that a number of you were partying like Republicans last night -- actually partying like Democrats," he told attendees. "Now you're paying for it. You can drink your vegetables here at the Bloody Mary bar. It may not be Florida-grown, but it's Florida-inspired."

Instead, Putnam portrayed Florida a state other people dream about living in -- which he attributed to years of Republican control in Tallahassee. Under prior Democratic rule, he contended, the state was "turning prisoners loose after serving 33 percent of their sentence."

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July 23, 2015

Alan Grayson fundraises off fictional Allen West candidacy

Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, that tea partier Democrats love to hate, is the inspiration behind two of U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s fundraising pleas in his U.S. Senate race.

“At 3:23 am this morning, there was a tremor in the Force. No, it was not the planet Alderaan being destroyed – that doesn’t happen until Episode IV. The tremor was caused by another e-mail that landed in my inbox touting Allen West for Senate,” states an email by Grayson who is running against a fellow Democrat in the House, Patrick Murphy. “This is the same Allen West who once called me “despicable,” “demeaning” and “disgusting” – the Triple Crown of insults starting with the letter “D”. Perhaps West was angling for the Nobel Prize in Literature, if it were awarded by Sesame Street.”

This is based on a Denver-based group that is fundraising for West for the Senate in Florida, Politico reported. But West, who lost to Murphy in 2012, isn’t running in Florida -- he moved to Texas last year to become the CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

“No, he is absolutely not running,” Catherine Daniell, a spokesperson at the center told the Miami Herald. “He lives in Texas now. The “fundraising” effort is a scam, which he says is disgusting.”

But that hasn’t stopped Grayson from citing his name to drum up dollars.

“West thinks that I’m a Marxist. (Karl, not Groucho.) How do I know that? Because he said so,” Grayson wrote in a fundraising email.

At a town hall meeting in 2012, West said that about 78 to 81 House Democrats “are members of the Communist Party. ... It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Grayson along with some other Florida Democrats are members of that caucus.

"Trust me -- if a member of Congress applied to join the Communist Party we would know about it," Libero Della Piana, vice president of the Communist Party USA told PolitiFact Florida at the time. "It would set up some red flags -- pardon the pun."

It raised red flags for PolitiFact Florida too -- earning the claim a rating of Pants on Fire

June 29, 2015

Annette Taddeo cites bogeyman Allen West in fundraising email

Former Congressman Allen West is long gone from Florida, but hey when it’s fundraising time is there any better bogeyman for a Democratic candidate?

From a fundraising plea today by Annette Taddeo who is running for Congress in a Miami-Dade/Monroe County swing district against first-term U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami:

“Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Luján wouldn’t be emailing you if it weren’t important. And believe us: tomorrow’sdeadline is critical. Here’s why:

FIRST: We told you how Congressman Carlos Curbelo has the backing of the Koch brothers and right wing special interests groups.

NOW: We just learned former Congressman Allen West has pledged to support Rep. Curbelo and his reelection campaign.

This is the very same Allen West who said Obama supporters were “a threat to the gene pool” and made numerous inflammatory comments about women.”

West was elected in a Broward/Palm Beach district as part of a tea party wave in 2010 but after redistricting lost his seat in a newly drawn district to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2012. After losing the election, West became a Fox news contributor and then in November 2014 took a job in Texas as CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

March 26, 2015

Allen West's claim about the EPA and backyard BBQs

Hands off our backyard barbecues, says former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.

West -- now the president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas-based free-market think tank -- leapt to the defense of home-cooked meat in a signed item posted on his personal website on March 19, 2015.

The article was headlined, "Two things the EPA wants to regulate in your life," and referred to alleged interest by the Environmental Protection Agency in backyard barbecues and hotel shower water. Here’s an excerpt of West’s post:

"Ladies and gents, I just cannot ascertain when the absurdity of this current administration will cease. The weather is finally warming up and one of the rituals of spring and summer is the family BBQ. Well, it is for now until the Environmental Protection Agency has its way.

"As reported by Fox News, ‘the EPA is funding a $15,000 University of California-Riverside study to look at the particulate emissions you breathe when grilling over an open flame. … Why is the EPA concerned about BBQ grill emissions? Who are these people and why are they using one single dime of American taxpayer dollars for this tomfoolery?"

A reader saw West’s claim about barbecue and asked us to check it out. So we took a look at whether West was correct that the EPA wants to regulate the family BBQ. Turn to Louis Jacobson's fact-check from PunditFact.

January 05, 2015

Jeb Bush, Rick Scott, Allen West made claims that were in PolitiFact Florida's Top 10 in 2014

As we head into Gov. Rick Scott's second term, PolitiFact Florida reflects on what our readers found most popular last year, we noticed an interesting trend -- many of our most widely read fact-checks for 2014 weren’t election-related at all. Whatever could pique readers’ interest more than gubernatorial candidates’ records on education spending or jobs numbers?

The Top 10 included a claim by former Gov. Jeb Bush about economic/social mobility, a claim by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz about Hobby Lobby and birth control, claims by former U.S. Rep. Allen West about illegal immigrants and lead bullets and our story about Fangate, the famous debate between Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott. 

Turn to PolitiFact Florida find out which were the top 10 items of the year.

January 25, 2013

Allen West launches foundation

Former U.S. Rep. Allen West has launched a nonprofit Allen West Foundation. His spokesperson released no details about the Boca Raton-foundation. West,  who lost in November to Democrat Patrick Murphy, transferred $250,000 in unspent money from his campaign to the foundation. He also transferred the same amount to American Legacy Guardians which shares the same PO Box as the foundation. We were unable to get an immediate explanation from his spokeswoman about the connection between the two entities. West now works for PJ Media.

December 18, 2012

Allen West's final weekly newsletter faces the Truth-O-Meter

The first week of December in Congress was dominated by news about the fiscal cliff. So you will forgive us if we overlooked this other tidbit tucked into the final weekly newsletter sent by U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens.

"This week we voted in the House of Representatives to remove the word ‘lunatic’ from federal law," wrote West, who lost a close race to Democrat Patrick Murphy in District 18 in Florida’s Treasure Coast. "However, that does not mean there isn't plenty of lunacy going on in the workings of the federal government!"

We can’t fact-check the amount of lunacy in Washington, D.C., but we couldn’t resist looking into whether the House actually voted to remove the word "lunatic" from federal law. Read PolitiFact for the full story.

December 06, 2012

Change in political climate: Patrick Murphy talks global warming

One measure of the changing political climate in Florida and Washington: Democratic U.S. Rep Patrick Murphy, a political novice who ousted Republican Allen West in a tight race, made an impromptu stop at a four-county climate change conference in Jupiter on Monday to pledge his support for legislation addressing the issue.

Murphy said he would be a "passionate advocate" for Everglades and other environmental issues in Washington, subjects largely dismissed by West, perhaps best known for fiery rhetoric that had made him a Tea Party favorite. Murphy, an avid angler who grew up in the Florida Keys, said he had no doubts about the risks posed by rising sea levels.

"Unfortunately we have far too many politicians who continue to bury their heads in the sand and pretend its not happening," Murphy said in brief remarks to at fourth annual Southeast Florida regional climate leadership summit, which was attended by political leaders, planners and others from seven counties.

After a three-week legal challenge and a partial recount, West conceded the race for Florida House District 18, which covers northeastern Palm Beach County and Martin and St. Lucie counties.

--- by Curtis Morgan

November 20, 2012

Allen West's not-so-gracious concession in loss to Rep-elect Patrick Murphy

A statement from soon-to-be-former Rep. Allen West:

For two weeks since Election Day, we have been working to ensure every vote is counted accurately and fairly.  We have made progress towards that goal, thanks to the dedication of our supporters and their unrelenting efforts to protect the integrity of the democratic process.  While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.

Continue reading "Allen West's not-so-gracious concession in loss to Rep-elect Patrick Murphy" »