Wasserman Schultz Re-Election Bid Fueled By Half-Million-Dollar Investment From Super PAC with Ties to Sugar, Fossil Fuel Industries

Hollywood, FL –  Only weeks after she was forced to resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee, incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz enlisted the help of her powerful friends in Florida’s sugar industry and that of a hedge-fund manager with extensive ties to the fossil fuels industry.

Patriot Majority PAC, a Washington D.C. based Super PAC, is slated to spend over half a million dollars in broadcast and direct mail supporting her reelection bid.  According to its latest filing, Patriot Majority PAC received $250,000 dollars in funding from Donald Sussman, founder and Chief Investment Officer of Paloma Partners. Paloma Partners is a hedge fund with over $100 million dollars in energy and fossil fuel investments.  If one takes into account further interests in associated industries like plastics, Paloma Partners may have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in industries with crucial stakes in fossil fuels.

Not surprisingly, during last week’s debate between Wasserman Schultz and her Democratic primary opponent, Tim Canova, the incumbent revealed she is open to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract fossil fuels in Florida.  Fracking has been tied to extensive ecological impacts in other states, including water contamination, pollution and the possible triggering of earthquakes. This comes on the heels of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration adopting rules to permit higher levels of toxins in our water, including many of the same toxins used in the fracking process.

Patriot Majority PAC also received $25,000 in funding from Florida Crystals, a privately held company that is part of FLO-SUN, the sugar conglomerate owned by the Fanjul brothers and one of the main sugar producers in Florida.  The sugar industry has come under criticism for their role in the toxic blue-green algae blooms that have afflicted numerous lakes, rivers and beaches in southern Florida.  The industry has also impeded efforts to restore the natural flow of Lake Okeechobee into the Everglades, thereby renewing the aquifer for South Florida.  Wasserman Schultz has voted time and again for hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies for these sugar companies.

“This Super PAC’s activities on behalf of my opponent are a prime example of what is wrong with our campaign financing system,” said FL-23 Congressional candidate Tim Canova.  “Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been able to call upon her allies in Big Sugar and the fossil fuels industry to come to her aid in this race, but we know we are primed for victory because we are supported and funded by everyday Americans, not corporate interests.  Wasserman Schultz can say she’s against Citizen’s United and that she’s an environmental champion.  But it’s just another example of her saying one thing and doing another.”

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Canova Successfully Promotes His Vision, Makes Compelling Case Against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in First Primary Debate

Hollywood, FL – In a one-hour debate broadcast this morning over WFOR CBS 4 and moderated by Jim DeFede, Democratic Congressional candidate Tim Canova successfully laid out his optimistic, progressive vision for District 23 while contrasting it with incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s track record of failed leadership in Washington.

Many issues of crucial importance were touched upon during the encounter.  When questioned about the Democratic National Committee email scandal Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who served as DNC Chairwoman until her forced resignation less than a month ago, once again attempted to parry and deflect.  She failed to satisfactorily account for the DNC staff’s behavior under her leadership, which included attempting to tip the scales in favor of one presidential candidate versus the other and using party resources and time to monitor and strategize against her primary opponent.

On Social Security, Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried unsuccessfully to portray herself as engaged, active and supportive of struggling seniors and the disabled.  She repeated her disingenuous assertion that she is not dragging her feet on a host of Social Security enhancement initiatives currently in the House of Representatives when, in fact, of the seven bills she touts as showing her commitment to the issue, five were co-sponsored by her in recent months and only after drawing a primary challenger in our district.

Tim Canova successfully confronted Wasserman Schultz on the issue of campaign contributions.  Whereas his campaign is entirely funded by small contributions from everyday Americans, her campaign and PACs have been predominantly funded by large contributions coming from the very wealthy as well as corporate interests like payday lenders, the sugar industry, Wall Street and promoters of free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would ship American jobs overseas.

Tim Canova also talked about how we must protect our environment from greedy corporations who want to ravage our natural resources for profit, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz endorsed fracking in South Florida.

Canova also restated his resolute support for Amendment 2, a measure that would legalize the medical use of cannabis in the State of Florida.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz continued to vacillate and equivocate.  She opposed Amendment 2 in 2014, and still will not definitively support this constitutional amendment, which will be on the ballot in Florida in November.

“After months of trying I was pleased to have finally gotten this first opportunity to discuss the issues face to face with my primary opponent,” said Canova.  “I hope this debate is the first of many we will have over the next two weeks in order to give the residents of District 23 every opportunity to compare our positions and make the best choice for this seat.”

Tim Canova has already accepted multiple additional debate offers, including from AmericaTeve, a leading Hispanic television outlet in South Florida, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a leading civil rights organization first presided by Dr. Martin Luther King.

“I hope she will accept to do additional debates in general, but in particular those focused on issues of special importance to both the Hispanic and African-American communities,” Canova said.  “As wide-ranging as today’s debate was, I believe there is still much more to discuss, and we owe it to these groups to have debates that zero in on the issues that are of greatest relevance and concern to them.”

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Tim Canova FL-23 Democratic Congressional Candidate Releases Two New Television Spots

Hollywood, FL – As the final full week of the campaign for the Congressional seat representing Florida’s 23rd District begins, Democratic candidate Tim Canova releases two new television ads that will run on local cable and broadcast outlets.

The first spot, entitled “Integrity Matters,” reminds voters of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s controversial tenure and subsequent resignation from the leadership of the Democratic Party.  It then goes on to detail other ways in which she has let down her constituents, including taking campaign contributions from payday lenders, the sugar industry and special interests pushing for the Trans Pacific Partnership.  It ends with a call for our community to “do better, because integrity matters.”  You can view the ad here.

The second spot, named “Clear Water,” identifies Big Sugar as one of the main drivers behind the toxic blue-green algae ecological disaster, and reminds voters that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one of many Florida politicians that have received large campaign contributions by polluters like the sugar interests to “look the other way.” You can view the ad here.

Tim Canova will face incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary on August 30, 2016.  Early voting has already begun in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

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Wasserman Schultz’s Role In The Iran Nuclear Deal Challenged by Congressional Challenger Tim Canova

Hollywood, FL— In yesterday’s debate with Nova Southeastern University law professor, Tim Canova, the former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz attempted to defend her stance on the controversial Iran Nuclear Deal – a deal in which she was “mealy mouthed” and eventually voted for the deal and against Senator Chuck Schumer and her Florida Congressional Leaders: Ted Deutsch and Lois Frankel. Tim Canova, her Congressional challenger noted his unequivocal defense of Israel and said he would have sided with Senator Schumer and Representatives Deutsch and Frankel.

Wasserman Schultz’s controversial vote on the Iran Nuclear Deal raises new questions over a New York Times article published May 5th, 2016. In thisarticle, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for U.S. President Barack Obama and key Advisor on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, boasted of the White House communications plan to sell the American people on what he admitted was a cooked deal with Iran. Since Wasserman Schultz claimed to have more access to the Iran Nuclear Deal negotiations, this raises serious questions of her role.

In particular, Rhodes boasted about creating a “false narrative” that the moderates were in charge in Iran, when in fact it was the hard-liner religious mullahs who were still calling the shots.  The false narrative was used by the White House to convince lawmakers and the public that the Iranian regime could be trusted to live up to its international obligations. The regime showed its true nature soon after the nuclear agreement went into effect when it began testing medium-range ballistic missiles potentially capable of delivering nuclear warheads to targets in Israel, in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 (approved in June 2010).

Ben Rhodes played a quiet but important role behind the scenes. But it was Debbie Wasserman Schultz who, in the lead-up to voting for the deal, touted her insider status and access to key strategic information as the reason for her vote in support of the flawed Iran nuclear deal.

As Wasserman Schultz has told CNN’s Jake Tapper (at the 4:00 minute mark inthis clip), “I was in the Situation Room 20 times on this deal… I was given the most thorough review that any member was given access to.” 

Her congressional challenger Tim Canova asks, “Was Wasserman Schultz part of the plan to sell a bad deal to the American people, or did she get duped herself?  Was she distracted by her other full-time job as head of the Democratic National Committee, or protecting that position by going along with the White House on a bad deal?  Either way, Floridians deserve much more effective and reliable leadership from their elected representatives.”

Wasserman Schultz announced her support for the Iran nuclear deal in a Miami Herald op-ed last year.

That’s after she told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room that she would carefully consider her vote, because “it’s very, very important to get this right.”

WOLF BLITZER: Are you going to vote for this Iran nuclear deal? You’re a member of the House.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think there are — there’s merit to the deal. There’s a lot of merit to the deal, but there’s also a legitimate cause for concern and I think this is a decision that no member of Congress should make lightly. You know, I found it particularly outrageous that you had some Republicans clearly who had not read the deal, who had not thoroughly examined it, who came out in less than 24 hours from this being announced in opposition to it. That’s just not responsible, nor would it be responsible for me to come out in favor of it that quickly. I want to take my time. My constituents at home have very strong opinions. It’s a very well-educated, pro-Israel district and I have respect from them and their opinion and I want to seek it while also making sure I fully understand all its implications, and as a pro-Israel legislator myself, it’s very, very important to get this right.

“I agree with one thing Wasserman Schultz said, that it’s incredibly important to get this right,” continued Canova, who has lived, worked and studied in Israel. “Iran is the greatest threat to Israel’s existence today. The Iranian regime has pledged to destroy the Jewish state and it continues to fund and arm Hezbollah and Hamas with rockets and missiles aimed at Israel everyday. That’s why it’s so troubling that Wasserman Schultz may have known the truth about the nature of the Iranian regime and continued to risk Israel’s security. She needs to explain to her constituents how she got this so wrong. Was she suckered into a bad deal? Too busy engaged in party politics? Or did she know the truth all along?”

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Dragging Her Feet on Updating and Expanding Social Security

Hollywood, FL – Tim Canova, the Nova Southeastern University law professor, challenging Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the August 30th Democratic primary for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, has accused Wasserman Schultz of dragging her feet on supporting increases in Social Security benefits.

In response, Wasserman Schultz’s campaign issued a press release on August 11th accusing Canova of distorting her record, and citing to three bills she has cosponsored that would increase the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries.  However, her statement fails to mention that two of these bills were introduced more than a year ago and that Wasserman Schultz only cosponsored them a month ago, on July 14, 2016.  Both of those bills were cosponsored by other members of the Florida delegation about a year prior to Wasserman Schultz.

Wasserman Schultz cosponsored the third bill, H.R. 4144, the SAVE Benefits Act, in December 2015.  Moreover, Wasserman Schultz was always the last member of the Florida Democratic congressional delegation to formally endorse any of these bills.

The Wasserman Schultz press release also touts three additional bills and one resolution that she cosponsored that would expand Social Security benefits for seniors.  Once again, the timing of her cosponsorship of these bills and resolution presents a similar pattern.  Despite these bills and resolutions having been introduced at least a year prior, Wasserman Schultz did not cosponsor three of these until June 7, 2016 or later, and the fourth in April 2016.  All of these cosponsorships occurred well after Tim Canova began criticizing Wasserman Schultz for dragging her feet on these issues.

Of the seven bills Wasserman Schultz lists as proof of her strong support of Social Security, five were not cosponsored by her until at least June 6, 2016 and four of these bills were sponsored on either July 14 or July 16, 2016.

Moreover, Canova has criticized Wasserman Schultz for failing to update the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, a Social Security program for the poorest seniors and disabled living below the poverty line on less than $11,700 a year.  Even now, Wasserman Schultz has still not cosponsored the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2015, a measure Canova has been supporting for more than a year.

Perhaps instead of calling Tim Canova a liar, the Wasserman Schultz campaign should be thanking him for pushing her to do her job.

It is much the same with the payday lending issue, in which Wasserman Schultz started the year backing a Republican bill to prevent President Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from regulating payday loans, only to walk back her position after weeks of criticism from Canova.

Here’s the list of Social Security legislation touted by Wasserman Schultz, along with their dates of introduction and her cosponsorship, as reflected on the Congress.Gov website:

H.R. 1811, Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act
Introduced:  April 15, 2016
Cosponsored:  July 14, 2016

H.R. 3351, CPI-E Act of 2015
Introduced:  July 29, 2015
Cosponsored:  July 14, 2016

H.R. 4144, SAVE Benefits Act
Introduced:  December 1, 2015
Cosponsored:  December 1, 2015

H.R. 1391, Social Security 2100 Act
Introduced:  March 17, 2015
Cosponsored:  July 14, 2016

H.R. 3377, Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2015
Introduced:  July 29, 2015
Cosponsored:  July 16, 2016

House Resolution 393
Introduced:  July 29, 2015
Cosponsored:  June 7, 2016

H.R. 973, Social Security Fairness Act of 2015
Introduced:  February 13, 2015
Cosponsored:  April 12, 2016

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