DeSantis-endorsed Rick Nolte admits to felony-level cash campaign contribution, fined $1,250
The Florida Elections Commission apologized for illegally excluding me from the consent order hearing, calling it a mistake. I have no reason to doubt that account. Read the consent order below.
I’ll have more later. But for now, I’m just publishing the consent order that DeSantis-endorsed Polk County School Board Member Rick Nolte has agreed to with the Florida Elections Commission. Note the fact circled in red. Nolte acknowledges that he committed what Florida statutes clearly label as a felony.
But the Elections Commission issues civil, not criminal punishments.
We’ll see what, if anything, the Polk State’s Attorney’s Office decides to do about the felony Nolte now officially acknowledges — especially considering the well-deserved prosecution of criminal CCDF-affiliated James Dunn on misdemeanor charges stemming from illegal campaign texts aimed at School Board Member Lisa Miller.
See order here:
And here is the email from Tim Vaccaro, executive director of the Florida Elections Commission, apologizing for my exclusion from the hearing yesterday. I appreciate the statement and have no reason to doubt its sincerity. Everybody makes mistakes, myself included.
Dear Mr. Townsend:
I am responding to the concerns you have expressed regarding yesterday’s Florida Elections Commission meeting. As you indicate, Chapter 106, F.S., includes a provision permitting the complainant to attend a hearing, although it only provides for brief oral statements by the respondent and Commission counsel at that time.
While you were in the Zoom waiting room, the Commission made an en masse vote to approve all of the pre-probable cause consent orders on the agenda. There was no specific discussion regarding any of those cases. Nevertheless, the statute provides for the complainant to attend the hearing. Please understand there was no corrupt intent to exclude you. It was an honest mistake, and the responsibility is ultimately mine. Ms. Willoughby is a hard-working, honest employee.
To rectify the error, the consent order will be placed on the Commission’s November meeting agenda in order to provide you the opportunity to attend. Based on the Commission’s vote yesterday, the case is now a matter of public record. Therefore, the Commission’s Agency Clerk will send you a scanned copy of the consent order and the audio file from yesterday’s Commission meeting. Thank you.
Florida Elections Commission