Margaret Good may have violated federal election law…again.
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Here we go again: Margaret Good may have violated federal election law
May 14, 2020
Evidence suggests Democrat Margaret Good is using her state representative office resources to support her campaign for Congress.
Screenshots provided to Florida Politics show at various times Good’s campaign Facebook page listed Good’s state office phone number as contact info. The Sarasota Democrat now serves in the Florida House representing District 72.
Kay Mathers, Good’s District Secretary, was listed as an administrator for the page. And several times, posts have encouraged followers to call Good’s state office or have shared letters sent in her capacity as an elected official.
“Margaret Good clearly does not understand that all federal candidates must keep a legal wall that separates their political operation from their official operation,” said Jessica Furst Johnson, a Washington, D.C.-based election law attorney who has worked with Republican PACS.
“Ms. Good is in direct violation of federal law specifically prohibiting the use of state resources to support her federal campaign. As a lawyer herself, Ms. Good should certainly be aware of the rules, and should be held personally responsible for her campaign’s failure to follow the law.”
The criticism comes weeks after Good came under fire for participating in a tele-Town Hall illegally paid for by a state political committee. That was revealed in campaign emails after fliers promoting the town hall and crediting the New Day Florida committee were hastily scrubbed from social media. That came after a website the originally listed New Day Florida in a disclaimer was changed following inquiries from Florida Politics.
Notably, Mathers is no longer listed as a team member on the campaign Facebook page, and the phone number for Good’s office no longer appears as a contact on the “About” page.
Good is challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican seeking his eighth term. Max Goodman, Buchanan’s campaign manager, declined to comment.
But some expert said real question remains whether Mathers in fact was working on the campaign Facebook page while working in the state office. Many posts on the page went up during business hours and promote actions Good has taken as a state Representative.
Nancy Watkins, a veteran Republican campaign treasurer in Florida, said it could be difficult to prove Mathers worked from her government office or while she was being paid by the state.
“It’s not a problem as long as you are not on government property and doing it on volunteer time,” Watkins said. “If it’s being done from the office then it’s a huge problem.”Furst Johnson pointed to a federal law making clear only candidates paid by campaigns can act on behalf of federal candidates.
That has often led to long-time federal officials floating between legislative jobs and campaign positions, but not holding those jobs for simultaneous periods of time.
But Watkins said trouble over a violation still likely depends on proving Mathers worked on the campaign side while she was being paid by the state office.
Good’s campaign was recently taken over by a new campaign manager.