Politics | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Internet Cafe Company Donates Hundreds of Thousands to Florida Politicos


The company at the center of Florida's internet cafe sting donated nearly $300,000 for last year's general election to the state's candidates, political action committees and major parties.

Allied Veterans internet cafes were raided Wednesday in Florida for illegal gaming.

That same day, authorities also raided the parent company in Oklahoma, International Internet Technologies.

State Representative Matt Gaetz, who opposes internet cafes, received a $500 campaign contribution from that company.

"I was unaware at the time that the internet technology company was an internet cafe," said Gaetz. "I assumed it was an internet technology company," he said.

Gaetz is far from alone.

According to state records, for the 2012 General Election Cycle alone, International Internet Technologies donated close to $300,000 to candidates for office, political action committees and the two major parties.

The Republican Party of Florida received more than $53,000 and the Florida Democratic Party $67,000.

"I think that those who have accepted money from these companies that we now know more about ought to give the money back," said Gaetz.

Gaetz says because he had no campaign opposition, he's already donated the money to charity.

But Representative Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda told us she spent her $500 contribution from the company on her campaign.

"I have no doubt that she was likely in the same position as many legislators," said Gaetz.

Speaker Will Weatherford, Senate Rules Chair John Thrasher and "Citizens for Integrity in Government" are among the recipients of contributions from the internet cafe company.

Gaetz says candidates for office can have hundreds of contributors.

He says you can't do background checks on every one of them.


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