TLH mayor files complaint against opponent for engaging with ‘dark money’ political groups

The mayor of Tallahassee filed a formal election complaint against his opponent on the Leon County Commission.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:57 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The mayor of Tallahassee filed a formal election complaint against his opponent on the Leon County Commission.

Mayor John Dailey said County Commissioner used “shady and improper” tactics in coordination with “dark money” political groups.

At a press conference in front of the Florida Election Commission building Dailey accused Dozier of coordinating with “at least one dark money political campaign in improper election activity” in an effort to influence voters in the mayoral race.

“The political committee that lists a virtual office in Jacksonville as its address, either failed to properly register with the division of elections or failed to properly disclose itself in the mailers sent to Tallahassee voters,” Dailey said, standing in front of poster boards of screenshots of the election mail in question.

Dailey said the Jacksonville-based political committee “Save Our City“ improperly engaged in electioneering communication outside of the legal window to do so.

Dailey said the Dozier campaign used images from the same photo shoot as her official campaign photos and said her campaign accepted donations “well above the legal limit.” Expenditures that the “Save Our City” committee failed to report.

An attorney for Dailey, Glenn Burhans with the law firm Stearns Miller Weaver said the legal disclosures for the mailer that was received by voters on July 19 was not received and “the law had been violated and we filed this complaint at the earliest possible time.”

Burhans pointed to the identifiers in the mailers, one reading KDM22_02_E, which he said is from the official dozier campaign while the “dark money” mailer was labeled KDM22_003.

“Coordination is allowed under certain circumstances, you couldn’t have coordination if there is an independent expenditure,” Burhans said. “But what’s going on here is that it appears that the Dozier campaign is using this dark money committee to do some of its dirty work by launching a negative campaign using the same vendor.”

Burhans said all of the allegations are “factual” and from what is available in the public reporting.

Dozier, who entered the race in March, said she has not seen the complaint and said there are no inaccuracies in her reporting of campaign expenditures and Dailey’s claims, which she called “a distraction” will be handled by the division of elections.

“This is about John Dailey and the extent to which he is willing to go to keep hold of power,” Dozier said. “It’s shameful.”

Dozier said the questions Dailey has raised are going to be addressed, but said the step to file the complaint “are for completely political reasons.”

Twenty days out from the Florida primaries it’s unknown how long the elections commission will take on its investigation into Dozier’s campaign, or if the investigation will conclude by the primary.

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