Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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The Buzz 9/29/11

POWELL GIVES UP JOB John Powell, a Republican candidate for Escambia County Sheriff, resigned on Sept. 14 from his position as the director of the Florida Division of Alcohol, Beverage & Tobacco after an investigation of a planned fundraiser disclosed that the event would involve lobbyists for the industries that ABT regulates.

Scott Miller, whose company, Political Matrix, helps manage Powell’s campaign, denied on Rick’s Blog that his candidate’s resignation had anything to do with the fundraiser.

“John Powell resigned because he cannot run an effective campaign and give his post as the head of the ABT the attention that it deserves,” wrote Miller. “There is no credible source that would say otherwise and you should know better.”

The credible sources are the documents that Powell posted on his campaign website, JohnPowell4Sheriff.com. There is a “Point Paper” that shows, in August, Powell was approached by two lobbyist — Nick Iarossi and Scott Ross — who offered to host a fundraiser for Powell in Tallahassee on Sept. 14.

Iarossi lobbies for several clients, including the casino Las Vegas Sands Corp. Ross also lobbies for Las Vegas Sands.

Powell told the investigator that he and his campaign manager had no oversight over the invitation list. He said Iarossi and Ross were told of the restrictions prohibiting him from accepting any contributions from individuals, companies or businesses regulated by his division. The email invitation included the disclosure.

Powell met with senior leadership on Sept. 7 to request additional guidance. The upcoming fundraiser was discussed but no specifics given about the invitees. “Powell was advised to err on the side of caution and consider perceptions when making campaign decisions,” wrote the investigator.

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