The third quarter of 2013 was quite good for Rep. Joe Garcia’s (D-FL) campaign war chest. The Miami Herald reports that Garcia now has over $1,000,000 in his campaign account after a $411,000 campaign haul this past quarter. Garcia’s surprising fundraising prowess, however, comes in spite of the scandals and controversies that have plagued him these past few months (and in reality, his entire political career).
Earlier this year, Garcia was forced to fire his Chief of Staff Jeffrey Garcia (no relation) after it was found he had engaged in fraudulent online absentee ballot registrations during their 2012 congressional run. The scandal was a major black eye for the Democrat who basically based his entire 2012 campaign on accusations that his Republican opponent was corrupt and engaged in voter fraud. But after all the anti-corruption talk during the campaign, Garcia’s Chief of Staff and campaign adviser will be heading to jail for the voter-fraud scheme he and who knows who else came up with to help the Democrat win Florida’s 26th congressional district race.
As if that were not bad enough, Joe apparently still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Recent revelations indicate Garcia has teamed up with former Democrat congressman-turned-lobbyist Bill Delahunt to actively lobby for Cuba’s Castro dictatorship in Washington D.C. These lobbying efforts are aimed at helping Cuba’s totalitarian dictatorship achieve U.S. government authorization to conduct medical trials of a supposed new diabetes drug. Obviously, that is not an easy sell, so Garcia has joined Delahunt in a campaign of hyperbole and falsehoods. For one, even though there are several drugs already on the market that do the same thing, both Delahunt and Garcia are disingenuously claiming the Cuban drug is like nothing available in the U.S. But even more disingenuous is the notion put forth by Garcia that the same Castro government that has been utterly powerless and impotent in ending or even controlling the cholera outbreak plaguing the island for more than a year now is somehow capable of producing a miraculous diabetes drug. However, what makes this particular scandal even more troubling is the mystery surrounding this alleged drug and just who is behind it and funding this lobbying push. No one knows yet just who or what is behind this sudden push.
And for some icing on the multilayer scandal cake, you have Rep. Joe Garcia working with Castro regime supporters in Key West to bring intelligence officials from the Cuban dictatorship’s Cuban Interests Section in D.C. to speak at the San Carlos Institute in Key West, an iconic and almost-sacred spot for South Florida’s Cuban exile community. Completely ignoring his Cuban exile constituents (and the board members of the San Carlos Institute), Garcia instead has chosen to fight and expend the little if any political capital he has promoting events featuring Cuban spies and propagandists. Instead of defending the sanctity of the San Carlos Institute and standing up for decency and justice, Joe Garcia is working diligently to facilitate travel for officials of the Cuban dictatorship so they can come to Key West and sully an institution so important to South Florida’s Cuban-American community.
So, with all these dark clouds of scandals and questionable moves hovering over Rep. Garcia, how did he manage such a successful fundraising push these last three months? Well, in Joe’s case, it turns out he has some friends in high places — or better said, he has some friends in very low places. Namely, American business partners, supporters, and lobbyists for the Castro dictatorship.
Here is a partial list of these Friends of Fidel who contributed to Joe Garcia’s campaign this past quarter:
- Armando Garcia (Cuba travel agency) – $3700
- Alvaro Fernandez (pro-Castro publication) – $1000
- Maria Aral (Cuba travel agency) – $3500
- Xiomara Levy (Cuba travel agency) – $3500
- Silvia Wilhem (Castro regime apologist) – $500
- Michael Zuccato (Cuba travel agency) – $5000
- Tony Zamora (Castro regime apologist) – $850
- Bill Delahunt (Lobbyist) – $2500
- Stuart Z. Grossman (Attorney hosting party for Castro officials in Key West) – $2000
The average dollar amount contributed by the almost 400 contributors reported in Garcia’s campaign finance report for this past quarter comes out to approximately $1,000 per contribution. However, for the nine Friends of Fidel above, the average contribution is over $2,500 — two and a half times the average amount.
So what does all of this tell us about Rep. Joe Garcia? For one, it tells us that Garcia continues to be very popular among the pro-Castro dictatorship crowd here in the U.S. to the tune of extracting contributions that are more than double his average campaign contribution.
And sadly, it also tells us that Joe Garcia has not changed much. In fact, he has not changed at all. He still remains the same smarmy and shady Joe Garcia who happily and readily accepts campaign cash from friends, supporters, and business partners of Cuba’s murderous and repressive dictatorship.
Does Joe return the favor for his Friends of Fidel contributors and work to further their pro-Castro agenda? No one outside Joe’s circle can say that for sure, but when you look at his actions and you consider who and what he fights and lobbies for, you get a pretty good idea.
Our good friend Javier Manjares has more on Joe Garcia’s pro-Castro campaign contributors at The Shark Tank.