Video: Americans for Prosperity Insulted by Florida Senator

AP Photo/Steve Cannon
AP Photo/Steve Cannon

A bit of drama unfolded at Thursday’s committee meeting in Tallahassee, Florida, over SB 1046, a bill which has to do with subsidizing the state’s film industry. Americans For Prosperity opposes the bill as written, because they believe the bill is nothing more than a boondoggle for the entertainment industry and not a good investment for the state of Florida.

During the part of the hearing where the public was allowed to declare their opposition or support for the bill, Americans for Prosperity representative Skylar Zandar respectfully “waved in opposition” to the bill and allowed for others to have their turn.

But instead of allowing Zandar’s objection to come and go, moderate Senator Jack Latvala, who is by no means a grassroots conservative Republican, decided he “would sort of like to hear what [AFP’s] objections are.”

Then, another moderate Republican, Sarasota state Senator Nancy Detert, felt the need to get out some pent-up frustrations she obviously had.

Sounding more like a liberal Democrat than a Republican, Detert took it upon herself to pull out one of the most commonly used Democrat talking points by telling Zandar that he and and AFP were “all on the Koch brother’s payroll.”

Detert wasn’t finished; the state senator from Sarasota County ended her rant against Zandar by saying that AFP and its 130K volunteers around the state of Florida served “absolutely no purpose.”

The visibly upset Detert said the following:

Let me just say this. I appreciate the mailouts you do against me on a monthly basis that say I give money to Hollywood moguls, which of course I don’t have any money to give, and neither does the state of Florida give money to Hollywood moguls. You’re called Americans for Prosperity, you’re all on the Koch brother’s payroll—good for you. I am glad you’re employed because its jobs, jobs, jobs, here in the state of Florida.

So, I hope you are getting paid a lot of money to show up to these meetings and say meaningless things. Obviously, you are for prosperity for yourself and not other people in the industry.

We have over a hundred thousand people in the film industry in the state of Florida, we have multiple film schools where we educated these kids. They would like to work in the state they were probably born in, so you people serve absolutely no purpose.

Keep sending out those mailouts; my fans appreciate it.

Zandar responded by saying that he wishes he “got a ton of money from the Koch brothers,” adding that the Koch brothers were just one of thousands of nationwide donors that contribute to AFP.

Detert took issue with Zandar’s statement that AFP, along with many other 501(c)(4) organizations, did not have to disclose who their donors were. Detert asked, “you are not transparent with your data?”

Zandar responded, “We are not required to be.”

Detert responded by saying, “We can change that.”

So, by the looks of things, Detert takes issue with AFP holding her accountable to her constituents for her own bill. If she’s going to get so heated about this, maybe she should consider better legislation. Is she taking a crack at an entire organization’s First Amendment rights? Her comments about wanting to “change that” make it seem so.

Detert seems unconcerned about where the money comes from as long as her buddies in the film industry get their cut.