Alan Grayson Backing Florida Tea Party

A blockbuster new video report by Tony Pipitone, a WKMG reporter in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday night exposes financial links between Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and funding for the Florida Tea Party political party and ads for candidates — raising more questions about the party’s opposition candidate in his own race.

Grayson is widely suspected by Tea Party movement activists of using his personal fortune to back Peg Dunmire — his Tea Party candidate opponent — as a means to pull conservative votes away from a Republican opponent in November.

Pipitone’s new video report ties several Tea Party candidates to Grayson, including one candidate, Raul Rodriquez, who listed himself as treasurer of ‘Friends to Re-elect Alan Grayson’ and “Friends of Alan Grayson’ when purchasing Grayson radio ads on WORL radio. 

A prior report by Pipitone exposed $27,898 paid by Grayson to political consultant Doug Guetzloe, the man who helped form the Florida Tea Party as a political party. 

“A Local 6 investigation has found Grayson’s campaign spent $19,898 with Public Opinion Strategies Inc., a company formed by Victoria Torres, a Florida Tea Party candidate for a state House of Representatives seat in Pinellas County. Torres has said she created the company in December 2008 with the help of the Florida Tea Party’s public relations consultant, Doug Guetzloe.

Guetzloe and his attorney, Frederic B. O’Neal, who created the Florida Tea Party last year, are being sued by Republican tea party movement activists who claim the pair created the Florida Tea Party to “hijack” the tea party movement for their own “gains (and) profits.”

“The owners of Public Opinion Strategies — the people who stand to benefit financially from the multimillionaire Grayson’s campaign money — are not revealed in public records.

“The only corporate director listed in state records is the Florida Tea Party candidate Victoria Torres, who swore in court papers in April that she has no cash, no income, no potential income, no stock and no possible asset from any corporation.

“In a financial disclosure statement filed last week with her candidacy papers, Torres revealed she earned $10,000 last year from Public Opinion Strategies, but claims no financial interest in the company. Grayson paid the company $16,898 last year and $3,000 in February 2010, according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission.”

Grayson denies any connection to Guetzloe.

h/t Kristinn, Free Republic

Updated 6/27/10