The similarity between Republican Rebecca Negron and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton could gag a maggot, it's that in-your-face.
I'm not talking about a physical likeness between the women. It's the cute little mirror-image setup these power couples have going -- both of which benefit the wives.
Take away the foreign investors, and you've got the Negrons playing the same game as the Clintons in their Clinton Foundation.
Joe does favors -- in turn, his wife Rebecca gets donations.
Don't we Republicans rail against pay-for-play at Bill's Foundation to get favors from Hillary? How is that different from the Florida Senate president-designate? Isn't Joe running the same scam as Bill, but on a smaller, more local scale?
That's so what it feels like. Look at the GEO Group.
It's all in federal campaign finance reports: Geo, second largest private prison vendor in the country, contributed $288,000 to the Negrons during this election cycle -- more than a quarter million dollars.
What on earth do they want for all that money?
Of the $288,000, some $43,000 went to the District 18 congressional campaign of Rebecca Negron on two separate days in 2015 and 2016. On June 22, Geo lavished another $50,000 on the super PAC that supports her, Conservative Congress Now!
Boca Raton-based Geo Group has 104 prisons across the country. It operates three state correctional facilities in the Panhandle and two in South Florida. The five state contracts are awarded through open competitive bid processes through the Florida Department of Management Services. At least one of those contracts, for Moore Haven Correctional Facility, is up during Joe Negron's presidency. There may be more due for renegotiation. Pay-to-play?
Geo has one federal transition center in Broward which is a contract under U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. The question remains: Why would GEO care about Rebecca, someone who could be a freshman in CD 18?
Thirteen Geo Group executives contributed to Rebecca Negron for Congress. Of the 13, more than half (seven) didn’t donate to any other federal candidates this cycle. For the most part, the six other donors only gave to two or three other federal candidates and no other Florida congressional candidates.
The Geo Group PAC included only one other contribution this cycle besides the contributions to the Super Pac supporting Rebecca Negron and that was a donation to Right to Rise, the Super PAC that backed Jeb Bush for president.
The Miami Herald told us last week Geo has parsed out $628,500 to mostly Republican candidates and committees -- so far. Which, by the way, includes $150,000 to the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that coordinates GOP state Senate races.
Can you guess who heads up the Republican Senatorial Committee? I'll bet you can. Why, it's Joe Negron, the next Senate leader and husband of Rebecca.
And one more thing.
Is it merely my perception of political opportunity, or did Joe Negron get the family business rolling by announcing now his plans to buy 60,000 Everglades Foundation-favored acres for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee -- when it can attract a stack of donations, particularly for Rebecca -- instead of waiting until he is sworn in and has a gavel in his hand? As one senator told me Monday, "I fear this is a sign Sen. Negron is going to make his presidency all about himself and his wife and not about the state of Florida."
See the $19,200 in contributions Everglades Foundation board members have given to Rebecca Negron for Congress (the chart inset in this story).