The group pushing a solar power amendment had a slow month of fundraising in May, only raising a small amount of money but spending millions of dollars on TV buys.
Consumers for Smart Solar, the group spearheading Amendment 1, raised only $5,000 during the month of May, a significant slowdown in fundraising from previous months.
The contribution came from a single donor.
According to the report, the group spent almost $6.6 million in May, buying $6.5 million worth of TV time through Virginia-based National Media Research, Planning and Placement.
National Media is the same political media firm that worked for the Bush-Cheney campaigns in both 2000 and 2004.
The majority of the other expenditures went to well-known Florida political consultants and lobbying firms.
The committee forked over nearly $38,000 to Winter-Park based Consensus Communications and nearly $8,000 to both Tallahassee-based Bascom Communications and Screven Watson and Associates.
The committee, which was formed in 2015, has raised $15.8 million and spent $13.7 million total since July of last year.
The group is well-connected with large power companies throughout Florida.
The majority of Consumers for Smart Solar’s donations come from large statewide energy companies like Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light, which gave the group nearly $4 million each.
Tampa Electric Company and Gulf Power also funneled over $2 million and $1.6 million to the campaign, respectively.
The committee was funded in early 2015 and early 2016 with a series of large, steady donations from the 60 Plus Association, which donated $1.14 million to the committee. Let’s Preserve the American Dream also gave $890,000 to the group.
Amendment 1 would allow Florida consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate their own electricity.
The amendment would still give state and local governments the ability to ensure consumers who don’t opt to install solar equipment aren’t held responsible to subsidize the cost of backup power and electric grid access for those who do install solar.
Consumers for Smart Solar says the amendment is important because it protects consumers, whether they choose solar energy or not.
Opponents of the measure say, however, that the amendment wouldn’t do much for the consumer since the amendment would simply codify what’s already legal for the consumer to do anyway.
Opponents of the measure also say consumers using their own solar power could be hit by fines from regulators with special fees for access to the solar grid.
The constitutional amendment needs to receive 60 percent of the vote to pass the General Election this November.