The Dark Side of Adam Putnam’s Fundraising Success

82
475
SHARE

February was a roller coaster month for Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam. His political committee, Florida Grown PC, announced that they raised more than $2.25M in the month of February. In the email announcement, Justin Hollis, Chairman of Florida Grown PC, writes that the month’s fundraising activities bring, “total contributions for Florida Grown PC to just over $9.4 million to date.”

The announcement even came with humor, noting that unlike the Oscars, Putnam’s accountants had double-checked the totals and they were, indeed, accurate.

For a sitting Agriculture Commissioner, raising millions from the established GOP elite as well as the regulated interests in Tallahassee is not a big surprise, but these totals are impressive by any standard.

As we learned from the 2016 election cycle, media coverage can make or break a candidate and fundraising matters, but it isn’t everything.  Just ask Jeb Bush.  Unfortunately for Putnam, other than the notoriety generated for his fundraising prowess, his media coverage in February hasn’t exactly been favorable and given the focus of this coverage, his successful fundraising only added to his chagrin.

Earlier in the month, Tampa Bay Times published an editorial blasting Putnam for his position on Senate President Joe Negron’s (R-Stuart) proposed land purchase for a Lake Okeechobee reservoir. In the piece, Kimberly Mitchell suggests that Putnam’s position on the purchase stems not from fiscal conservatism, but from the hundreds of thousands of dollars that he has received from Big Sugar and the companies growing sugar cane in the Everglades.  These companies stand in opposition to the land acquisition. Closing the article, Mitchell writes:

One reporter asked Putnam if he would ever take a position against the sugar companies. His answer: “I was opposed to it (buying U.S. Sugar land) the first iteration of the buyout, which is not the position they held, so I would say I already have a track record.”

When he was reminded that, back then, Florida Crystals shared his opposition to the buyout (unlike U.S. Sugar, which had contracted to sell all their holdings), Putnam gave what might have been the most telling response of his career.

“You didn’t qualify that. When there’s division amongst them, I gotta pick.”

The opinion piece was picked up and republished by media outlets all over Florida, with the Miami Herald publishing a follow-up Letter to the Editor written by Lloyd Wruble of Palmetto Bay. Wruble writes:

“…the reservoir will help provide fresh water to the Everglades and Florida Bay, where it is badly needed. Florida Bay is devastated with algae blooms and grass die-offs. The reason for his opposition to the plan is money, which he and his Legislature buddies receive from Big Sugar. Putnam plans to run for governor and will need funding.” 

Commenting on Putnam’s stance, Joe Negron remarked:

“If there was ooze and poisonous fluids flowing down the center of Bartow and Polk County (Putnam’s hometown), we wouldn’t be talking about an abstract schedule or making comments that somehow this is a political effort.”

To cap the month off for Putnam, ABC Action News in Tampa Bay published an investigative report revealing that failed food safety inspections of a large grocery chain that has donated hundreds of thousands to Putnam’s Florida Grown PC were pulled from the Department’s website and later reposted without the scoring. In fact, the inspections were pulled the day after ABC released the news that the stores had failed their inspections.

Putnam stated that, “the pass/fail system is a failure because an industry leader, who has highly trained and highly qualified, nationally renowned food safety standards ought not be mislabeled based on minor infractions.”  This, despite the fact that these violations were not minor at all, and in fact, termed PRIORITY violations by Putnam’s own agency.

ABC reports that the “stores failing in 2016 had priority violations.” These violations included “rodent problems” and rodent feces in the store, food stored at “dangerous temperatures”, and “fly glue-strips hanging over exposed bread and other food in the bakery as well as live ants on the walls.”

The article states that Putnam received over $350,000 from the grocer and has made use of the company’s private jet.

“So we had to ask Putnam if all those contributions impacted his decision to remove grades the day after our story aired. 

“So their contributions to your PAC and your campaigns over the years have not influenced your decision making?” asked ABC Action News I-Team producer Fran Gilpin.  “Of course not,” Putnam said, “anymore than anyone else’s contributions influence.”

Given his stand with Big Sugar donors, these comments seem to be indicative of his attitude towards campaign benefactors.

These reports were clearly not what Adam Putnam was seeking as he unveiled his big Oscar moment.  And while his numbers may be accurate, Putnam’s actions and his comments seem to only bring greater attention to his fundraising activities and what they really mean for the citizens of Florida who need their chief regulator to regulate.

USA Herald has been closely following these stories (read our coverage here and here). As Agricultural Commissioner, Putnam seems to show a pattern of favor towards big donors, and even more alarming, a departure from the duties of Agricultural Commissioner and a focus on his next political office.   USA Herald will be following this trend. With another $2.25M in donations, it remains to be seen if this money comes with strings attached.

Comments From Facebook

user
Don Walker: Get him out!
Posted ON : 03/05/2017
user
Garry Miles: Another crook
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Douglas Jones Sr: When I see something like this it makes me want to vote for Mr. Putnam. Because I realize this has to be a democratic ploy to get them out of the race before he gets in. Wake up voters in Florida and realize the Democrats will stretch the truth so far that they don't even recognize it. You just got a supporter Mr. Putnam because of their actions
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
William Burgess: Check his record, wake up ?  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Darlene Carrillo: So he can count on your blind vote? Good job as a citizen, Douglas.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Bonnie Davis: This is farmland MD Florida and he can count on us.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Mary Ann Evans Lee: Have you lost your mind?  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Dusty McGyver: Democrats are as useless as taste buds on a rectum!  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Nicole Troje: Ok them, good drugs?  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Ronnie Smith: Land north of the lake is not used for nothing not even farmable use it for cleaning water it's sand perfect for that reason all water has to be pumped it will not flow south as you were told st johns river flows north there is nothing south of the lake to clean water don't be fooled
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Benjamin Wade: It's polluted with Georgia Pacific paper mill chemical waste since Jeb Bush sign a permit to pipe chemical waste on public land with false information on the permit. Takes the Koch Brothers Polluters.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Kevin McClean: We all know that Democrats are too pure than to take political contributions LMAO !!
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Edward Joseph-TwoWolves Redden: It means he made suckers out of you...and here I cant raise a dollar for my cause...fuck it...
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Stacey Boyer:
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Barbara Ann Sielke: Fight nice kiddo
Read the poster.
Have a peaceful day
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Alex van den Berg: Charley Wright
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Theodore Johns: All I know is we don't need another Republican governor. We need someone who believes the science for why Miami has "sunshine flooding." CLIMATE CHANGE!
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Creed Halbert: Well, try reducing YOUR personal carbon footprint. Turn your thermostats up to 85+ in the summer.. then get back with us.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Theodore Johns: OK Creep, Since YOU trolled me, my personal discomfort would make little difference. Power companies such as those in Florida could run almost entirely on solar and wind if they actually cared. If you don't believe in climate change you might like to know how you've been conned. The same PR firm which kept Americans in the dark regarding the hazards of cigarette smoke have been working for big oil and big coal for twenty years to keep Americans stupid regarding the effects of burning fossil fuels on climate change. OK?  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Les Brazzell: Your name calling, and routine rhetoric labels you as a misguided liberal. Windmills are a danger and are killing hawks and endangered birds, solar power isn't always prevalent and plentiful enuf in addition to needing storage batteries whose manufacturing creates a whole other pollution problem. Carbon footprint and global warming are a hoax. The temp on Mars is rising also,..did we do that? It's global weather pattern changes, not global warming. Stop swilling the liberal koolaid aid and calm down. It's easier to control and manipulate frightened people that's the true motives behind "global warming, carbon footprints, and all the liberal hype.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Theodore Johns: Hey Les Brazzell doesn't your ilk ever tire of being wilful idiots for dirty fossil fuels while repeating their lies? If you're brave enough Google it and see whether or not I'm telling the truth about the PR firm that misled about cigarettes being the same one who's intentionally lying about climate to people who willingly buy their lies. But only if you're brave enough.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Rick J Bateman: Theodore Johns may want to ask fish and game commission why they don't like wind!  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Vin Mannix: GOP? Democrat? Doesn't matter. When it comes to Adam Putnam, what should matter to us as Floridians is we're seeing what this guy is all about. And it ain't good.
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Les Brazzell: Is what your seeing really what he's all about? Or made up political lies that democrats seem to be naturally talented at. Seek the absolute truth first! If he's actually dirty then hold him accountable. If not, liberal lies and manipulation has created a mess that president Trump is well on his way to straightening out, once he brings down the conspirators interfering in his plans (more liberal fascists)  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Vin Mannix: Trump's got nothing to do with this. Special interests like Big Sugar have loaded up Adam Putnam's gubernatorial campaign coffers. We don't need more of that in Tallahassee. Liberal fascists? Spare me.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Eileen Machules: Oh,God .........Thought Scott was bad ....
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Darlene Carrillo: Scott 2.0  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Michael Mirabile: Keek him da bindow out. As my polish freind will explain it means kick him out the window not the door thats too much respect for a poliRat.
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Cindy L. Satur: He needs to go!
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Christian Green: could you folks be more fake news? #fakenews
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Darlene Carrillo: Gosh darn it man, are u kidding?  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Sandra Newton: Are you trying to blow smoke up our a$$ To Christian Green? He is fake news.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Donna Root: Don't do smokescreen. Banish him.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Christian Green: go look at every story by this news outlet.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
David Deal: Talk shit about Adam somewhere else. Obviously none of you pukes know this great man.
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Darlene Carrillo: Perhaps some of us are luckier than others. If you are his friend, tell him he needs to demonstrate some hutzpa and take care of Lake O discharges and our coastlines.  
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Billy Hayes: Corupt. Out
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
John Lowry: Bought long ago .. lackey and puppet
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Bryant Culpepper: Adam Putnam is 100%right, negron is Pandering to the LaGoonies. That will not solve anything except kill thousands of Jobs in the Glades. Put those people in the Lagoon on municiple water and sewer like they should have required when they built these homes. Gov. Scott took my suggestion to put the money into a pool and let the Counties draw from that pool in the form of Grants to help the homeowners defer the initial cost. THAT will fix the problem.
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Dusty McGyver: Democrats are as useless as taste buds on a rectum!
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Sandra Newton: Let's just get real. This country is in deep DODO. If our president doesn't get it together.
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Carol Lindley Garr: In someones pocket!
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Bebe Franklin: He's an asshole!
Posted ON : 03/07/2017
user
Timothy Lasher: He's a chip off the old block.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Mary Bennett: Could he be in Big Sugar's pocket?
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Tom Chapman: It means he wins .
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Judy A Seaver: Crooked politics is big money! Crooked is right word!
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Benton Mcmahon: HE SOLD HIS VOTES
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Barbara Cavallaro: Lose this scumbag !👎😱😢💩
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Hilda Disla Moya: He need to gohell
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Fred Pachoud: Time for him and big sugar to go, enough is enough is enough!
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Adelaide Fountain: He's a jerk
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Charley Wright: Sadly didn't learn from Jeb!s super PAC debacle ....... hope he doesn't meet the trial lawyer titan in the debate , sadly morgan will come after all of us he wants to get rid of the entire Ag dept
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Greg Kimble: He is a bum.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Gary Eaton: I met this prick with a handshake, knew he was a fake fraud then even worse now
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Carl Kennedy: Sugar is bad for your health. Proven and suggested against in every health condition we can think of. So why destroy our beautiful nature here in Florida when it's useless for anything good
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Phil Spooner: Is anyone surprised? He's the Commissioner of Agriculture. Who do you think bankrolls him...
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
David Lee Snyder: Florida's darks side allowed a store to kill kids and citizens with deadly k2
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Ted Mckenney: This motherfucker is corrupt to the core. Part of the Florida elite that controls everything there.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Thespian Louie Rodriguez: I'm tired of all these establishment types who reform nothing.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Paula Simonetta Butler: Investigate
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Jack Kennedy: Another Republiklan douche
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Sharon Gibson: Anyone who loves life...animals,in particular should rethink a vote for Putnam...he's understood to be responsible NOT for ethical treatment of animals... (quick, someone check and see what meat companies are funding Putnam)...you should know he made it ILLEGAL IN FLORIDA TO PHOTOGRAPH THE ABUSE OF FARMED ANIMALS. And, Christians, please think long and hard about what Christ would think of this man before being tempted to elect him to ANY office ever again.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Dennis Alloco: Unless something changes........... Oh who the Fuck are we kidding the games over they win the earth is on life support and people are acting like it's no big fucking deal. When the shit goes south, and it will, everyone will be wondering why no one listened.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
DeLena May: Adam Putnam is a Patriots candidate!! Come on people, since when do we let the NEWPAPERS (definition: obsolete source of information.. or Mis-inform) dictate how we vote. Yesterday is OVER. Miami Herald and Tampa Tribune tried to cram a DUI loser with ZERO 0⃣ effective scores in DC down our throats... instead of MARCO RUBIO, best Senator Florida ever had.. I STAND WITH WE DECIDE.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Hahn: Why is Adam so against purchasing land to build a storage treatment and discharge facility south of Lake Okeechobee the only solution to our discharge problem that just devastates the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River and it's watersheds This is inexcusable The farm south of the lake have all this irrigation water at their beck and call they have everything going for them why won't they give up some land in order to solve the discharge problem they are the ones that are extremely selfish and don't care about the people on and near the coasts  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Hahn: If this discharge problem is not solved by the Republican Party it will be their death knell Senator Joe Negron is doing an outstanding job along with some other Republican legislators where is the rest of the party ?? The Lake O discharges are not only extremely damaging and terrible but actually criminal with the damage they do to property and human health and wildlife along both coasts !!  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Rose Lake: Asshat!👎🌹  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Hahn: This guy looks like he is really "on the take". !!
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Tanner: Rubio is a P O S as well........
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Tommy Chamberlain: Another opportunistic grifter. Florida is full of them.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Whoopemall Hood: looks like the end of our wetlands looks like the end of are wetlands looks like the end of wetlands looks like the end of our wet lands looks like the end of world wetlands and the big Builders will be building on the east side of Orlando and the big Builders will be building on the Eastside of Orlando and a big Builders will be building on the east side of Orlando and the big Builders we'll be building on the east side of Orlando and a big Builders will be building on the Eastside of Orlando
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Lord: Bought and paid for I for one although a Republican will never support this crook for Governor.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Frank Bell: If he was a Democrat would the USA Harold be reporting this?
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Paul Koch: Bought & paid for
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Jody Buckmiller: He's paid for
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Jerry Mitchell: Needs to go
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Peggy Weaver: Raise all the money you want, R. It takes a trip to the poles to vote R out of office.
WE WILL VOTE. Trump may be able to live in the WH, BUT D ARE GOINg TO TAKE BACK CONTROL OF THE SENATE......
AND MAYBE THE HOUSE.
D WILL VOTE R OUT. 🇺🇸
We don't like what you are doing. Period
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Hahn: What the heck have the D's done for us ? Call Bill Nelson's office and ask what his stance is on the discharge situation and building a storage treatment and discharge facility south of Lake O Incredibly his office yesterday told me he does not take a stand on that ?!!! He obviously doesn't care about this discharge problem at all and all the problems of goal long with it  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Gage Dunkerley: How about leave the Ds snd Rs out of it and have the citizens get involved and do what is right and reasonable to clean up our valuable lands and quit allowing developers to ruin it. Go to meetings and fight for what we have left.  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Janet Hill: What is all tha bashing over Putnam? What did he do to piss off you guys?
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Terri Reed: They are scared because he is a republican?  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Janet Hill: It is the democrats that are ruining the state with oppressive, too much government. Stupids like Bill Nelson and Lois Frankel. Good grief. We have about 7 sanctuary counties and south Florida is a cesspool.  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Yvonne Clayton: ^^Right..so much better to eff the environment up..see the lakes/shores etc go to hell,wild life slowly but surely disappear..because greed is so much better at all times!!Putnam is as sneaky and corrupt like a good young rethuglicunt should be..an god forbid the white ugly twats would have to do the jobs the minorities and legal and illegal immigrants are doing!!People like you have one trick minds...hence this state and country is going to hell!wouldn't be surprised either you are pissing holy water too and sit in the first pew at your church!!  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Janet Hill: Spoken like a true liberal: cursing, vulgarity, uncivility, no factual backup, and pure venom. Good luck.  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
William Burgess: To start with our governor is a crook, he stole hundreds of millions from medi care and got away with it because he pled the 5th 72 times. Later he used 70 million to get his crooked ass elected governor of fla. His AG took a 25 thousand dollar bribe to drop the trump university case, which she did.  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Jim Oaksview: Power corrupts etc etc. This guy has been hanging around long enough
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Diane Clifford: I need to do more research but sounds like he's a typical Republican. All about taking $$ from big business.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Sandra Bridges: It means he squarely in the pocket of his donors. Like Oh I don't know. Big Sugar? He's as bad as Little Marco and Prick Snot. They have consistently failed the people of Florida. Our greatest weapon is our vote and these money grubbing little men have got to go.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Bridges: Putnam is a Putz.
Don't allow him to be our governor. Not good for Florida
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Russell Taylor: Cha-ching you corrupt pos
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Brack Barker: Farm Bureau ye$ man.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Jeff Morris: It means he's a corporate lobbyist.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Grinder: Putnam is an honest good man. I know him.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Siward Ypma: Adam Putnam needs to QUIT fundraising and ... DO HIS JOB!!!
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Bart Mancuso: We don't need another Republican. Republicans are the problem in Fla, we've had Republican Governing for almost 16 years. The problems we have are n were caused be Republican Governors n Republican Dominated State Legislature. Lets clean house n get our state government back supporting our people
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Douglas H Sandberg: Another untrustworthy guy
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Jackie Jusino: Another crook
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
De'Andre Long: Thanks USAHerald.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Donald Denman: I like this man in is current position and will always vote for him. He has done us all well here in Florida.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Robert Rogers: Another corrupt Florida Rethug
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Lester Heiney: He will continue to gut any environmental regs that are left. Through out of control development that is already devastating fl.wetlands. just look at lake nona area.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Lester Heiney: Lake Okeechobee will be the norm.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Donna Holdrege: I won't support him.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Nancy Nordyke-Shelley: It means he's bought and paid for and plans to stay in politics awhile longer.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Hans Katros: And in 2 more years we are losing our Florida citrus industry a $12 billion industry gone and not a word about it
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Marybelle De Wandler: You need to catch up on your reading.  
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Paul Grivas: News flash: if you buy land from people wanting to sell, you can usually get a better deal, and don't have to litigate forced takings.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Eric Bryan: Publix bought him.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Richard Arthur: To be candid, Mr. Putnam, when a candidate is sooo very transparent in their display of their own corruption, how can the Florida public have any confidence in your cognitive processes. You lack all manner of integrity, Sir. (your political cronies may still care for you , though the public does not)
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
Robert Miller: Useless entitled poop
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
William Mooney: He is in with big banks. He is going to be the first republican I will not vote for.
Posted ON : 03/08/2017
user
John Connally: It means he's bought and paid for
Posted ON : 03/08/2017