More Tea Party brew-ha-haby Dara Kam | February 24th, 2010
The flame war between GOP operative Michael Caputo and Sen. Paula Dockery (and her campaign for governor) over a Tea Party schism got hotter last night.
Caputo, who’s involved in a federal lawsuit a bunch of Tea Party activists filed against Orlando political gadfly Doug Guetzloe and his brand of Tea Partiers, and Dockery exchanged a rash of e-mails yesterday peppered with questions about their links to Guetzloe in the spirit of “Will the real Tea Party people please stand up?”
Caputo says he is not being paid by Attorney General Bill McCollum, Dockery’s GOP primary opponent in the governor’s race.
Yesterday evening, Dockery’s campaign spokeswoman Rosemary Goudreau fired off a missive to Caputo responding to his request that the Lakeland Republican demand that Guetzloe “disband (his Tea Party) immediately” and promising the support of the true Tea Party activists in return.
Goudreau sent the following message to Caputo and the media at 9:12 p.m. last night:
Just as the gubernatorial campaign is not your fight, neither is your lawsuit Sen. Dockery’s fight.
The senator welcomes the support of Doug Guetzloe and any other Republican who is tired of over-the-top government spending and Wall Street hand-outs like those endorsed by her opponent.
If you’re asking Sen. Dockery to pick one group of disaffected Republicans over another, she would only say that we must work together if we’re going to change the Tallahassee culture of excessive spending.
Sen. Dockery is the true fiscal conservative in this race, a principled fighter who will do what’s necessary to get our economy – and our business community – growing again.
In this, the greater good, she would welcome your support, too.”
That really irked Caputo, who was involved in one of the state Senate’s nastiest campaigns several years ago against Dockery pal Alex Villalobos,R-Miami.
Caputo said Dockery’s unwillingness to insert herself into the Tea Party brew-ha-ha would “come back to haunt her.”
Here’s his response, received at 11:34 p.m.:
Thank you for your email but you answer is not sufficient. It was Sen. Dockery who volunteered to answer our questions; now it is her assistant that sends the clear message that she has changed her mind.
This is especially disappointing since my email answered every single one of her entreaties.
In my response I provided the proof of her longtime relationship with the controversial consultant Doug Guetzloe, a consultant cashiered from the GOP and sentenced to 60 days in jail for his scams. Now she
dispatches you to send us away.
Her refusal to answer after offering to do so speaks volumes. We’ll be certain to share her unwillingness to reply with our membership across the state of Florida. And we’ll get our answers in discovery.
Make no mistake: her refusal to condemn the third party founded by her supporters will return to haunt her.
Sen. Dockery wanted the attention of Florida’s authentic Tea Party activists and organizations. Nows she’s certainly got it – but not in the way she had hoped.
on behalf of the plaintiffs
South Florida Tea Party v. Guetzloe”
Enter Doug Guetzloe, Caputo’s target.
Here’s his offering in the game. Guetzloe says Dockery has nothing to do with the Tea Party and starts off with this challenge:
“My Dad always told me to never get into a fight with a moron because folks watching won’t be able to tell which one is the idiot,” Guetzloe’s lengthy e-mail received at 8:41 a.m. this morning began.
Read the rest after the jump.
Here’s the rest of Doug Guetzloe’s e-mail regarding the Tea Party antics:
“Unfortunately, the level of misrepresentation; character assassination and outright lies has reached the level of mandating a response to the McCollum/Caputo/Wilkinson/McClellan cabal dirty tricks campaign.
Specifically, Mr. Caputo has misrepresented nearly everything in his shrill attempt to gain some traction on a poorly written-bogus lawsuit that was filed by him and his “clients.” The lawsuit that was filed in Federal Court against the legally registered “Florida Tea Party;” it’s founder, Frederic O’Neal and Nicholas Egoroff, is a bogus attempt to generate publicity against Senator Paula Dockery in her bid for Governor. I am not an officer or founder of the Florida Tea Party and I’m not even a party to the lawsuit since I was never served. Caputo and team also deliberately misspelled my name on the suit so they would not have to deal with the ramifications of malicious process and legal sanctions. Clever guys.
Mr. O’Neal has filed a motion to dismiss and a motion for legal sanctions that will most likely result in a judgment against Caputo and company for over $20,000 in sanctions for filing a bogus lawsuit in Federal court.
1) I have donated professional services to the Florida Tea Party. My company designed the logo and the website at the request of Mr. O’Neal. I remain a Republican and will continue my battles to reform the GOP.
2) I was one of the first casualties of the Jim Greer “party purge” for opposing his efforts to declare Crist and McCollum the nominees of the Party prior to the primary and for calling for a full forensic audit of RPOF over 10 months ago. I’m proud of the fact that Nick Egoroff and I led the opposition to Greer before it was popular. Newly elected Chairman Thrasher has pledged to review and correct the situation.
3) Last May, I began a Draft Paula Dockery for Governor effort on my own volition and without any compensation or even any discussion with Senator Dockery. Given Bill McCollum’s propensity to increased taxes; his support of the SunRail boondoggle; his support of Jim Greer and his pro-spending record in congress; McCollum is an unacceptable choice for a Republican nominee for Governor. Contrast that record with Senator Dockery’s record of fighting the SunRail boondoggle successfully for several years, it was an easy effort to establish. I have received no compensation at all for this effort. I asked Nick Egoroff to establish a FaceBook page and a website for the cause. To our surprise, it was successful as thousands of taxpayers signed up to Draft Dockery. Since Paula decided to run, Nick and I have been volunteers for her campaign and we are not involved in any aspect of “running the campaign” nor have we received any compensation at all.
4) Caputo incorrectly refers to the legal battle that I was embroiled in four years ago concerning the lack of a political disclaimer on a police report that was distributed in a campaign. Caputo conveniently leaves out the facts that the “sentence” for that “crime” (I still remain the only person in Florida charged criminally with the lack of a disclaimer on a flyer) was thrown out by the 5th District Court of Appeal – there is no “sentence.” It was absurd on it’s face and the court threw it out. The 5DCA also threw out 13 of 14 charges and left one standing. The last misdemeanor was effectively thrown out when Federal District Court Judge Stephen Mickle declared the law that I was charged under to be an “unconstitutional infringement of free speech” and removed the statute from the books and enjoined the State of Florida from enforcing the statute permanently.
5) As for being maliciously attacked on a regular basis with unfounded allegations – I have been unfairly accused of unsubstantiated and unproven activities by political opponents for years. Unfortunately, the Orlando Sentinel has been a political opponent of my successful Ax the Tax efforts for nearly 30 years. I am currently suing the Sentinel (and WKMG Local 6TV) for libel. Once the Sentinel is out of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy we will renew that suit where we left off before the Chicago Tribune got a stay from bankruptcy court on all legal claims.
6) Finally, Senator Dockery has nothing to do with the organization or establishment of the Florida Tea Party. I’ve never even discussed that entity with her. I, like Senator Dockery, remain committed to restoring the Republican Party to a viable conservative force in Florida politics. Caputo and gang have cleverly taken 2+2 and come up with 22. Caputo’s allegations are untrue and cleverly manufactured to lead the media in an effort to discredit Senator Dockery and to-unsuccessfully-drive a wedge between Senator Dockery and her thousands of anti-tax grassroots supporters and tea party activists that we have generated for her campaign.”