Diary

Dockery's Campaign Website suffer DoS Attack

Florida Senator Paula Dockery’s campaign web site, www.peopleforpaula.com, was hacked within 24 hours of her press announcement for filing a bill that would prevent legislators from voting on issues that would personally benefit themselves or their relatives.
Dockery (R-Lakeland), a candidate for the Governor’s seat being vacated by Charlie Crist (running for US Senate), and who has developed a reputation as an anti-corruption/pro-taxpayer crusader as well as a bold and dependable across-the-aisle coalition builder (she’s a former Senate Whip), filed Senate Bill 438, Relating to Voting Conflicts, with House co-sponsor Rep. Adam Fetterman, D-Port St. Lucie.
Dockery has sponsored similar legislation in the past, which failed to reach committee calendars, for reasons unknown. In the FL Senate, one of the members and his family corporation stand to generously benefit financially from the taxpayer-funded rail intermodal facility being built in Winter Haven (although Senate legal counsel declared it no conflict of interest, the Senator’s cousin, a House member, recused himself from voting on the issue), and the Senate Majority Leader is married to one of the chief lobbyists for Florida offshore oil drilling. That rail bill that was just passed in special session, cementing the backroom FDOT-brokered deal (which required non-disclosure agreements by all parties during the negotiations) that pays CSX $10.5 M per mile for 61 miles of track, when the average price-per-mile for rail sales in the U.S. is about $700K, and which also forever transferred the liability for accidents along the shared freight/passenger rail corridors from CSX to the FL taxpayers. The bill also creates a commuter rail system through Orlando, although more than once over a decade, local voters voted down proposed light rail projects as being too costly. The rail deal will indebt Florida taxpayers $2.6 billion over 30 years.
This is the same rail bill that Senator Dockery has opposed as being more in the best interest of a for-profit corporate special interest rather than Florida’s taxpayers, and had defeated for two years until the special session. Dockery almost single-handedly battled 200 lobbyists and 4 PR firms over the CSX-commuter rail deal for two years. When FDOT was not forthcoming with deails on the rail deal, Dockery – an appointed member of the Governor’s Open Government Commission –  filed a public records request, whereupon she was sent 27 file boxes of documents, in no particular order. She has opposed the Governor, Attorney General, Senate President, Speaker of the House, and the Republican leaders of the FL Senate and House over this bill.  They are all on record as having received CSX contributions to their campaigns or personal charities. CSX also donated tens of thousands of dollars to both the Florida Republican and Democratic Parties.
Ironically, Paula Dockery has long been a supporter of passenger rail, having sponsored and passed legislation creating the Florida High Speed Rail Commission. Her husband, C.C. “Doc” Dockery, spearheaded the successful ballot amendment for developing Florida’s initial High Speed Rail project from Tampa to Orlando. Four years later, then-Governor Jeb Bush pushed for a ballot amendment to kill High Speed Rail due to the cost. Also ironically, the supporters of the CSX rail purchase and liability transfer legislation (many of whom supported Bush’s efforts to kill HSR in Florida years earlier) hitched their twice-defeated bill to renewed interest in Florida’s High Speed Rail project after President Obama announced the availability of billions in rail grant dollars for HSR. A special deal with the rail unions, angrily demanded by Senate President Atwater of FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos, resulted in South Florida Democrats switching their votes minutes before the vote on the Senate floor, to support the rail bill after previously siding with Dockery in opposing it.
Governor Crist is running for US Senate, Atty Gen. Bill McCollum is running for Governor, and Sen. President Jeff Atwater is running for Chief Financial Officer (a seat being vacated by Democrat Alex Sink, who is also running for Governor – she supported the CSX rail deal also).
The Senator just elected from Jacksonville – incidentally CSX-headquarters – (replacing Republican statesman Jim King, who died of pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2009), John Thrasher (former FL House Speaker) was a high powered lobbyist on the CSX deal, and he was immediately assigned by Sen. President Atwater to chair the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, even though he had numerous ethics violations and fines while lobbying.
Thrasher is also the top nominee to chair the Republican Party of Florida, after former Chair Jim Greer (Crist’s handpicked man) resigned in disgrace for financial mismanagement. The RPOF leadership still refuses to release critical credit card statements showing how Republican donors’ money was spent by Legislators and Party officials holding credit cards, among those being the incoming Senate President, Mike Haridopolos. Many RPOF county chairmen are feeling railroaded by Republican elected officials who are pushing Thrasher for the job over someone from the RPOF rank and file. It seems Florida has forgotten the horrible mistake of a sitting Senator chairing the Republican Party – US Sen. Mel Martinez, whose resignation began the domino-effect of political office jumping. RPOF members, as well as Republican voters, are furious over Party efforts to squash any primary races, which has resulted in the grass roots support of US Senate candidate Marco Rubio. It’s also one of the reasons Senator Paula Dockery decided to run for Governor, after disaffected Republican voters recruited her, angry that former Congressman Bill McCollum had been seemingly “annointed” by RPOF Chairman Greer for Florida Governor in payback for the Republican Party’s support of Martinez over challenger McCollum in 2004.
Senator Dockery has called for the state’s Republican leadership to make their actions transparent to the taxpayers, and she is running for Governor with the intention to end taxpayer-gouging backroom special interest deals, to stop disguising tax hikes as fees and fines (see Florida’s more than doubled Motor Vehicle Fees enacted by Republican leaders during the 2009 legislative session) and to put the people’s faith back in government. She is a true Reagan fiscal conservative, and is fearlessly challenging the Old Boy network of Florida politics.
Someone could be rattled enough to stage a hack-attack.
During her 13 years in the Florida Legislature (House and Senate), Paula Dockery has successfully sponsored and passed key policy for Florida in the areas of water and land conservation, transportation, criminal justice, women’s health, and open public records.

(Note: This is my first attempt at posting a Diary, so if I’ve made any mistakes, please feel free to tell me in comments or via email.)