By Deb Boelkes
To We the People – Following my investigative report on Mr. Aguilar’s campaign financing, some of you requested I investigate Aaron Bean’s campaign financing. Although we still have 8+ weeks before the general election, and there may be additional campaign contributions and expenditures between now and November, my findings are below.
In summary, of the $511K in contributions to his own campaign fund, Bean has so far spent $415K of that. In addition, at least two major PACs spent a combined $1.337M to fund Bean’s campaign. Total expenditures, between Bean’s contributions and the two PACs funding mailers and TV ads, over $1.75M was spent in support of Bean in the primary . The $$ contributions Bean received directly from other PACs (listed immediately below) pales in comparison to what the two PACs, Keep Florida Red and American Dream Federal Action, bought and paid for. Here are the details:
Total contributions to the Aaron Bean for Congress Campaign Committee: $511,343 (this compares to Erick Aguilar’s $1.2M total, which included his own $450K).
The $511K is comprised of:
- Itemized Individual Contributions: $452,843
- Un-itemized Individual Contributions: $10,156
- Other Committee Contributions: $48,500
Per Florida Politics (7/21/22 and 8/15/22 and ) – “The Health care industry is well represented”…with itemized individual contributions of $38K from 10 PACs.
Per FEC.gov, Aaron’s top contributors are as follows:
- At $10K:
- Majority Committee PAC – MC PAC [<< NOTE: Per Florida Politics, “Kevin McCarthy gave a combined $10K from his Majority PAC”]
- Individuals with two or more contributions totaling $5,800 each:
- Travis Blanton – of the Tallahassee based Johnson & Blanton lobbying firm
- Carlos Zaffirini – healthcare attorney and CEO of Adelanto Healthcare Ventures, a healthcare finance consulting firm focused on reimbursement
- Audrey Zaffirini
- J Daniel Vallencourt – of Vallencourt Construction
- Jon Johnson
- Timothy P Cost – President of Jacksonville University, and on the BOD of the Federal reserve Bank of Atlanta
- PACs at $5K each:
- United States Sugar Corporation ESOP PAC
- National Automobile Dealers Assn PAC
- National Assn of Realtors PAC
- Pediatrix Medical Group PAC
- Florida Bankers Assn PAC
- Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc Good Government Committee
Bean’s Total Disbursements / Operating Expenses so far: $415,829
- Transfers to OTHER Authorized Committees: $0
- Contribution Refunds: $0
- Other: $0
Ending Cash-on-Hand: $95,514
Debts / Loans owed by the committee: $16,272
Disbursements paid to:
- Jennifer Amos, FL (in-kind Event Food, Beverage and Venue) – 1 payment on 6/30/22: $2,330.06
- Tripp Amos, FL (in-kind Event Food, Beverage and Venue) – 1 payment on 6/30/22: $2,330.06
- Bascom Communications LLC, Tallahassee FL (Comm Consulting, Advertising and website services) – 3 payments (from 6/22/2022 to 8/1/2022): $30,126
- C&H Printing, FL – 2 payments (6/27 and 7/6/2022:) $2,045
- Campaign Graphics, AZ (Campaign Signs) – 1 payment 7/26/22: $8,663
- Carroll and Company CPA’s, Tallahassee FL (Accounting Svcs and postage): 4 payments (6/16 to 8/1/22): $11,835
- Coates Law Firm, Tallahassee FL (legal Services): 1 payment on 7/11/22: $1,062
- Consensus Media LLC, Winter Park/ Orlando, FL (Media Production and Travel) – I payment on 6/22/22: $19,004
- Michele Cook, FL (in-kind Event Food, Beverage and Venue) – 1 payment on 6/30/22: $1,953 (*Clay County Sheriff)
- Robert Cook, FL (in-kind Event Food, Beverage and Venue) – 1 payment on 6/30/22: $1,953
- Dickinson Wright, PLLC, MI (Legal Services) – 1 Payment on 7/26/2022: $1,965
- FL Dept of State, (Qualifying Fee) – 1 payment on 6/9/22: $10,440
- Florida Finance Strategies, Tallahassee FL (Fundraising Consulting) – 1 payment on 7/11/22: $6K
- Rhonda Jett, FL (Field Consulting) – 1 Payment: $1,500
- Max Out Solutions, FL (Fundraising Consulting) – 1 payment: $3K
- Mentzer Media Services, MD (Media Buy) – 8 payments (6/15/22 to 7/29/22): $245,130
- Pam Bell Photography, Fernandina Beach, FL (Photography) – 1 Payment on 6/9/22: $1,440
- Pass Consulting Group, LLC, FL (lodging, travels, meals, event supplies, t-shirts, banners, stickers, printing) – 1 payment (on 8/2/22): $12,164
- The Neighborhood Newspaper, FL (advertising) — 1 payment on 7/27/22: $395
- The Stoneridge Group, Alpharetta, GA (Advertising, media buy, printing, voter contact, mail, printing) —4 payments (6/22/22 to 8/3/22): $44,788
- WINRED, VA (Services Charges) – 31 payments (6/7/22 to 8/3/22): $7,697
Summary of the major Marketing and Campaign Consulting-related Expenditures:
- Mentzer Media Services, Bel Air, MD—spent $245K (from 6/15/22 to 7/29/22)
Website: http://www.mentzermedia.com/ — “has been helping clients win elections and campaigns through targeted media buys since 1991.” According to SourceWatch.org, they broker media buys, decide where to place ads, and buy air time to run them. CEO / Owner: Bruce Mentzer
- The Stoneridge Group, Alpharetta, GA—spent $44,788 (from 6/22/22 to 8/3/22)
Website: https://stoneridgegroup.com/ — provides services such as voter contact mail, website design, online campaigns, print collateral and strategic consulting to Republican campaigns. Clients have included Senator Mike Braun; Senator Marco Rubio; Senator Rand Paul; Governor Nikki Haley; Governor Nathan Deal; The Republican Attorney General’s Association; Heritage Action for America, etc.
- Bascom Communications & Consulting, Tallahassee, FL — spent $30,126 (from 6/22/2022 to 8/1/2022)
Website: https://bascomllc.com/ The only strategic communications and public affairs firm that handled messaging and public relations/ communications for two wining GOP Congressional Campaigns(Aaron Bean and laurel Lee in CD 15). They advise some of Florida’s most influential trade associations, CEOs, and Fortune 100 executive teams.
President: Sarah Bascom (served on the DeSantis campaign team in 2018).
- Consensus Media, LLC, Winter Park / Orlando, FL —spent $19K on 6/22/22
I was unable to find a website for Consensus Media LLC.
According to CorporationWiki.com: Consensus Public Relations, LLC >> Consensus Communications, Inc >> Consensus Media, LLC
Website: https://onmessage.com/ – Consensus Communications, Inc. manages strategic communications for corporate, political, and civic clients across Florida. They work in specific areas such as crisis communications, issues management, politics, ballot initiatives and lobbying. They represent Florida’s leading industries including agribusiness, healthcare, real estate, tourism, transportation and infrastructure, and environmental resource industries.
Registered Agent for Consensus Media, LLC: Marchena and Graham, PA
- According to the Marchena and Graham, PA website https://mgfirm.com/about:
- Marcos Marchena, founding shareholder has been practicing law since 1985.
- Keith A. Graham, founding shareholder has been practicing law since 1987.
According to Transparency USA (which monitorsmoney in State politics): During the 2022 Campaign Season, Consensus Media LLC paid out $28K to Wilton Simpson; $21K to Ashley Moody; $10K to Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee; and $10K to Prosperous St. Petersburg
- WINRED, VA —Spent $7,697 (from 6/7/22 to 8/3/22)
WinRed is the official secure payments technology for donors to quickly and securely donate to GOP candidates. According to its website pricing page, WinRed charges 3.94% for every transaction made. This would indicate donors contributed approximately $195K to Aaron Bean for Congress via WinRed.
Now lets look at the two PACs that funded the bulk of Aaron’s Campaign:
- Keep Florida Red PAC – A Super PAC based in Arlington, VA; Treasurer Benjamin Ottenhoff is also the Treasurer of numerous PACs, including WinRed.
- Paid for at least 7 of Bean’s campaign mailers (and possibly TV ads)
According to the Federal Elections Committee (FEC.gov):
Independent Expenditures totaling $886,875 paid by Keep Florida Red to Support Aaron Bean in 2021-2022; Payments to:
- SCRCP Media of Alexandria, VA (for media placement) – 4 payments (3 on 7/20/22 and 1 on 8/9/22): $562,255
- StoryTellers Group LLC of FL and TN (for printing / postage) – 10 payment (7/18/22 to 8/10/22): $324,620
SCRP Media: A full-service political media firm that produces advertising for some of the most high-profile and competitive political campaigns in the country. They offer strategy, creative, and media placement (TV, OTT, Digital, radio and print) services. Clients include Gov. Greg Abbott (TX), Gov. Mike DeWine (OH), Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA), Sen Bill Frist (TN), Sen. John McCain (AZ).
StoryTellers Group, LLC – unable to find website, but I did find this 24/48 Hour Report of Independent Expenditures (schedule E) for StoryTellers Group (as Payee) for Candidate Biden, Joseph R., Jr. for $84,710 for Direct Mail Printing and Postage, paid 5/13/2020 https://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/185/202005229239493185/202005229239493185.pdf
- StoryTellers Group LLC, Bradenton FL: filed as a Florida Limited Liability in the State of Florida on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. No contacts listed. No website found.
- StoryTellers Group LLC, Gallatin, TN: filed in TN as a Domestic Limited Liability Company on Feb 12. 2020. Registered Agent: Absolute Business Solutions, LLC (which assists small to mid-size businesses in IT, finance/accounting/bookkeeping and office administration). No website found.
- American Dream Federal Action – PAC based in Manchester, NH; Chaired by Ryan Salame, CEO of FTX Digital Markets, the bitcoin company based in the Bahamas)
- Paid for TV ads and at least 2 of Bean’s campaign mailers
According to the Federal Elections Committee (FEC.gov):
Independent Expenditures totaling $450,747 paid by American Dream Federal Action to Support Aaron Bean in 2021-2022; Payments to:
- Full Reach Media Group, LLC (for Digital Advertising; Placed Media: TV; and Production Cost: TV and Digital Ads)—3 payments on 8/1/22: $372,666
- Franklin Creative Group, LLC (for Direct Mail: Printing and Postage)—2 payments (8/4/22 and 8/9/22): $78,081
Full Reach Media Group, LLC, VA – provides consulting services in the filed of facilitating the buying, planning, and placement of media, television, radio, cable, print, and digital. Supported candidates include Sen. John Boozman (AR – R), Congressman Brad Finstad (MN- R), Congressman Michael Simpson (ID-R)
Franklin Creative Group, LLC – https://franklin-creative.com/ – for the past decade, theyhave been involved in races from President to city council, producing winning mailers for clients.
So, there you have it. Now you know how Bean’s Congressional campaign has been funded so far.
For those of you who have asked me, “What happens to all the funds left in the campaign’s Cash-on-Hand, after the candidate either wins or loses the election?” check out this article about what our own former 8-term Congressman Ander Crenshaw allegedly did with his campaign account’s cash-on-hand (otherwise known as Zombie Funds): https://www.floridabulldog.org/2021/10/ex-congressman-used-zombie-campaign-cash-personal-expenses/ Notice that Benjamin Ottenhoff, Treasurer of Keep Florida Red, was also the Treasurer of Ander PAC.
According to the FEC, leftover cash-on-hand may be used for only a handful of things, such as a donation to charity, or transferred into to a future campaign, or transferred to a national or local political party, or be donated in limited amounts to other candidates, or just leave it sit. I do know that when Todd Wilcox of Orlando ran for US Senator back in 2016 and then dropped out of the race—along with every other contender when Rubio lost to Trump as the Presidential nominee and ultimately ran for Senator again—Wilcox refunded our contributions. Here’s an interesting article about the general rules and loopholes regarding the use of Zombie funds: https://www.nhpr.org/politics/2020-11-25/ask-civics-101-what-happens-to-campaign-funds-after-an-election-is-over
Your digital soldier,
Founder, Business World Rising, LLC
Keynote Speaker and award-winning Author of:
Women on Top: What’s Keeping You From Executive Leadership?
And coming soon:
Strong Suit: Leadership Success Secrets from Women on Top
Email: [email protected]
Success just got easier ®
Editor’s note: This is a privately-researched record of Aaron Bean’s campaign finances for his Congressional candidacy, by an independent author. State Senator Bean isn’t being accused of any crime. This finance profile is fairly typical of what successful candidates do. The information provided by the author was compiled from public records,- including the candidate’s and PACs’ own filings, Internet and interview sources.