Brian Blair's attempt to spin his campaign spending violation just makes things worse

Candidates rarely do their own campaign treasury work, which entails data entry, filing timely treasury reports that include contributions and expenses. Campaign Treasurer, Joe Chillura one of Hillsborough County's most respected people, served as Blair's Treasurer during this election; Chillura was perplexed to say the least.

“I entered a 1000 contributions totaling about $250,000 and because of a software glitch that allowed 2 contributions that totaled $600.00 to accidentally be accepted -- Brian took a lot of grief for something he would never have willfully done” says Chillura and adds “I know Brian very well and he gives much more than that to charity's each year."

Again, the violation is hardly the worst thing a candidate has done (especially around these parts).  But the spinning is just ugly.  Pay the fine and walk away.  Instead, Joe Chillura takes the fall for a keying error.

Folks, this is way too much information.  And the fact that Blair feels the need to explain all of this to the community lends credence to rumors that even though he's lost his last two elections (in the 2010 GOP Primary for state House seat 47 to Jamie Grant, and in 2008 in his re-election bid to Democrat Kevin Beckner for County Commission), he's considering another run in 2012.

Eastern Hillsborough County community activist and occasional CL blogger George Niemann was the first to report the fact that former County Commissioner Brian Blair had agreed to accept the charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions in 2008 by signing a consent order and paying a fine of $750.  That came after Niemann himself filed the complaint that triggered the commission's investigation.

With all of the controversies in Blair's brief but colorful political career, it's hardly the worst thing that he's been involved in. But you could argue that the press release he issued Monday night only made things worse.

Look, we've certainly made typos.  They're embarrassing and no fun to have to correct, but they do happen.

However, there are several in the release the Blair camp issued out in response to acknowledging the fine. Check out the second paragraph here:

Mr. Neiman described himself as a watchdog Ethics Complainer in a recent article in Creative Loafing. His complaints rarely have merit and are overwhelmingly against Conservative’s. Mr. Neiman has also cost the taxpayer’s of Florida, untold thousands of dollars in FEC labor and Attorney fees.

First of all, Mr."Nieman" is actually Mr. Niemann with two n's at the end of his last name.  Then there is the capitalizing of the word "conservatives."  Except that as you can see above, it's written as "Conservative's."  There's also "taxpayer's" when "taxpayers" would be correct.

But then there's the pure spin.  Check out the 3rd and 4th paragraphs from the release, excerpted here:

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]