January 27, 2023 - Prosecutors Announce Findings in SD9 Campaign Finance Probe

Today (Jan 27), State Attorney Phil Archer announced the outcome of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the operation of Floridians for Equality and Justice (FFEAJ), a political committee that provided financial resources in the 2020 Florida Senate District 9 election.

The investigation began after a July 2021 letter from State Attorney Archer to then FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, requested an investigation into the 2020 No Party Affiliation (NPA) candidate for the Florida Senate in District 9 (SD9). That inquiry led to the filing of twelve (12) criminal violations against three (3) defendants. It also produced a second and separate investigation to determine if the FFEAJ may also have violated Florida campaign finance laws during the 2020 SD9 election.

The findings were summarized by Chief Assistant State Attorney Stacey Salmons in a six-page letter to Inspector Troy Cope of the FDLE. Salmons found that while troubling, the activities undertaken by the FFEAJ, and specifically the chair of the committee Stephen JONES, did not violate existing Florida Statutes regulating the creation and operation of a political committee.

While acknowledging the legal impediments to the viability of any criminal charges, State Attorney Phil Archer stated, "The time has come to eliminate the term 'dark money' from our campaign vocabulary, as there should be no such thing."

He went on to explain, "When money or anything of value is donated, transferred, or expended on behalf of a candidate or ballot provision, our campaign laws should mandate complete transparency and accountability. Transfers to political committees or entities of any kind, and so called ‘non-profit’ or ‘charitable’ organizations participating in the election process must be included. State regulators and the public should be able to identify the movement of every dollar influencing any aspect of our elections. That disclosure must come within days of the donation, not weeks or months after the election has concluded. I urge our legislators to address this important issue without delay.”

CASA Salmons Disposition Letter

(Click to View/Download PDF)


Todd Brown
Media Information &
(321) 617-7310
Office of the State Attorney
18th Judicial Circuit
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson
Way Building D
Viera, Fl. 32940

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