REPORT: FPL used “dark money” to influence Florida Senate race in Gainesville

Executives at Florida Power & Light, or FPL, are under fire for using “dark money” to support political candidates in order to split the vote in races
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 2:32 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB/AP) - The latest investigative report into a growing scandal connecting Florida’s largest utility provider to election tampering hits home in North Central Florida.

Executives at Florida Power & Light, or FPL, are under fire for using “dark money” to support political candidates in order to split the vote in races across the state over the course of the last couple of election cycles.

The Miami Herald’s latest investigative report details how FPL supported Charles Goston in the 2018 state Senate race that also featured Kayser Enneking, and was won by Sen. Keith Perry.

The documents show that FPL execs donated more than $200,000 to support Goston’s last-minute campaign through a group called Broken Promises, keeping their identities hidden in the process due to the group’s nonprofit status.

Goston, a longtime Democrat and former Gainesville city commissioner, entered the race as an independent and garnered 4,300 votes. The Democratic candidate in the race, Enneking, ended up losing the state Senate race to Perry, a Republican, by about 2,000 votes.

Former Gainesville City Commissioner Charles Goston during his run for FL Senate in 2018
Former Gainesville City Commissioner Charles Goston during his run for FL Senate in 2018(WCJB)

Perry told the Herald he didn’t know about FPL’s involvement, nor did he work with, or have any knowledge about the Broken Promises group.

Enneking is also quoted in the report saying she had taken no strong stance on FPL’s regulation or rate hikes. But she noted that the 2018 race was one of a few statewide that threatened to flip the state Senate to a Democratic majority, possibly threatening a beneficial regulation environment for FPL.

Charles Goston did not speak to Miami Herald reporters; WCJB TV20 is reaching out to him for comment.

On July 28, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that recent press reports in Florida had “exposed apparent corruption, influence peddling and breaches of the public trust.” Castor is a Democrat.

FPL Chief Communications Officer David Reuter said in an emailed statement that documents cited in the news reports were “both an inaccurate and misleading representation of our actions.”

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