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Florida Justice Association, getting more political

The Florida Justice Association's political operations have been in turmoil since last year, when top staffers sent out a race-baiting mailer against the state Senate candidacy of legal reformer and former Speaker of the House John Thrasher, who won special election. The FJA's executive director, Scott Carruthers, resigned, and other employees were disciplined.

To head the association's political work, the FJA has now hired the former state director for the Obama for President campaign, Steve Schale, referred here and there as a "political guru."

According to The Miami Herald's report, "As part of the deal, Schale will retain his campaign consulting clients, most notably state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami, who is running for attorney general." The St. Petersburg Times' political blog also reports, "He said he won't lobby for the group but will advise on the campaign world. He said he plans to implement some institutional controls to prohibit the embarrassment of the Thrasher ad. And for loyal followers, his contract allows him to keep his blog." That's a nice deal he negotiated for himself.

The 2010 elections do loom large. In a Jan. 15 message to FJA members, Michael A. Haggard, president, wrote:

The historic number of open seats at every level in the upcoming elections will present extremely difficult challenges to maintain the friendly seats that have historically voted on the side of consumers and our clients. We must support those candidates committed to upholding the civil justice system by fighting for pro-consumer issues, ensuring Florida's courts remain open and Florida's families remain safe. In this unprecedented election cycle, it is absolutely critical that we help pro-consumer candidates get elected to both Senate and House positions.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.