About a year after Rep. Ritch Workman sent a mailer to a list of addresses that included some residents outside of his House district, a man named Ronald Thomas is apparently asking Florida’s ethics commission to believe he worked up enough courage to finally file a complaint about it, just weeks before a contentious primary between Workman and Rep. Debbie Mayfield.
Political consultants say the timing of the complaint smacks of election season shenanigans, as opposed to a legitimate complaint filed in a timely manner.
“This is a classic stunt pulled by political operatives on Mayfield’s behalf,” said one Republican familiar with the tactic. “It’s disgusting that she would waste taxpayer dollars forcing the ethics commission to investigate an issue that is a year old and already resolved.”
Mr. Thomas, a resident of Cocoa Beach (according to FloridaPolitics.com, which did not publish or link to the complaint itself, nor mention that the incident was over a year old) apparently wants the Florida Ethics Commission to believe that he didn’t become aware of the issue until reading about it in a POLITICO story on July 8th.
“It’s simply not believable that a random citizen sat on this mailer for a year before finally deciding to file a complaint about it,” the strategist said. “It’s obvious Mayfield’s people were sitting on the complaint and waited until now to try and hurt Ritch as much as they could.”
In fact, surrogates for Debbie Mayfield were in possession of the mailer days before the POLITICO story ran. A Twitter account controlled by a pro-Mayfield group posted a link to the mailer on July 6th:
Is @RitchWorkman abusing his power as Rules Chair to cover up the size & scope of this tax payer funded mailer? pic.twitter.com/ZXfkPZhilt
— RitchWrongman.com (@Ritch_Wrongman) July 6, 2016
Workman told The Capitolist the error at the center of the complaint had been corrected almost immediately after it was brought to his attention in early July. “As soon as I was told of the error, it was fixed,” Workman said. “The person who made the mistake works for me, and I take full responsibility for it.”