JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - We're starting to see some of the names of public officials who received campaign donations from Allied Veterans of the World, Inc. and from people or businesses involved in the investigation dubbed "Operation Reveal the Deal".
Sheriff John Rutherford ($4500) , state attorney Angela Corey ($1200), clerk of courts Ronnie Fussell ($3045), and tax collector Michael Corrigan ($3250) all received money from people or businesses involved in the ivestigation.
The $300 million internet gaming scheme that has led to the arrests of Jacksonville's police union president and vice president as well as the resignation of Florida's Lt. Governor due to past connections to Allied Veterans.
Also on the list are 15 of Jacksonville's 19 city council members. President Bill Bishop was one of them, he says it's not uncommon for lobbyists to donate money to entites that they believe will help their cause or listen to them, but says that there was no sign that Allied Veterans was involved in any shady activity so they had no reason to turn down the money.
"If it's coming from what we think is a reputable source, there's no real reason to," Bishop said.
He added he wouldn't be surprised if there are hundreds of other local, state, and even federal officials who got campaign money from Allied Veterans.
Florida's state Democratic and Republican parties are also looking into their records to see if they received any money that might be connected to the scandal.
Public Defender Matt Shirk accepted $500 in contributions from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 530. A spokesman says it is not connected to Nelson Cuba or the Allied Veterans of the World.
Here is a statement from Shirk's Public Information Officer Matt Bisbee:
"The FOP PAC money is raised strictly through membership dues – no outside dollars go into that committee. Additionally, it is our understanding that if the FOP endorses a candidate, a $500 check is automatically sent to that candidate. Early in the cycle and without solicitation of their support, Matt Shirk was endorsed by the organization and shortly thereafter received by mail, the check reflected in this report. Under no circumstances do we suspect that this common practice of PAC supporting Candidate to be anything but above the board; it is certainly within the confines of State of Florida Election law".