Looks like Vanessa Brito, who chairs the PAC recalling Commissioner Natacha Seijas, has a reason for not filing the campaign finance report that tells voters how they get and spend their funds (read: who pulls the strings). Actually, several.
The practiced liar is turning to a few favorites and trying on a few different excuses for size before deciding which to go with.
Let's provide a little assistance. I'll list the multiple excuses Brito has made so far for violating state law and being, to date, nine days late with the reports, which are intended to tell voters -- before they cast their ballots -- who is bankrolling the effort. Here we go:
(A) The Tech Defense, aka, "My computer made me do it": Brito told Miami-Dade Elections Clerk Maria Acosta (in an email) that she could not enter the data into the system, Acosta told me. "I gave them a new password," Acosta then said. And still no report. People who know Brito have heard versions of this before. My favorite was when someone "hijacked" her email, no... wait. It was the sitting state house rep who somehow hacked into the White House phone system to crank call her and also used the same spyware to send inappropriate, text messages with sexual innuendos from to people and make it look like it came from her own phone. (This really happened. There are others who know about it.) What are your favorite Brito tech defenses? Feel free to share in the comments below.
(B) The Medical Emergency Evasion: This time, her uncle is in the hospital, which makes anybody who tries to challenge the group's lack of transparency an unsympathetic bastard. I will try to explain it without sounding like a cold, uncaring bitch, because I am really a warm, caring bitch and do not mean any ill will to Brito's patient, tired and overburdened family. None of this is their fault. But she yelled "My uncle is in the hospital!" as she stood in the parking lot at the Miami Lakes library Saturday morning, stumping for Yes votes. And her uncle was not rushed to ER, according to her facebook posts, until March 3, six days after the report was due. She also has been working on other campaign duties, "running between hospital and [voting] site," as she said on facebook (where she has also logged many hours), commenting on blogs and sending long, rambling and pointless emails to political enemies and Miami Lakes residents. On March 2, five days after the reporting deadline, she challenged Natacha Seijas to a debate. A day earlier, only four days late with the report, she posted "another sunny day at early voting." The night of Feb. 28 after spending a "long and hot day" in Hialeah on the first day of early voting, she stayed up into the wee hours of March 1 "validating" she-doesn't-say-what on facebook (maybe absentee ballot requests?). She also notes that Ivette Lisa Taylor, another Miami Vice founding member and I am going to call her Head of Insecurity, was there and that they both wanted Cuban coffee. But I guess neither of them had enough energy left to finish the report, which was only three days late back then. The day it the report was due, Brito was scheduled to be on Actualidad 1020 AM radio. One week after the report was due, she asked her facebook friends to join her on Saturday at the Lakes library. So I took the opportunity, since she won't return my phone calls, to go and ask her why the report was still not in. "My uncle is in the hospital," she yelled, followed by expletives she does not use with the journalists from GenTV. But she had time in the morning to email an opposing activist and invite him to the library to address her concerns with him "in PUBLIC." (More on that exchange later. There is too much going on behind the scenes to put it all in one post.) And, again, no ill will here, just an observation, but Brito herself or her family seem to have had a lot of close calls and ER runs this year, sometimes around her deadlines. Doesn't anybody else notice? Maybe she needs un despojo? (I truly hope her uncle gets better. Both for his sake and that of the voters.)
(C) The Bait-And-Switch Trick: When Brito is forced into a corner, she answers questions with questions and throws smoke and mirrors out to confuse the issues. In the Saturday morning email sent before heading to the voting sites, she said "every media outlet has a copy of my financial report." Well, state law does not require making it available to the media outlets she finds friendly. It requires the PAC to file the report with a clerk at the Elections Department, which would then make it available to anyone. I didn't get a copy. I've asked my friends at other media outlets to see if they were the lucky ones who got to see the report. Haven't heard back yet from any. But that's irrelevant. It has to be made available to the public at large, by law.
(D) Short-handed subterfuge: Brito commented on another blog, when she could have used the time to finish the report due five days earlier, that she was "only one person." But aren't there legions of people in her organization? How can she represent the "voice of the people" if she is all alone? From one of those emails she apparently had the time to write: "I'm not one to pay people to do my work - if you don't know, my uncle is dying and it's been just a tad difficult to do everything." But, isn't the treasurer of the PAC capable of handling that task? Or is the only criteria for that job prior girlfriend duty. (Note to readers: Brito has said that my identification of PAC treasurer Heidy Medina as her life partner in a previous post is discrimination against the LGBT community. I did it to respect the truth, which diversity seminars have taught me to do as often as possible, "mainstream the community" as it were, and also because it's relevant in this context. I would have noted it as well if the treasurer were a husband instead. And, for the record, I am a member of the LGBT community, so how could it be an insult? ... which leads to...
(E) The Fish Story. Red herrings abound. Try this experiment at home: Ask Brito a straight question and watch her turn it around on you or go off on an irrelevant tangent or simply change subjects. And think about it. The only arguably reasonable motive of any substance the group has for Seijas' ouster is that she was one of a majority who voted for the tax increase, which they take out of context because it is a great emotional button to push in this economic climate. There's a lot of talk about Seijas style, or lack of, and her aggressive demeanor (very often used to describe plus-sized girls). Ok, so I'll agree the woman needs an image consultant at least as much as Charlie Sheen. But that's a red herring. There are undocumented allegations that Seijas and/or supporters made disparaging remarks about the LGBT community (look for this to become a recurring theme) and she posted warning "those in Hialeah commedores about people being swayed," which means absolutely nothing but sounds really bad, right? Red herrings are defined as "something to distract attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue." And red herrings abound.
(F) All of the above.
Of course, because I love excess (couldn't you tell by the wordcount?) and have a hard time making such important decisions outside the committee (my sister and our PTA friends), I go with F. But I think it's also a good strategy for Brito. Why stick to one excuse when this kind of lateness looks really intentional already? More excuses can fill up that timeline: First this, then that, then this happened.
In the meantime, while she runs from voting site to voting site, writes long, rambling and off-point red herring emails, gives TV and radio interviews, validates, posts, comments and does everything except file the financial disclosure report, thousands of people cast ballots to decide the fate of a democratically-elected commissioner that nobody has been able to beat for years in a traditional election, and nobody knows who is funding the effort behind this non-traditional stab.
Should that be acceptable?
Maybe Brito will come up with a few more creative cop-outs and won't have time to file until after the election is over completely. I mean, she only has a few days left to stall.