By: Sharon Aron Baron
Just days after the Parkland massacre, links to several campaigns on GoFundMe were removed because the creators had no personal or direct connection to the victims or their families. But what about a political action committee using the shootings as a backdrop to raise money?
A resident has reported that a PAC called People Over Politics is using the massacre to raise money, not for the victims, but supposedly for “Parkland’s leaders”.
But which Parkland leaders?
According to the Division of Elections, People Over Politics was formed in October of 2017 by Chairman Aaron Nevins, long before the massacre, and so far he’s raised $11,000.
“Why are you raising money for a PAC through a school shooting?” Said a resident.
On the fundraising page is a photo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which says, “Help Support Parkland’s Leaders. Donate $17 to show your support for this community that was shattered by gun violence.” Donations are itemized in increments of $17 – for each of the 17 victims.
“Isn’t it gross to be soliciting in denominations of $17?” said a resident. “This is shameful and gross.“
Nevins, who according to the Sun Sentinel, engages in organizing grass-roots campaigns on behalf of clients, has also worked as a registered lobbyist. From Plantation, Nevins made news last May when he was exposed by the Wall Street Journal as the recipient of a trove of information from Guccifer 2.0, a hacker that stole information from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the national campaign organization that helps its party’s congressional candidates.
Currently, he is working on the campaign for Warren Sturman who is running for the Fort Lauderdale city commission.
Nevins had Parkland connections. He was formerly Commissioner Grace Solomon’s campaign manager when she ran in 2016.
“I’m not affiliated with Aaron Nevins in any shape or form,” Solomon said today by phone, and added she knew nothing about his political action committee. In 2016, Nevins was also the campaign manager for Parkland resident Brian Rosaler, who lost his bid against Christine Hunschofsky in the mayoral race. Commissioner Stacy Kagan, who is running for reelection in 2018, said she doesn’t know Aaron Nevins and isn’t affiliated in any way with his PAC.
According to the Florida Department of State, in February alone, People over Politics raised $7,500 from donors in the Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers areas who are in the marina, real estate and healthcare fields.
While having a PAC is common in politics, and what Nevins is doing is not illegal, we rate this method of political fundraising using the school where 17 people were just slaughtered to be in poor taste.