Judge Dismisses Another GOP Lawsuit Against Florida TEA Party
The Florida TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party scored a court victory this week when Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge Stan Strickland dismissed a Republican Party-financed lawsuit.
The case of Don Hensarling v. Jon Foley sought a "pure bill of discovery" that would have allowed GOP attorneys to conduct what Strickland called a "fishing expedition" by the party.
The Republican Party of Florida participated in filing more than a dozen lawsuits last year challenging the ballot placement of TEA party candidates. Two of the cases were previously dismissed by two Leon County Circuit Court judges. Two other suits against TEA were dismissed, including one in federal court.
"This is a huge victory for the TEA Party and our candidates," said Peg Dunmire, chairman of the TEA Party and the TEA candidate in the 8th Congressional District last fall."To have to take on the Republican Party of Florida and the Democrats was quite a challenge, one that we met and emerged victorious."
The TEA Party was represented in all cases by party founder and former chairman, Orlando-based attorney Fred O'Neal.
The RPOF was represented by Tallahassee-based attorney Harry O. Thomas, senior partner of the prominent law firm of Radey Thomas Yon & Clark, PA.
Hensarling, a Tampa tea party activist, alleged in the suit that the TEA political party appears to be an organized effort to confuse and mislead conservative voters and is not a part of the real tea party movement."
Foley, the defendant in the dismissed suit, was running for Florida House District 41.
At the time, RPOF Chairman John Thrasher applauded the legal action, saying the party was "happy to provide financial assistance to this legal challenge with the hope that these lawsuits will answer the plethora of questions surrounding these candidates, increasing transparency and most importantly protecting Florida voters from inadvertently supporting candidates who dont reflect their values.
A total of 21 TEA candidates collectively garnered more than 300,000 votes in the November election, a record for a new state party.
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