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Exposed: Dark money GOP organizations spending money against Republican candidates in Jacksonville

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

*** Supporting documentation for the facts listed in this release can be found here:***

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — Duval County Citizens Defending Freedom, a local chapter of a non-profit organization that helps citizens defend their faith and freedom, has untangled a web of dark money that shows powerful GOP organizations working with Democrat organizations to quash the candidacies of grassroots Republicans in Jacksonville.

A Republican political committee called the Better Leadership Fund, operated by Alachua County Republican State Committeeman William “Stafford” Jones who is the organization’s registered agent, has spent untold thousands of dollars on mailers attacking grassroots Republican candidates for office.

One of those candidates is Mike Gay, who is running for Jacksonville City Council.

Mailers, branded with the Better Leadership Fund’s insignia, have attacked Gay as a liberal in disguise and falsely accused him of wanting to defund the police.

In some cases, like political primaries, Republicans attacking other Republicans would be standard procedure.

However, Jones is also intimately connected to the Social Justice PAC, a Democrat PAC, which he is using to work against Republican candidates, including Gay. Documentation of attacks on Gay from both Jones’ Better Leadership Fund and the Social Justice PAC can be found in the Google Drive above.

The Social Justice PAC has sent mailers attacking Gay as an “extremist” over his support for former President Donald Trump, while Jones’ Better Leadership Fund sent mailers attacking Gay as a liberal.

Additionally, Jones is Treasurer for Jacksonville Mayoral Candidate Daniel Davis' campaign as well as for Davis' Political Committee, Building a Better Economy PC.

According to a facsimile (also attached in the Google Drive above) Jones faxed a change of address document to the Florida Division of Elections on behalf of Leiann McInnis, the Chairwoman of the Social Justice PAC.

The Social Justice PAC’s contributions include:

  • Reggie Gaffney, Sr. (Former Councilman, Democrat)

  • Reggie Gaffney, Jr. (Democrat Candidate)

  • Ju'Coby Pittman (Democrat)

  • Kimberly Daniels (Democrat State Rep.)

  • Data Targeting, Inc., (Major Republican General Consultant $60,430.50 (run by Jone's longtime friend Patrick Jay Bainter)

  • Coates Law Firm (Well-known Republican Attorney)

  • Progressives Committee Inc. (Jones is the Chairman)

Further, the Social Justice PAC has received $228,000 from a dark money group called the Consortium of North East Florida, which is located at the same address as Jones’ company, Data Systems of North Florida.

“This is just the beginning of untangling the web of dark money used to attack grassroots Republicans in Duval County, in favor of establishment Republicans and Democrats hand-picked by Stafford Jones and his cronies,” said Kathleen Murray, County Director for Duval County Citizens Defending Freedom. “We will continue to shed light on these harmful practices that are meant to keep ordinary American conservatives from holding political office.”

Founded in 2021, Citizens Defending Freedom is a non-profit organization that strategically employs county-level chapters across America to help citizens defend their faith and freedom, all while fighting for transparency in local government. Currently, Citizens Defending Freedom has official chapters in Florida, Georgia and Texas. The group is rapidly expanding its footprint, and expects to grow into one of America’s largest political nonprofits. Click here to learn more about Citizens Defending Freedom.



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