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Money Talks

Political contributors to campaigns can run, but they can’t hide.

William March, chief political reporter for the Tampa Tribune, can find pinpoint strange political donations in a matter of seconds these days.

“It could take me anywhere from 2 hours to 2 months to find out campaign spending in the past,” said March.  “Now it takes me 3 clicks.”

During Bill Clinton’s second presidential term, March investigated campaign donations from individuals who didn’t fit the bill.

March found mounting evidence through public records that cast suspicion on the donations.  Some of the charitable individuals had never even voted, much less contributed to a political campaign.

He established one common link between the mysterious donors:  Future Tech CEO and founder Mark Jimenez.

Around 1996, Jimenez was recognized as the single largest donor to the Democratic National Party.  According to his bio, he occasionally played golf with then President Clinton, and ran in his circle of colleagues.  He even paid for renovations to the ancestral Clinton house in Arkansas.

Jimenez abruptly moved to the Philippines in 1998 after meeting Philippine President Joseph Estrada, and became a member of congress.  He even helped pass the “landmark” Anti-Laundering Bill of 2001 while in Manila.

But, American authorities demanded his extradition in connection with illegal campaign contributions, and eventually arrested him on charges of tax evasion and election financing offenses.  A judge sentenced Jimenez to 27 months in prison.

Recently Jimenez graced the news again, attempting to run for president in the Philippines.  There is, however, opposition towards his running in the country due to his checkered past.

March updates  also has a blog called “March on Politics,” in which he discusses political moves.  Some of his favorite points on the web include opensecrets.org, maplight.org and the Florida Division of Elections website.

March also uses websites like the Sayfie Review, which features University of South Florida political science professor and political commentator Susan MacManus’s own column.  The site also updates by the second with political stories and blogs from around the state of Florida.

“It gives you an idea what kind of reporting you can do these days with the internet,” said March.

14 thoughts on “Money Talks”

  1. Very professional, Evan. This blog kind of reminded me of an editorial, which are normally entertaining. I liked the incorporated links and that amount of details you used were impressive. Some great note taking? =)

  2. Great blog Evan. I like the details you put in it to really clarify March’s story. I also enjoyed the websites you had attached to your blog. They are quick and easy for anyone to find. I also like how you explained in further detail who Mark Jimenez was. Great job!

  3. I think the flow of this post was perfect. The sentences were short, sweet, and to the point. I agree with Audrina on the effectiveness of your links with relation to your post. I usually use the links after a paragraph. This will help me with my link posting now and make my blog smoother.

  4. You covered the topic perfectly. The flow of information was great and easy to follow. The links were helpful and provided further insight into the story.

  5. Good flow, great writing, and very informative blog. You always do a great job and I enjoy reading your blogs. Links are a key to any blog, so well done.

  6. Good flow, great writing, and very informative blog. You always do a great job and I enjoy reading your blogs. Links are a key to any blog, so well done overall.

  7. Your blog is very straight forward and I like that. It flows evenly and it gives me a great sense of personality and information. Good job!

  8. I liked the beginning of the blog and and the end of the blog. I thought the middle of the was too much talk about Jimenez. The beginning had quotes and I liked that. Th end had links that I thought were good. It was well written.

  9. This story is excellent! It was a great read. I love your lead! Your story was well researched and for that it is also appreciated. Great use of links. It is always a pleasure reading your blogs.

  10. Very nice post. You definitely went far and beyond to give the reader more then just information on Windy’s visit. I commend you on the job you did giving us more information on Mark Jimenez and letting us know Windy has a blog and great job mentioning some ties with USF as far as one of the links go.

  11. I think you have a very mature writing style. I like how you did further research on Mark Jimendez and incorporated it into your blog, mentioning how he was linked to Bill Clinton and how those contacts have tied his running for Presidency in the Philippines. Great investigative reporting!

  12. Great use of additional websites. The theme of the article if focused on internet research and I appreciate the fact that you used numerous links to show that. Also, I really like the close. The final quote sums up the entire blog in one concise thought.

  13. I enjoyed the quotes at the beginning. It really gives a sense of the person we are talking about and the way they feel. I also like the links because they don’t only help with more information about the topic but links for his bio are provided. Great job.

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