Electorial Money Makers, Part I

With the election season wrapped up, Banana Republican sifted through federal campaign financial reports, including those of Barack Obama and John McCain, to see who got paid. We begin with the companies that made money working for Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the three Cuban American Republicans who retained their congressional seats despite facing a fierce onslaught from their Democratic challengers. The following information is based on the most recent financial reports filed this past October 15 with the Federal Elections Commission:

Miami-based DRC Consulting collected $792,628 from the Diaz-Balart brothers. The company is owned by David Custin, a Tallahasee lobbyist and political campaign consultant credited with getting local attorney Jonah Wolfson elected to the Miami Beach City Commission and helping state Sen. Alex Villalobos win reelection two years ago.

Marin & Sons received $407,549 to produce and mail out campaign literature for Ros-Lehtinen. The firm is owned by Steve Marin, a lobbyist representing clients who do business with the City of Miami and the Miami-Dade School Board. Marin has also done campaign work for Miami city commissioners and School Board members.

Ros-Lehtinen's camp also shelled out $396,243 to JL Media Inc., a 28-year-old Miami-based media buying and strategy company owned by Jerry Levy, whose clients include Snapple and Great Foods of America The congresswoman also spent big bucks on billboard and bus bench advertising, spending $22,300 with Cemusa USA, Clear Channel Outdoor and Fuel Outdoor.

Capitol Gains Corp., a Coral Gables political strategy firm owned by Diaz-Balart campaign spokesman Carlos Curbelo, made $152,964 from the two brothers. Curbelo has known the Diaz-Balarts since he went to work for Lincoln as a congressional intern more than a decade ago.

Other folks who made money from the D-B siblings include community newspaper El Diario Nacional ($26,000); Accountant and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez confidante Jose "Pepe" Reisco ($21,225 ); Miami attorney and former state legislator Miguel de Grandy ($11,655); political consulting agency Dark Horse Strategies ($7,500); FIU Professor and pollster Dario Moreno ($5,000).

Tomorrow, Banana Republican will post the big money makers who worked for Joe Garcia, Raul Martinez and Annette Taddeo, the Democrats who challenged the Cuban American troika.

-- Francisco Alvarado

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