Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart accepted $27,500 in financial gifts last year for his legal defense fund, which will aid him in his effort to kill a redistricting initiative passed by Florida voters, according to 2010 financial disclosure reports. Diaz-Balart, a Republican, and Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla)., filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Fair District Florida initiative, which is a state constitutional amendment that bans gerrymandering and requires the state legislature to draw districts that are more compact.
In a joint statement, Diaz-Balart and Brown said the new amendment “creates false expectations and promises” and would make it impossible to draw districts that would favor minority representation. Brown did not list any financial gifts to her fund, which, along with Diaz-Balart, was established with the approval of the House ethics committee.
The donors to Diaz-Balart’s fund appear to have a professional and financial stake in the lawsuit’s outcome. They include the Florida Leadership Alliance, which is headed by state Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville and Citizens of Housing and Urban Growth, which is run by several other state lawmakers.