Jacksonville lawyer-lobbyist Marty Fiorentino knew that his financial contributions to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign would be a matter of public record.
However, he probably did not anticipate that his support for the Republican candidate would also place him prominently in a Barack Obama enemies list on the internet. He and seven other Romney fundraisers are being pilloried online by the president’s re-election campaign, “Obama for America,” as belonging to “a group of wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records … donors who benefit from betting against America.”
This kind of personalized internet attack did not occur during the last presidential election, when Fiorentino helped raise $1 million for Obama’s 2008 adversary, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Fiorentino, 52, a graduate of the University of Florida and the Mercer Law School, is president of The Fiorentino Group, a successful Jacksonville lobbying firm with a long list of blue chip corporate clients. He has a solid record of public and community service.
Fiorentino was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989 as Chief of Staff of the Federal Railroad Administration. In 1999 Fiorentino was appointed by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to the Jacksonville Port Authority, where he served as Chairman of the Board. He has served on numerous community boards over the years, including the Baptist Health System Foundation, Inc., the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Drug Free America Advisory Board.
Nonetheless, his c.v. is worthy only of public opprobrium in the eyes of the Obama campaign because Fiorentino is a very effective fundraiser for Republican candidates. He is known as a “bundler” who raises campaign funds from friends and acquaintances and delivers all the checks to Republican candidates in one big "bundle." Of course Obama also uses lots of bundlers.
So far during this election cycle, Fiorentino has helped raise $325,045 for the 2012 Romney campaign, according to The Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group based in Washington, D.C.
Since Fiorentino has never been charged with, much less found guilty, of any wrongdoing, the anonymous Obama hatchet persons chose to attack him through guilt by association. They did this by focusing on one of Fiorentino’s many lobbying clients, Lender Processing Services, Inc. of Jacksonville, a provider of mortgage default and foreclosure services to large banks. Fiorentino is not an officer or director of LPS, a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
In the words of the Obama campaign, “The government has reprimanded Lender Processing Services for unsound practices related to residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.” This is indeed true.
Over a year ago, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System cited LPS, along with many other companies, in a civil “formal enforcement action.” The company was found to have engaged in “deficient practices related primarily to the document execution services that LPS … had provided to servicers in connection with foreclosures” during 2009 and 2010. Through an administrative consent order, the board required LPS to make a number of immediate improvements in its practices. No criminal charge or prosecution was involved.
How that agency action against LPS is somehow the responsibility of Fiorentino, and makes him “less-than-reputable” and someone who “bets against America,” is the missing link in this Obama character-assassination murder mystery.
Angel Castillo, Jr., a former reporter and editor for the New York Times and The Miami Herald, practices employment law in Miami. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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