Rep. Plakon presenting HB 3057 which funds the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Positive Youth Development Program before the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on 12/11/2019.
Appearance on Partisan Campaign Site Could Jeopardize Funding
Alicia Hodge, Senior Development Officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida, appeared in a campaign video last week on behalf of Florida State House candidate Tracey Kagan who is the Democrat nominee for District 29. The congenial social media interview, where Kagan interviewed Hodge via an online platform may have violated the club’s non-profit status. The video opens with the disclaimer “Paid for by Tracey Kagan, Democrat for Florida House, District 29.”
Under the Internal Revenue Code, “all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”
Hodge, who has been with the organization for 8 years, gave information on the organization’s locations and services, and touted the after-school programs and benefits of the clubs. She stated the organization’s Sanford club alone helps over 600 children per year in areas where at-risk youth live.
During the interview, Kagan took a jab at her Republican opponent, current State Representative Scott Plakon, indirectly, by stating, “…all Tallahassee does is slice and dice and cut apart public education.”
In the interaction, Kagan promised, “when I get to Tallahassee, I’m gonna steal some money for you…”
Plakon was the House Sponsor earlier this year of House Bill 3057 ( https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=67665
), which is providing an appropriation of $3.1 Million for the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Positive Youth Development Program.
The goal of this program is to help young people learn about and avoid some of the most immediate threats to their well-being. To reduce juvenile delinquency and gang participation by at-risk youth; to improve academic performance along with leadership, health, community service, life skills, job skills, physical fitness and citizenship of at-risk youth; to reduce the dropout rate for at-risk youth; to help families and youth learn to resolve crises and develop coping skills.
The legislation passed the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously with all members of both parties voting in support and was signed into law by Governor DeSantis as part of the budget on June 29th, 2020.